Q: What is a capital project?
A: Just like a home, schools need updates to operate effectively year after year. The cost of ensuring supportive, healthy and safe educational environments for students often involves costs which generally exceed funds available in the annual operating budget. Fairly generous building aid is available from NYS to substantially reduce the local taxpayers’ share of the project. Voter approval is required by the state in order complete the scope of work and to access the available building aid for such a project.
The alternative to a voter approved capital project would be to include these repairs in the annual budget. This option would prove significantly more expensive for local taxpayers.
Q: What are the benefits of a capital project? Why not make the repairs out of the regular budget?
A: With the adoption of a construction bond, the capital project will receive state aid which will cover an estimated 72.1% of eligible project expenses. Without a construction bond any repairs would have to be made through the annual budget and would not receive state aid. This would be unaffordable to taxpayers. Without a capital project, 100% of any repairs would be paid for by local taxpayers.
Q: What does the project entail?
A: The school district identified a list of priorities from the state-mandated Building Condition Survey. This capital project will address health and safety, aging systems replacement, instructional space improvements and technology upgrades.
Q: When would the construction take place?
A: With the approval of voters, the construction would be done in phases. Subject to State Education Department approval, the repairs and upgrades would take place during the summers of 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Q: Did we just complete a capital project?
A: The District completed a capital project during the summers of 2014, 2015 and 2016 in response to the 2010 Building Condition Survey. Work included security vestibules at school entrances, new kitchens in all schools, new lighting and flooring in classrooms and asbestos abatement.
The current proposed capital project addresses priorities identified in the 2015 Building Condition Survey, as well as priorities from the 2010 Building Condition Survey that were not included in the last capital project.
Many of the systems identified in this capital project were last addressed in 1995, more than 20 years ago. For most of these items, such as roofs and windows, they have outlasted their effective lifespans.
It is recommended that we replace aging systems before they fail and cause an emergency. For example, during the 2016-17 school year, the following items failed and became expensive to repair through the regular school budget: both DPS water heaters ($74,269.75), Transportation Department boiler ($33,000), Goff PA system emergency repair ($5,290).
Q: Will there be any public presentations of this Capital Project?
A: Yes. There will be a presentation on March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Genet Auditorium as part of a Budget Review Session. Additionally, each of the PTO’s will be hosting a capital project presentation in March and April (dates TBA).
Any community organizations interested in hosting a presentation should contact Public Information Specialist Mark Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-2532.
Q: When and where do I vote?
A: Residents will vote at their normal school voting locations on May 16 as part of the Budget Vote and Board Election. Click here for more information.