Capital Project Q & A
Our district is currently eligible to receive 74.1% State Aid on any building project that we pursue. Over the past several years changes in the State Aid formula, which would have a negative impact on our district, have been proposed but not enacted. If we lock in our State Aid percentage before the next State fiscal year, then we are assured to receive 74.1% reimbursement for eligible expenditures. The district is also pursuing this project to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Finally, we are in a favorable bidding climate and we anticipate construction bids to be more competitive, therefore, our constituents will get more value for their tax dollar.
Proposition #1 is the main portion of this proposed project. It includes site work such as an elementary drop-off/pick-up circle, refurbishing of our track, and widening of sidewalks from Burrstone Road; main building improvement to include technology upgrades (Smart Classrooms, a building access control system and other safety improvements, wireless networks in all buildings), energy-efficient improvements to lighting in classrooms, hallways, office, classrooms, and the auditorium; and Beekman Gymnasium improvements such as a roof recoating and exit door replacements.
The District currently has $1 million in capital reserve funds approved by the voters in May. With a combination of State Building Aid, Capital Reserve funds and “old debt” from previous capital projects being paid down, the $3,180.000 cost of Proposition #1 is projected to result in no tax increase for our taxpayers.
Proposition #2 is for the improvement and enlargement of our existing cafeteria and kitchen, which was built in 1957 as part of the original New York Mills Jr.-Sr. High School. In 1982, when the Main Street Elementary School was closed, our K-6 students joined grades 7-12 in this building. Currently, the elementary and secondary students share the cafeteria, with two Jr.-Sr. High School lunch periods beginning at 10:43 a.m. and three elementary lunch seatings ending at 1:30 p.m. Enlarging the cafeteria will provide space for more students to eat at the same time, thereby creating more efficiency and flexibility for the elementary lunch schedule.The cost of these construction activities will be $1,440,290. The District will receive State Building Aid on these as well. However, there will be a tax impact associated with Proposition #2. Over the 15-year bonding period, on a home assessed at $100,000, the tax increase would amount to $19/year, without a standard STAR Exemption or $13/year with a standard STAR Exemption and $7/year with a Senior STAR Exemption. Please note that if passed, Proposition #2 can only be accomplished if Proposition #1 also passes.
School districts throughout New York are required by law not to exceed the amount approved by voters. The district’s architect and construction management firms will assure that costs are kept in line with budget projections.
If the Bond Issue is approved on November 18th, the district and our architects plan to complete the design of the building additions and renovations, and submit the plans to the State Education Department (SED) during the winter. The SED review process is anticipated to be complete by the spring of 2015. Then bidding would take place in the spring of 2015 and construction of the additions would start in June of 2015. The district plans to use two summer construction seasons to complete the bulk of the project so that student instruction is not interrupted by this work. Therefore, the anticipated substantial completion date for the project is September 2016. Please note that all dates are estimated.
It is anticipated that the combination of improvements to district buildings (lighting in main building, bathroom fixtures at Beekman, access control at main building, reflective/security film on main entrance/media center windows, and new equipment in the renovated cafeteria) will off-set future costs to the district associated with this project.
Children attending the New York Mills Union Free School District are not the only users of our gymnasium, track, cafeteria, library, and auditorium facilities. We are currently unable to fill all of the many building usage requests we receive from community members. Community athletic program such as Biddy Basketball, area dance schools, and the Army Reserve Center request our facilities regularly. Also, many community members walk on our track and attend events at our gymnasiums, athletic fields, track, and auditorium. It is important that our facilities are safety maintained and updated when appropriate.
It is always difficult to predict the future over a long period of time. We are beginning a Capital Outlay Project cycle in the spring, which involves the completion of a small $100,000 project, to be aided at our current building aid ratio. The aid generated helps to offset a yearly expenditure of $100,000 that will be used to address some of the smaller capital needs that arise on a cyclical basis, such as lighting, electrical work, paving, and other grounds repairs and/or updates. However, it is also important to keep in mind that our buildings and grounds may need more extensive repairs or improvements than can be accomplished with $100,000 in future years. At that time, the district may decide to place another bond issue before the voters for your consideration.
