MASSENA — Norwood-Norfolk Central School officials will be asking voters to approve a $9.1 million capital project on Oct. 22, but Superintendent James Cruikshank said it will have no impact on the district’s taxpayers.
“We’re still looking at a negative impact on taxes. There’s no impact on taxes with our 98 percent aid rate, plus our existing capital fund, now over $1 million. That all comes out very, very nice for our taxpayers. With a 98 percent aid rate, that’s optimal for Norwood-Norfolk,” he said during a special board of education meeting on Tuesday.
Mr. Cruikshank said there was a misconception by some people about the cost of capital projects to taxpayers.
“A lot of people kind of misunderstand how state aid on capital projects works. They say if you’re getting state aid, that comes from taxes. They’re correct, it does. But that fund is there in the state. We’re paying into it. There are millions and millions of dollars of projects going on all the time throughout the state. The last thing the state wants to have happen is their 700-plus school districts to run into poorly maintained buildings, so they fully fund that line item,” he said.
Among the work that will be done during the capital project is an update of the fire alarm system.
“We do have a fire alarm system, but this would significantly upgrade it. This gives a safety aspect to this project,” Mr. Cruikshank said.
Corridor ceilings will also be replaced, and $200,000 has been earmarked to widen the bus garage opening. He said they would still have two bays, but the widening would allow their larger buses to drive into the bus garage.
The district will be using the entire balance of its capital reserve fund, $1.04 million, on the project. They’ll also be asking voters for authorization to create a new 10-year capital reserve fund of $1.5 million to use for future projects.
The capital project vote is scheduled for 12:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Board of Education Room. They currently plan to hold a public meeting to discuss the project during their next board of education meeting on Oct. 15.
While Norwood-Norfolk prepares for the capital project vote, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that four north country school districts have been awarded $28.7 million for capital projects in their district.
The Ogdensburg City School District will receive $16.7 million, Harrisville Central School District will receive $5.7 million, Lisbon Central School District will receive $3.9 million and Thousand Islands Central School District will receive $2.4 million.
They were among the 54 school districts across the state that received a total of $482.4 million in low-cost, tax-exempt bonds from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.
Projects benefitting from the issuance include but are not limited to: fire, security, and air quality systems upgrades; interior and exterior renovations at numerous facilities including several classroom additions; athletic field improvements; and technology updates to promote innovation and collaboration.
Since the inception of the program in 2002, DASNY has issued 100 separate series of bonds on behalf of more than 200 school districts statewide in an aggregate par amount of more than $6.1 billion.