This letter appeared in the New Paltz Times leading up to the January 27th vote. The Board of Education wrote these letters to share their thought process and the data examined in developing the proposed capital project.
Building New Schools was Thoroughly VettedDecember 10, 2014In keeping with our efforts to better communicate, the following information describes the process that led to our adoption of the four-campus Facilities Master Plan. The journey began in September 2012. The directive for the study was to provide a ground-up analysis of the conditions and needs of all facilities, with a long-term focus linked to the District’s Educational Master Plan. Over the next 18 months, we engaged architect and construction professionals to help us explore various options including consolidation of school buildings. This analysis used a 20-year timeframe to assess multiple options.
During this discovery process we reviewed significant amounts of information for each option related to:
- educational ramifications,
- selling school properties,
- any operational savings generated from new buildings and
- ongoing infrastructure needs at existing buildings using a +20-year timeframe.
We spent considerable time debating these options and our debates generated even more data used in our investigation. The study of consolidation options demonstrated that project costs varied dramatically even when all operational savings and potential property sales were included. These included:
- $107M for a two-campus option with a resulting tax levy increase of 6%.
- $82M to $87M for a three-campus option resulting in tax levy increases of 4.6% to 4.9%, respectively.
- $52.9M for a four-campus option resulting in a tax levy increase of 1% - (the proposed capital project).
We also rejected an infrastructure-only option because it was simply a band-aid. It became clear it was insufficient and would not address the air quality and ventilation needs of the students and would therefore be a wasteful use of taxpayer funds.
The investigation showed that relocating schools would not provide enough savings to the operational budget to offset the significant increase in project cost. In fact, as illustrated above, the net increase for the consolidation options would be nearly five to six times more than the long-term four-campus option to the taxpayer. Since most costs in a school district are tied to student enrollment and not the number of buildings, savings from consolidation would be limited.
Considering that four campuses would provide an educationally sound environment for our students over the long term, we unanimously adopted the $52.9M project because we believed its financial impact to the taxpayer was the most prudent.Sincerely,
Brian Cournoyer, President
Ruth Quinn, Vice President