Why is the District having a bond vote?
Grand Island Schools is committed to providing a safe learning environment and well-maintained facilities for students and public use. Just as one’s home ages and needs upkeep and repairs to keep it in good shape, so do our schools.
Many routine repairs and projects are funded within the annual District budget, with local taxpayers bearing the full cost. Large repairs and maintenance items, such as those included in this project, would have a major impact on the tax rate if included in the annual District budget. A bond issue is a fiscally responsible alternative because the State reimburses 73.9% of the eligible cost and the expense is spread out over a longer period of time.
How were the project’s components chosen?
The basis for the project components are derived from the Building Condition Survey, a thorough inspection of all occupied school buildings to assess the current conditions of all program spaces in addition to major building systems and their components. All public school districts in New York are required by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to complete a Building Condition Survey (BCS) for occupied public school buildings every five years. Shawn Wright of Young and Wright Architecture presented the results of the BCS to the Board of Education in May 2017. A facilities committee, consisting of three Board of Education members, community members, District administrators, teachers and staff, began to meeting in October 2017 to further examine the needs and discuss potential solutions. Over a 10-month period the committee further defined and prioritized the structural, health and safety needs identified in the BCS for our buildings and our athletic fields to include project components that addressed safety and security, health and welfare, maintenance and program improvements.
This scope-definition process resulted in defining between $22-25 million in structural, health, safety and educational needs throughout the entire District.
The Grand Island Board of Education approved on Nov. 19, 2018 to move forward with the $24,149,626 capital project.
When will the work take place?
It is expected that the State Education Department’s approval for the project will be received by late 2019 with the bulk of work starting in spring/summer 2020. It is anticipated that the project would be complete in 2021.
What is the cost of the proposed project and how will it affect my taxes?
The cost of the proposed project is $24,149,626. The local share of the project is 10% of the overall project cost. The estimated average annual tax impact is $15.95 on a home assessed at $180,000.
Isn’t the 73.9% State Aid just my tax dollars too?
Yes, it is. The New York State Legislature has given all Districts in the state an opportunity to use tax dollars to enhance their communities through school building improvements and renovations. This is an opportunity to keep some of those tax dollars in our own community, working to improve the educational setting for our children and the public.
What if the referendum does not pass?
The building maintenance and restoration items are included in the project as response to the State-mandated Building Conditions Survey. Most are therefore considered to be necessary and would still have to be completed. The facilities committee would have to reconvene and revise the project scope taking into consideration the feedback provided after the capital project vote. If for some reason this work is performed outside of a capital project, it would be completed without the benefit of the State’s aid, with local taxpayers bearing the full cost.