High bids impede Manhasset repaving project, district hires new assistant superintendent

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Asphalt bids came back higher than expected for a Manhasset Secondary School repaving project, which could delay the effort. (Photo by Teri West)

The Manhasset school district was planning to restructure the secondary school parking lot this summer, but when asphalt bids came back they were $300,000 to $500,000 higher than what was appropriated, said Superintendent Vincent Butera.

The district is in the process of determining whether to still do a portion of the project this summer or to wait and seek new bids in the fall. That would delay the project until next summer.

“Generally in the fall the prices are cheaper because nobody has summer work yet for the following year,” Butera said. “Therefore we’d probably get a better price.”

The project will include traffic restructuring to enhance pedestrian safety on campus and the replacement of a 100-year-old water main. Funding will come from part of a $19.6 million bond approved in 2014.

A security booth was also slated as part of the project, but is already separately budgeted so it could still be completed before the repaving, Butera said. The board has yet to determine whether it will be.

The district has also hired a new assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction to replace Charles Leone upon his retirement at the end of the school year.

Gaurav Passi will come to the district from Bayport-Blue Point High School, where he serves as principal.

He was previously the principal at Long Beach High School, which introduced an international baccalaureate program under his leadership, an assistant principal at Northport High School, a dean at Locust Valley High School and a social studies teacher at Farmingdale High School.

“The board has an appreciation for Dr. Passi’s thoroughness and ability to bring all stakeholders together toward the fulfillment of a shared vision,” Board of Education President Regina Rule said in a news release. “We welcome him to our Manhasset team and look forward to his collaboration with our fine administrative team guiding our faculty and instructional staff and delivering sound educational programs to fulfill the needs of all Manhasset students.”

Passi has earned awards from the Council of Administrators and Supervisors, the Bayport-Blue Point school district and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

While Passi has been principal at Bayport-Blue Point High School, the number of students at the school enrolling in Advanced Placement courses and earning advanced Regents diplomas has grown significantly, according to the Manhasset school district.

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