F-M capital project vote: Why now?

The nearly 60-year-old heating system at Fayetteville Elementary School is expensive to repair. Each time it fails, F-M has to special order parts because factory components are no longer manufactured. Because these are emergency repairs, they must be paid from the district's general fund all in one year, so local taxpayers must shoulder the whole cost without any state aid.

At F-M High School, some doors fail to meet fire safety code. Some door handles are knobs, not levers, which means they are not in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Transportation Office Building's plumbing, heating and ventilation systems are inefficient and in need of repair.

And the district's architect and engineer are concerned about the structural integrity of the bus garage. The walls are literally crumbling. The floors are cracking. Our mechanics climb into a collapsing pit below our buses to perform maintenance and repairs. Like emergency repairs to the Fayetteville Elementary heating system, when emergency repairs are necessary to the bus garage, taxpayers pay the whole cost without any state aid.

In addition to the building's structural issues, it simply does not meet the needs of a modern transportation department. It was built at a time when the district maintained just eight buses. The fleet now totals 64. Tools and equipment are stacked into corners so that mechanics must stop working to shuffle items to get to what they need. It often takes two people to reach a single tool.

Because the garage lacks hydraulic lifts, two mechanics are also necessary to operate manual jacks to elevate vehicles. F-M is the only district in the county using such an antiquated system.

On Feb. 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed that state building aid for capital projects be reduced. If F-M district residents approve the referendum, and the state then reduces building aid, the Board of Education would have to reprioritize the proposed projects. We have promised residents that these projects would require no new tax dollars, and we intend to keep that promise.

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