Voters take to the polls on MacArthur Elementary School project

By Matt Porter

Voters take to the polls on MacArthur Elementary School project

April 15, 2013 Updated Apr 15, 2013 at 6:55 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Voters headed to the polls in Binghamton to decide on whether or not the city should move forward on the $79 million MacArthur Elementary School project.

Many voters who spoke said they were voting "yes" for the project.

"I think it's important to have a new school, these kids deserve it," Terry O'Connell said.

FEMA and other federal and state grants will cover most of the costs, the district will be on the hook for $2.9 million paid over time.

Liz Rosenberg, another voter, said rebuilding MacArthur at that cost is a once and a life time chance.

"The cost to the taxpayers is relatively tiny," Rosenberg said, "And what we get for that is a huge wonderful school that will actually house the kids that it needs to house."

For MacArthur Elementary students at the old Saint Thomas Aquinas school, a parking lot is part of their playground.

Since floodwaters destroyed the original school in 2011, improvising has been the name of the game at MacArthur.

The students are being housed at two former Catholic schools not built to house the demand of students from MacArthur.

Principal Maria McIver said the two schools combined are only one-quarter the size of the original MacArthur Elementary.

"I have teachers who are on carts," McIver said. "They're teaching music and art on carts going from classroom to classroom because there's not enough space."

Some of the young students at the MacArthur primary school wore shirts emblazoned with the words, "Vote Yes on MacArthur."

Second-grader Madeline Kozel grasped the importance of the day's vote.

"Today's a voting day," Kozel said, "And we want our MacArthur back."

The vote must pass with a super majority, 60 percent, of the vote.

If it doesn't pass, the plan will go back to the school board to be revised.