County residents voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to support Nassau BOCES’ purchase of the Jerusalem Avenue School building in North Bellmore, at a purchase price of $12 million.
The sale was approved by a vote of 2,225-254, which will be ratified at the BOCES board meeting on Feb. 26. Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District voters agreed to sell the building to BOCES in a Dec. 5, 2017, special election, by a vote of 759-278.
"We would like to thank everyone who participated in this vote," said Dr. Robert R. Dillon, Nassau BOCES district superintendent. "Our purchase of the Jerusalem Avenue School will provide long-term savings for our local school districts."
Nassau BOCES has leased the school from the Bellmore-Merrick district since 1998,with its 56 component districts sharing the rental bill. Owning the building will eliminate that expense of $1.4 million in the 2018-19 school year and on, BOCES officials said.
The $12 million purchase price will be recovered by savings after approximately nine years, according to BOCES officials.
Bellmore-Merrick Superintendent John DeTommaso told the Herald in the lead-up to the district’s 2017 vote that if BOCES was unable to purchase the building, they would likely walk away from the rental arrangement, leaving the Bellmore-Merrick district with a revenue hole and vacant building.
“As superintendent of schools, I believe that the board’s decision to sell the building to BOCES is in the district and community’s best interest,” DeTommaso said in a district-wide letter.
BOCES officials added on Friday that the purchase will be made with funds from the BOCES capital fund specifically set aside, and no borrowing or debt service will be involved.