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Residents to weigh proposed capital project

When residents go to the polls on May 19, they will be asked to vote on a proposed capital project that would better align the district’s facilities with the community’s vision for our student’s education. State aid, energy savings, reduced transportation costs and BOCES rent would pay the full cost of the project; there would be no increase in the tax levy to cover the cost.

The $73.645 million plan would make renovations and improvements to Barringer Road and Fisher Elementary Schools, Jarvis Middle School and Central Valley Academy. At the project’s end, each building would be configured to match facilities to curriculum needs.

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 our community’s dreams for the future.”

No additional cost to the local taxpayer

After the “why,” Dr. Hughes said cost will be the next most common question.

As a merged district, Central Valley is eligible for 98 percent building aid. After allowing for parts of the project that are not eligible for aid, project consultants estimate state aid will cover almost 96 percent of the total cost.

“When we first talked to the state and looked at the numbers, we estimated a small tax increase to cover the local share of the project. After further discussions with SED (the New York State Department of Education), we realized that with a few minor revisions we could eliminate the need for a tax increase to cover the project,” he said.

He said he expects energy savings, reduced BOCES transportation and BOCES rent for classrooms will help decrease expenses and increase revenues in the future.

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. Building projects over the years have successfully maintained and adapted our facilities, but never truly addressed the needs of the 21st century. Classrooms are small and lack technology infrastructure. 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 well-paying careers and the best colleges,” Dr. Hughes said.

The biggest change would take place at Jarvis. Plans include flood mitigation, classroom and security upgrades. The improvements 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 offi ces, improving technology, and renovating instruction areas to create in-house opportunities for meeting 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. He noted that a large number of our students attend these BOCES programs and would no longer require additional transportation.

Another of the plan’s highlights is to install a multipurpose 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. 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.”
1516 Capital Project PDF