By a margin of more than 82 percent, residents in the North Colonie Central School District approved a $7 million capital project referendum Monday, March 3.
The referendum was passed by a vote of 738 for and 153 against.
According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Thomas Rybaltowski, the money allocated through the referendum will pay for about 75 different improvement projects over the next five years. These projects will include updates at the Maplewood School, which will join the North Colonie School District next year.
Superintendent Randy Ehrenberg said she was glad the community backed the projects.
I am very pleased with the strong community support shown for this project, which will benefit our students and residents with up-to-date and more efficient facilities for years to come, said Ehrenberg.
The referendum was designed in such a way that it will bear little or no impact on the taxpayer, said Rybaltowski. He said the projects will be paid for out of a combination of state aid and about $900,000 of the school’s reserve money.
Rybaltowski said the annexation of the Maplewood-Colonie Common School District has increased state building aid from 48 to 68 percent for approved building projects. EXCEL (Expanding Our Children’s Education and Learning) funding will pay for $1.8 million of the total project, covering the taxpayers’ potential share. EXCEL is a one-time-only state building aid that covers the cost of certain school maintenance and upgrade items. With voter approval, the district can now take advantage of these funding opportunities and make renovations while avoiding costly emergency repairs.
Renovations will be made to help keep the schools’ safe, efficient and learning-friendly environments, said Rybaltowski. The next phase of the project includes submitting detailed plans to the State Education Department. Pending approval, work could commence as early as this summer. The proposed improvements are scheduled for completion within three to four years, he said.
Among the 75 projects that the referendum will fund are improvements to building security, technology upgrades, energy efficiency and disability accessibility projects, the installation of newer heating and ventilation equipment, and the replacement of old roofs. Many of these projects were identified in the district’s five-year Capital Facilities Plan, which is required by the state Department of Education.“