Will there be any schematic floor plans available to the public in a brochure, flier, newspaper arti
Yes, preliminary floor plans and site plans are now available for public viewing. Information including brochures and fliers will be distributed to the public between now and the Referendum date of November 18. Additionally, community-wide and individual organization presentations on the proposed project are already taking place. Information is also available on the district’s website at www.newyorkmills.org. Should you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the district office at 768-8127 or e-mail Superintendent Kathy Houghton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the requirements to be eligible to vote on this bond issue and where will the vote be held?Voters must be a citizen of the U.S., at least 18 years of age and a resident of the district at least 30 days prior to the day of the vote. The vote will be held on Tuesday, November 18 at Beekman Gymnasium on Marauder Boulevard, from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. Absentee ballots will be available in the District office.
Community-wide meetings will be held in the High School library on:
1) Wednesday, October 29th at 6:30 p.m. at the beginning of the PTSO (Parent-Teacher-Student Organization) meeting and
2) Monday, November 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at the beginning of the Board of Education meeting.
If you cannot attend either of these presentations and would like the district to provide information to your group or organization prior to the November 18 capital project vote, please call the district office at 768-8127 or e-mail the superintendent at email@example.com.
There are three legacy items that would need to be moved if the present plans to expand and renovate our cafeteria and kitchen are approved by voters:
1. A 20 year-old oak tree planted on July 8, 1995 as a gift from the Class of 1940
2. A stone placed by the class of 1988 in memory of New York Mills student, Tracey A. Ouimette
3. A 30 year-old maple tree planted by the class of 1981 in memory of New York Mills student Julie Baron 4/15/63 – 12/6/78
The district is looking at every available option for the cafeteria/kitchen expansion; particularly those that will allow us to leave the legacy items in their current locations. However, the other options are more costly and involved:
1. If the district expands into the building towards the auditorium, we will lose the hallway between the cafeteria and auditorium. This hallway leads to a building exit and also allows students and staff to enter and exit the stage from both sides.
2. If we expand into our parking area, we will lose the current maintenance room, loading dock, and a portion of our parking. The maintenance/loading dock area would need to be rebuilt elsewhere and we are already short on parking; particularly during school-wide events such as concerts, plays, and athletic contests.
The district has already consulted with an arborist to find out if the trees are healthy enough to be safely moved. Unfortunately, the arborist does not recommend moving either tree. A copy of his report and recommendations are available on our website at www.newyorkmills.org
We have also talked with members of the class of 1940, as well as the families of both students for whom legacy items have been placed. In all cases, those personally affected would prefer to leave their legacy items in the current location but will work with us to respectfully relocate or replant their items if this is necessary.
Why is the district proposing an elementary student drop-off/pick-up circle for parents that transpo
If we are able to provide separate paths for buses and cars at the beginning and end of the school day, students and their parents will enjoy safe and streamlined drop-offs and pick-ups. Currently, parents are caught behind our buses; with students walking between vehicles in the morning and afternoon. This creates a hazard because the drivers cannot always see pedestrians that walk just in front of or behind them. The only other option in the afternoon is to wait at the top of Marauder Boulevard until all buses have loaded and departed; then drive down to the elementary entrance to pick up their child. This is time-consuming and often leaves our parents (and grandparents) frustrated and late to their next appointment or activity.
The Jr.-Sr. High School has the “boiler room” entrance on the other side of the building that is used for student drop-off/pick-up each day. The proposed elementary drop-off/pick-up circle serves the same purpose and allows our transportation department to continue using the front drive and entrance for all buses; without the safety issue of cars and pedestrians sharing this area each morning and afternoon.