Despite the $27.7 million price tag for Scotia-Glenville School District building renovations, the tax impact on residents would not be too dramatic, said school officials at the Monday, Sept. 29, school board meeting.
Board members asked the financial advisors and architects at the meeting to discuss how they could scale down costs while still managing to update and repair many of the buildings and athletic facilities before the project goes before voters in December.
Representatives from Fiscal Advisors and Marketing said the estimated tax increase stands right now at about 2.68 percent, which would be phased in over three years. To the average homeowner in the Scotia-Glenville district, that would mean a one-time annual tax increase of $72 on a home assessed at $160,000 that would remain the same for the 15-year repayment period. That number would decrease with any STAR tax exemptions and may further decrease depending on state aid.
The district’s cost for the project would be reduced by an 80.9 percent state aid reimbursement, an estimated $934,871 in special state EXCEL, or Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning, aid and use of a $900,000 debt reserve. The tax increase would rise over a three-year period before tapering off.
Superintendent Susan Swartz said the increase would not be seen by taxpayers until the 2009-2010 school year because of anticipated delays by the state.
We are not even looking at this project beginning until a few years from now, said Swartz.
John Jojo of Mosaic Associates Architects said that because of work in areas that still need to be used by students, his firm would work holidays, weekends and summers to keep disruption of the academic year at a minimum.
`We are used to having to work around students and faculty,` said Jojo.
Board members are particularly cautious of spending in light of the shaky economic situation unfolding across the country.
Board members John Yaglieski and President Margaret Smith had many questions for the advisors and representatives at the meeting, particularly pertaining to the installation of artificial turf. Yaglieski asked if the district would be able to obtain a 15-year warranty.
`I know that the manufacturers struggle with the idea of a 15-year warranty because every school will utilize the fields differently. I think because of pressure put on by the State Education Department, it certainly is a possibility by the time this project is ready to happen,` said Jojo.
In an effort to find more savings, the board is looking into renovating the current library at the high school instead of building a new one. It would be expanded into the adjoining courtyard to 7,500 square feet from the current 4,300 square feet.
A discussion also took place regarding how the new athletic fields will displace Sacandaga’s playground. Jojo said that the school will have a new playground built in a more central location and added that the cost is already included in the current estimate.
The advisors said they plan to have updated information at the board’s Monday, Oct. 6, meeting at 7 p.m. at the Glendaal Elementary School.“