To the editor:
On Tuesday, February 12th, the Catskill School District will request voter approval of a Capital Improvement Project that will cost approximately $41 million dollars. The project calls for upgrades, improvements, enhancements, and needed repairs to the existing school campuses: Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.
There are over 100 line items within the Project, ranging from mandated fixes (e.g., ADA-compliance issues) to major building projects such as a new Middle School gym and an artificial turf soccer field. I requested an itemized list of costs so the community can vote in an informed way about this large project. The Superintenant’s Office and the Business Office both informed me that this information was not available to the public and that only the Board has this data. This information must be available somewhere as a contracted engineering firm had to analyze the need and cost, by line item, for this project.
An informed vote requires more detailed information:
There is a line item for each campus and building referring to “Environmental Contingency.” What are these items and how much funding was allocated?
Will there be a single competitive bid for the entire project or can a company bid on one line item (e.g., just the middle school gym)?
Entire reserve fund balance of $4 million will be applied to this project. Is this amount separate from state aid funding? How will that fund be “replenished” once it is applied to the building project? What part of the annual budget will be allocated to the fund balance?
What are the annual maintenance costs for an artificial turf soccer field and lighting? Are there plans to use the proposed field for any use other than soccer?
Will the new Middle School gym have locker room facilities?
If the Capital Improvement Project is voted down, is there a contingency plan to address the required remediation work?
I support for the upkeep, maintenance, and visionary improvements to Catskill School District facilities. Unfortunately, I feel that the Board has failed to provide enough information and transparency to allow the public to make an informed vote on the proposal.