Nov 27, 2013 Joe Genco Uncategorized
Skaneateles voters will be called on once again this month to approve a major community expenditure.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Waterman school where the Skaneateles Central School District will hold a public vote on a capital project proposal.
The project, estimated to cost $2.8 million, will consist of five facility maintenance projects for the middle school/high school building.
The board of education will hold a final public hearing on the project at its next meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2. More information can be found on the district’s website here and here.
About 60 percent of the cost of the project will be paid for by state aid and the rest will be covered by a bond to be paid back by local taxpayers over a 15-year period, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Dale Bates said at an October meeting.
The estimated impact of the debt service on the tax levy will be $0.076 per $1,000 per assessed value, which is an additional $20.90 on the tax bill for a house valued at $275,000.
The five projects included in the bond are:
— $1,714,324 for roof replacements. Several portions of the flat roof above the middle school and high school are overdue to be replaced and are a liability due to the potential for water damage. The district has already paid for its architects to draw up plans for the roof replacements so that the work may begin in 2014, as soon as school is done for the summer.
–$549,533 for masonry restoration. The bricks and masonry on the exterior of the building are deteriorated in places and needs to be restored to prevent water from entering the building.
–$117,757 for window repairs. Numerous windows need to be resealed or repaired to prevent water from leaking in. This includes the window wall in the commons area connecting the two schools.
–$102,056 for reconstruction of a boiler room areaway used for air intake.
–$94,206 for safety and security upgrades. These include new security cameras and new locksets for classrooms to improve safety in the case of an emergency lockdown.
The bond total also includes money for capitalized interest ($114,000), to defer the impact of the bond on the budget to the 2015-16 school year, and incidental costs in case the construction doesn’t go as planned or if building supplies cost more than expected.
Anyone who lives in the Skaneateles school district, and is at least 18 year of age, may vote. Residents do not need to be registered to vote in the general election to vote on school propositions.
The administration has deemed the 2013 project to be “phase one” of the required facility work that was originally proposed as a $22.3 million bond. That bond went to vote and was rejected last June, though the board has maintained that much, if not all, of the areas to be addressed on that bond are still important. Phase one deals with the most vital projects that need to be handled as soon as possible to prevent further water damage to the building.
The remaining projects from the original bond will be proposed in referendums over the course of the next four or more years.
Phase two, estimated to be $1.4 million, will appear on the May ballot with the annual budget referendum, according to a tentative timeline of projects available on the district’s website. Phase three, planned for a vote in May 2015, will include asbestos abatement, floors, ceilings, heating and lighting. Phase four would include originally proposed renovations to the middle school gym and the high school auditorium and be voted on in 2017 or 2018.
At its Nov. 19 meeting, Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel announced that the board will be forming a community study group to work with the board’s facilities committee to formulate future proposals. The facilities committee, who worked with Bates to come up with the phase one proposal, is composed of board president Kathryn Carlson, board vice president Thomas Lambdin and board member Sue Murphy.
The board of education will hear public feedback before finalizing each referendum and approving it for a public vote. By state law, the district is not allowed to borrow money or do any major facility work without public approval and approval by the state education department.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.