New Paltz Central School District Reschedules Capital Project Vote for March 24
The New Paltz Capital Project vote has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 24. Polls will be open from 6 am to 9 pm at New Paltz High School.The new date allows the district sufficient time to place legal notices about the new date. “There are very specific time requirements outlined in education law that must be followed,” said District Clerk, Dusti Callo.By law, the absentee ballots already submitted for the January vote are also now null and void. Anyone wishing to vote by absentee ballot in the March 24 vote will need to submit a new application and complete a new ballot. Applications for the new absentee ballots are available on the district’s website at https://www.newpaltz.k12.ny.us/absentee.Anyone wishing to have an absentee ballot mailed must return the application to the district clerk by Tuesday, March 17. If you choose to pick up an absentee ballot, go to the Office of the Superintendent, located in the District Office, Lenape Elementary School. If you choose to submit an application in person it must be returned to the district clerk by Monday, March 23. All completed ballots must be returned to the district clerk by 5 pm on March 24.A new financial plan for the bond payments is also being developed. The tax increase is still targeted at $20 per $100,000 of assessed value, however a refinancing opportunity for current bonds is now available that will provide some long-term savings on existing debt. This savings can be applied as an additional offset to allow the proposed bond to be paid off quicker.“We would refinance this debt whether there is a new Capital Project or not, as it would result in a savings of almost one million dollars to the district.” says Richard Linden, Assistant Superintendent for Business. “The administration is always looking for new financial management strategies that benefit the taxpayer. This new proposal is an example. Long-term financial planning is important."The delay in the vote is not anticipated to impact the overall completion date, however some projects that were planned for this summer will likely need to be deferred to a later date. “We have consulted with the architects, and the delay has significantly tightened the schedule for getting State Education Department approval and then soliciting bids for a summer start,” said Superintendent Maria Rice. “But, the architects are confident that a new schedule can be developed that would still allow completion during the Fall of 2018.”The vote was originally planned for January 27, but was postponed after predictions for severe weather conditions resulted in area-wide cancellations and the region being placed under a state of emergency. “It is unfortunate that the original vote had to be delayed, but it was more important to ensure that everyone could safely participate in this important decision,” said Board President, Brian Cournoyer.BackgroundIn 2013 and early 2014, the Board looked at five different campus options, as well as several “sub-options.” One of the major considerations was the cost of various options to the taxpayer. The cost of the capital project work was weighed against the possible annual operational budget savings that could be realized through having fewer campuses.
The following options were considered:
- Renovate all (four-campus model)
- Adopted cost: $52,900,000
- No annual operational savings
- Anticipated tax levy increase: 1 percent
- Consolidating Lenape & Duzine (three-campus model)
- Estimated cost: $87,550,596
- Estimated annual operational savings created by combining the Duzine and Lenape bus runs: $400,000 per year
- Anticipated tax levy increase: 4.9 percent
- Consolidating the HS & MS (three-campus model)
- Estimated costs: $82,080,849 plus possible additional cost of acquiring land to replace field space used for new construction, as well as expense of new furniture, fixtures, and equipment for a new building.
- Estimated annual operational savings created by shortening bus routes by 30 minutes per day: $50,000 per year
- Anticipated tax levy increase: 4.6 percent or more
- Consolidating both HS/MS and Lenape/Duzine (two-campus model)
- Estimated Cost: $107,390,903
- Estimated annual operational savings created by combining the Elementary bus runs and shortening the HS/MS bus runs, along with reduction of the food services courier (due to the elimination of a Central Kitchen): $550,000 per year
- Anticipated tax levy increase: 6 percent
The Board ultimately voted to keep the four-campus model. None of the current school buildings have the space available for consolidation without expansion to accommodate the additional students. The cost of new construction is higher than the cost of renovations. The Board evaluated the added taxpayer cost of building new space in order to reduce the number of campuses. The expected long-term operational savings for consolidation was not fiscally realistic, resulting in a tax levy increase of 4.6 to 6 percent, depending on the option. Renovating the current buildings resulted in a 1 percent increase.
When a business consolidates, workflow is streamlined, allowing management and other positions to be combined and costs to be reduced. The numbers of teachers or administrators would not be reduced under consolidation because their function is based on the size and needs of the student population, meeting mandates, and other factors that are not related to the buildings. The District has class size guidelines that determine the number of teachers. The State’s new teacher evaluation system has increased the time demands placed on administrators. The level of work related to serving students remains the same under consolidation. The exception is in transportation, because consolidation would result in changes in the bus runs.
There is also a perception that the Middle School is beyond repair and that the project is only a band-aid approach, when in fact the renovations proposed would update all of the buildings to meet the needs of providing a contemporary educational program well into the future. A $24,333,528 basic infrastructure update plan was considered in the Facilities Master Plan, but was eliminated because it was viewed as a "band-aid" approach to our facilities' needs.
The community is encouraged to call the District at 845-256-4010 with any questions or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Click on the "i" in the top left corner for a photo descriptionDo you have questions about the Capital Project?Feel free to contact us at email@example.com