Oct 29, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
Two months before taxpayers will head back to the polls, the Jordan-Elbridge district administration held the second of two public information sessions last week in an attempt to provide district residents with the facts regarding the capital project plans.
After voters initially rejected Proposition 1 of the project along with the administrative budget in May, the budget was brought back before voters and the project was suspended. On Dec. 11, a revised Proposition 1 will come before voters.
“I have to say that we did feel we distributed good information last spring, but perhaps our approach was too complex,” said Superintendent Marilyn Dominick. “We are trying to stay away from lists and detail in the written materials, while still offering that level of detail to anyone who really wants to have it.”
The district was criticized in the spring for not making enough effort to inform voters on the issues, and widespread belief is that the first vote failed because many voters believed they were voting “no” to an artificial turf athletic field.
The complexity of the proposals, paired with the highly publicized turf issue experienced by Liverpool School District in the spring was blamed for the confusion and failure of the project vote.
Taxpayer and parent Connie Drake, said she was definitely pleased with the new efforts of the administration to inform district residents.
“It’s definitely an improvement,” Drake said of the district’s communication with taxpayers. “It’s a critical piece of the puzzle that was missing last time.”
Dominick and Bill Hamilton, J-E assistant superintendent of business and finance, urged voters to take advantage of the opportunity to educate themselves on the proposals, offering to present the information to groups and organizations of any size and welcoming suggestions on how to publicize more effectively.
Among voters’ most prevalent concerns at last week’s session was the impact on school taxes. If proposition 1 passes in December, the expected monthly increase for property valued at $100K ranges from $1 to $2.25, depending on STAR exemptions. District administration said 91 percent of the overall cost of the project is aidable through state funds, leaving taxpayers to pick up less than 10 percent of the cost.
Dominick pointed out that if proposition should fail, about 68 percent of the work included in the plan would still need to be done to bring the district’s campus up to code.
Information regarding the capital project is available on the district’s Web site, jecsd.org. Polls will be open Dec. 11 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the high school.
Base project and land acquisition
Not to exceed $21.9 million
Renovations and upgrades at all four schools, with the majority of the work at the high school
Planned work at the high school includes a physical fitness addition, a technology addition and science lab upgrade, office consolidation, special education space expansion, art room, auditorium, and kitchen and serving area renovations
Includes the purchase of land to construct off-site water retention basin
Work would begin in 2009
Average estimated monthly tax increase for property assessed at $100K ranges from $1 to $2.25.
Vote on Proposition 1 Dec. 11, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the high school