COLONIE – In May, voters in the North Colonie School District will decide on whether or not to spend $106.3 million on upgrades largely limited to the elementary schools and the Shaker Junior High School.
The Board of Education on Thursday, March 30, unanimously voted to put that proposal – known as Option B – forward rather than the more expensive, Option A and its $147.9 million price tag. The district scaled back the $196.4 million plan voters defeated in December by a vote of 54 to 46 percent.
“Looking at $147 million, it’s only about $50 million less and people who were not part of the forum, and who are our constituents may think the $50 million deduction is not enough,” said board Vice President Paula D’Orazio. “And my concern is if we put that forward, and a ‘no vote’ for $147 million could mean a no vote for our budget and so for the greater good, at this point in time, and maybe a little bit of a safety net for our budget, I am in favor of the $106 million.”
Board President Linda Harrison said she too has concerns about the budget if voters again come out against the bond proposal.
“As board members, we have to be very concerned about the budget and I am supporting Option B,” she said. “And I do believe we will get the high school work done. The high school does need work, we all recognize that.”
The project would bypass some $45.1 million worth of work at the high school and focus instead on the elementary schools, and converting the junior high school to a grade six to eight middle school.
-Enhanced security at the front entrances of each building
-Expand media centers at all elementary schools
-New classrooms at Boght Hills to allow for an additional class section for each grade level.
-Expand parking and parent drop offs at the shaker middle and high schools.
-Add a turf surface at Walker Field.
With enhanced state aid currently available, the tax increase would be about $21.32 per year on a home assessed at $170,000. Without the state aid – which the district will lose if the capital project again is defeated – the tax increase on a like valued home would be $64.64 per year.
“If voters approve the project in May, we have had assurances from the state Education Department that they will work with us to expedite the approval process, which would allow us to receive the enhanced state aid,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “That would result in the lower tax rate increase of 0.49 percent, which is what we are aiming for.”