First Proposition, $62.24 Million in Improvements, Has No Tax Rate Impact
The Board of Education has unanimously authorized a capital project vote for Feb. 9, 2021, that totals $79 million of investment in facilities improvements across the district. Voters will consider two propositions that include classroom additions and renovations at the middle school level, critical health and safety projects across the district, and outdoor athletic improvements.
The proposal is timed with the district’s paying down of debt to minimize the impact to district tax rates. The first proposition, for $62.24 million total, has no tax rate impact. The second proposition, $16.78 million in additional improvements, contains a slight tax rate impact for two years only based on the district’s debt payment schedule.
Overall, the projects would be funded by state aid, the district’s capital reserve fund and local property taxes. However, because the district will be paying off debt for previous projects in the coming years, the only tax rate impact is associated with the second proposition, estimated at $28 per $100,000 of assessed value for two years only, 2023 and 2024. (This equates to $84 per year on a house assessed at $300,000, or $7 per month.)
Voting will take place on Feb. 9 in-person and through absentee ballots. Anyone who requests an absentee ballot will be provided one.
The project focuses on two overarching areas:
- Health, safety and infrastructure work that will cost more in the long run if not addressed, such as aging boilers in four buildings and the Glencliff roof that continually leaks into classrooms
- Addressing deficient educational and program space that will continue to affect student performance if it is not updated and improved, from outdated middle school classrooms to the deteriorating Niskayuna High School track that can no longer host competitions.
The additional space and middle level improvements will enable the planned grade configuration shift to a 5-8 middle school program at two locations (5-6 at Van Antwerp and 7-8 at Iroquois). Adding classrooms and moving 5th grade out of the elementary schools will provide the district with the space needed to accommodate projected enrollment growth in the coming years.
What Does Proposition #1 Include?
$62.24 million of work at $0 additional tax rate impact
- A classroom addition at Iroquois and significant renovations of instructional space at both Iroquois and Van Antwerp, including converting the current District Offices at Van Antwerp into space for classrooms and student use.
- Site improvements at both middle schools, including roadways, parking lots and traffic flow, as well as infrastructure upgrades involving heating, mechanical and electrical systems.
- Dedicated space for music ensembles at both Van Antwerp and Iroquois, allowing students to participate in music in their own school rather than at the high school in the morning.
- Urgent and critical health safety and infrastructure work, including roof replacements at Glencliff and Hillside, and boiler replacements and HVAC upgrades at Birchwood, Craig, Hillside and Rosendale.
- Urgent and critical building health, safety and infrastructure improvements at Niskayuna High School.
- Track and other fields improvements at Niskayuna High School that have been deferred for some time.
What Does Proposition #2 Include?
$16.78 million in investment with a tax rate impact for two years only
- Additional interior renovations at Iroquois and Van Antwerp, construction of playing fields at Iroquois and the reconstruction of the Van Antwerp staff parking (46 spaces).
- Reconstruction of the deteriorating roadway, drop-off loop and staff parking area at Rosendale.
- The implementation of all playing field components of the Niskayuna High School Athletics Master Plan for fields, including: new all-weather track and field; new stadium entry; new baseball and softball fields and support facilities; new stadium entry, parking, and drop-off loop and roadway.
The proposal follows five years of planning that included enrollment projection studies that showed expected growth for the coming years; a capacity study that showed the district has very little available existing space; and the involvement of teachers, faculty, staff, parents and community members.
Of note, Proposition #2 cannot pass (regardless of vote totals) unless voters first approve Proposition #1, as the work proposed in the second proposition essentially builds on work that is part of the first.
When and Where Can I Expect to See More Information?
- Voters can expect to see extensive information about the vote on the website in the coming days.
- While in-person voting will take place, absentee ballot information will be communicated to all well ahead of time, and anyone who requests an absentee ballot will be provided one. To request an absentee ballot, please contact District Clerk Cynthia Gagnon at email@example.com or (518) 377-4666, ext. 50706.
- Several virtual community presentations are being scheduled for January and early February.
- A capital project newsletter will be mailed to all residences in the district around Jan. 20.
- Do you have a question about the capital project or would you like to schedule a presentation for your community organization? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.