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.
Putting together a proposition for a vote requires many decisions to be made - A message from the BOEJanuary 15, 2015One issue we grappled with was whether to put up a single proposition or to split it into multiple propositions. There are many scenarios that could be imagined - such as creating a proposition for each individual building, or creating a proposition for only infrastructure repairs followed by a proposition for programmatic upgrades, etc
Different options were investigated in order to discern which, if any, would make the most fiscal sense for taxpayers. Ultimately, we discovered there are significant disadvantages to splitting the project up through multiple propositions and we decided it was necessary to put the project up intact as a single proposition.
One option we investigated was prioritizing the project with the most important infrastructure repairs happening first with plans to come back to the community with a second proposition at a later date for additions / renovations. In consultation with the architects we discovered that it could potentially be a waste of tax-dollars because many of the infrastructure repairs would more than likely need to be undone by future renovation work. In addition, there was no guarantee that the second proposition would pass and we would take the risk of leaving multiple issues unresolved.
We had also considered splitting the buildings up into separate propositions and allowing the community to vote on each one independently. This was debated at the table and our architects provided feedback about issues they found with this approach. Just as it made the most sense to consider all of the repairs and upgrades in one proposition, we realized we needed to apply that same vision to the district. We are one school community, not five separate buildings (including the bus garage). Dividing the project up had a high probability of creating inequity across our school community. Although this approach seemed logical because it had a likelihood of allowing us to get moving on some less controversial buildings, it was deemed irresponsible as it had the potential to leave necessary work undone. It would end up significantly more expensive with multiple set up costs and take away flexibility in scheduling work.
We found there were many disadvantages to creating multiple propositions. The biggest disadvantage is the loss of flexibility to assign soft costs (architect fees, construction management fees professional fees, bonding costs, etc.) across projects, which could result in a reduction in state aid. It would also result in less flexibility in bidding and phasing in work. It is much more cost effective to consider the entirety of the project at one time due to economies of scale.
In the end, we decided to treat the facilities holistically, and to create a single proposition. One proposition allows for greater flexibility in allocating costs for increased State Aid, lower prices from contractors because they only have to pay for set-up cost once and an increased flexibility in phasing work between buildings. In addition, because of the way NYS pays State Aid to its districts, one proposition minimizes the impact on the total tax levy.
Sincerely,Brian Cournoyer, PresidentRuth Quinn, Vice President
Aimee Gertler-HemmingerSteve GreenfieldDominick ProfaciTim RogersJulie Tresco,
New Paltz Board of Education