Apr 29, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
The Capital Project at Jordan-Elbridge School District was presented to the public last week during the Board of Education meeting Wednesday, April 23.
An audience of less than 20 community members attended the meeting.
Bill Hamilton, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance, reviewed the plans for each of the four district buildings, as well as for the athletic fields and storm water retention basin.
The entire capital project is currently packaged into three different proposals, each of which prioritizes renovations able to be funded with state aid over unaidable projects.
The major unaided renovation included in the plans is an all-weather athletic field.
The all-weather field would cost $3 million, and would allow for around 3,000 hours of use throughout the year, versus 600 to 800 useable hours available on a natural grass field, such as the district currently has.
Rich Wagner, of Elbridge, attended the meeting to learn about the proposed 2008-09 school budget, but the board went into executive session and did not present the budget to the public.
Wagner said after seeing the project presentation he did feel better about it, and that it is a worthy project the community needs to consider.
I think the important thing is the board needs to educate the community, Wagner said. People need to know how it will affect them personally.
Wagner, who has three children in the district ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, said this was the first time he had the opportunity to see details of the capital project.
Connie Drake, a Town of Camillus resident, has a fourth-grade child in the J-E district.
Drake suggested the board better utilize the school website to communicate with the public.
I have a vested interest with my children, I have another twenty years in the district, said Drake.
This is why, Drake said, she feels compelled to educate herself on the issues, including the capital project and annual administrative budgets.
I am a supporter, I’ll vote yes – but I want to make sure I know what I am voting for, Drake said.
One of the selling points Hamilton and the Board noted during the meeting was the attraction to the community the school would provide, hopefully drawing in new families to the community and boosting local economy.
Wagner felt there was some truth to that point.
One of the first things people who are thinking about moving want to know, if they have kids or are thinking of having kids, is how the schools are, Wagner said.
Drake had another perspective on the Board’s claim.
That has been the selling point every year, I don’t really know how they’re going to deliver it any other way, Drake said.
Yes, all improvements make a difference, but we’re told that every year, and it (school tax) goes up 6 or 7 percent every year – at what point does it stop?
During the presentation, Hamilton showed the audience a graph of what the project would cost taxpayers per month, based on their property value.
For property valued at $100,000, the estimated average monthly cost could be as low as $3.65 per month.
The Board emphasized the possibility of state funding being reduced in coming years, and a sense of urgency in securing aid before the opportunity disappears.
Information regarding the captial project is now available on the district website, www.jecsd.org. Computer generated images of the proposed renovations, as well as photos of current problems, like the storm water retention basin, and an outline of the three propositions, are available on the site.