Proposals face voters Feb. 12

FORT PLAIN – On Feb. 12, residents of the Fort Plain Central School District will vote on three separate transportation proposals. Voting will take place in the Harry Hoag Elementary School gymnasium from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The proposals are as follows:

  • To create a reserve called the bus/transportation reserve fund that would be used to buy buses, vehicles and other transportation equipment;
  • To transfer $409,631 in capital reserve fund to the bus/transportation reserve fund;
  • To spend no more than $245,000 in surplus fund balance to buy two full-sized buses.

None of the propositions would require an increase in taxes, but district leaders need voter approval in order to create or change reserve funds or to purchase the buses.

“These three propositions are part of the district’s short- and long-term transportation plan,” Superintendent Douglas C. Burton said in the news release. “They would save the district money and create a sensible vehicle replacement schedule without adding to the taxpayers’ burden.”

The first proposition asks voters to approve the formation of a bus/transportation reserve fund not to exceed $2.3 million. This would not require additional taxes.

Instead, the district would use surplus fund balance to partially fund the reserve, which could be used only for the purchase of school buses, vehicles and transportation-related equipment.

The balance of funding for the bus/transportation reserve fund would come from voter approval of the proposition that would allow the transfer of the remaining $409,631 in a capital reserve fund.

In the third proposition, voters will be asked allow the purchase of two buses using money the district already has in reserve. That means the purchase would come at no cost to taxpayers, the release said.

The district routinely replaces buses after a certain age to ensure student safety and to reduce the cost of repairs. Under the new plan, the district would move from a five-year to a 10-year replacement schedule.

The referendum also helps the district address an Office of the State Comptroller’s finding that the district’s unappropriated fund balance exceeded the state limit of 4 percent. Designating surplus fund balance to the bus/transportation reserve fund brings the district into compliance and addresses the concern of how to fund buses in the future, the release said.