At its regular meeting on Wednesday, Mar. 25, the Central Valley Board of Education voted to move forward with a $73.6 million building renovation and improvement project. District voters will vote on the proposed plan and the district budget on May 19, 2015.
Tackling a big problem
Superintendent Rich Hughes acknowledges “Why?” will be the community’s biggest question.
“When this community voted to merge, it did so knowing that the steady loss of academic and extracurricular activities was robbing students of their opportunity for success in the 21st century,” he said.
“Since that important step two years ago, the board of education and panels of administrators, teachers and community members explored what we needed to change for Central Valley to provide that world-class education everyone dreamed about. Those panels began with looking at what we were teaching and how that needed to change. Then they turned their sights on our facilities and asked what needed change to match that academic vision.
“This building plan is the result of their efforts and their dreams for the future.”
What would it cost the local taxpayer?
After the “why,” Dr. Hughes said cost will be the most common question.
As a merged district, Central Valley is eligible for 98 percent building aid.
He said he expects energy savings, reduced BOCES transportation and BOCES rent for classrooms will cover the local share.
“If things come to fruition, as I expect, there will be no need for a tax increase to cover the project. In the worst case scenario, the local share would translate to a $26-increase on the average Central Valley home, but again, I can’t imagine that happening,” he said.
What would be done?
The project would address needs at all four buildings.
“Our buildings were built for an education that prepared students for a world that existed 25 to 75 years ago. Classrooms are small and lack technology infrastructure. Building projects over the years have kept that model in place, but never truly addressed the needs of the 21st century. We’re now competing with, not just our neighbors, but with those from throughout the region. We must offer students an education that prepares them for careers and college,” Dr. Hughes said.
The biggest change would take place at Jarvis. Plans include flood mitigation, classroom and security upgrades. The changes would enable Jarvis to offer all students access to its successful STREAM program.
Fisher and Barringer would see classroom and security upgrades, and small additions to make the buildings structurally and programmatically equitable.
CVA improvements include relocating the cafeteria and district offices, expanding technology, building a clean room and expanding in-house opportunities to meet the state’s new Multiple Pathways to graduation initiative. The plan also calls for converting classrooms in the old middle school wing into BOCES classrooms, which BOCES would rent each year.
Another of the plan’s highlights is to expand the running track and to install a multi-purpose turf field at CVA. The improvements would enable the district to host regional and sectional athletic events, while competing in the challenging Tri-Valley League where all but one district has access to multi-use field.
Becoming the region’s education leader
“This plan takes Central Valley from it current place to becoming an educational leader,” Dr. Hughes said.
“We are the largest school in the region and as we offer more and more to students, the board of education believes we will attract families and students to the community. If you wanted to give your child the best shot at his or her future, what kind of school would you want. This plan moves us one step toward becoming that school.”
Watch for more details
The district is planning videos and articles that will better explain the project’s details. The annual budget brochure mailed to all taxpayers will also contain more information.
The district invites anyone with questions to email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the district office at 894-9934. All questions and answers will be posted on the district’s Storm Chaser page.