Board discusses project options

FONDA – The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss possibly putting the proposed capital project up for public vote again.

The $19.8 million project was voted down by a slim margin in May. The measure needed 60 percent voter support for approval. It received 58.5 percent of the vote. The proposal included items such as upgrading fire-alarm systems, installing new athletic-field turf, adding climate control to classrooms, increasing computer bandwidth, repairing roofs and replacing grandstand seating.

Interim Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said even though the measure didn’t get the 60 percent supermajority needed, getting that close was an accomplishment.

The district needed 60 percent of the voters to support the project because part of the district includes a small portion of the city of Johnstown. Small cities need a higher percentage of voter approval because the district went above the debt ceiling for the project, officials said.

However, the district is considering shaving off about $400,000 from the original proposed capital project amount of $19.8 million, so it would no longer need the supermajority to pass. Much of that money would come from removing furniture and cabinetry from the project, officials said.

District Treasurer Carey Shultz said after a rate change for the district, due to the push back of the project into 2018, the debt ceiling changed and would allow the district to borrow $19.7 million instead of the previous amount of around $17.5 million. To be conservative, Shultz suggested the board look at borrowing $19.4 million.

The board also is considering putting two resolutions to voters: One presenting an $18.2 million capital project and the other a $1.2 million proposal for the turf multisport field.

The district is considering keeping about $500,000 in the capital project to cover the cost of creating needed drainage on a sod turf, should the multisport field proposition fail.

At the meeting Wednesday was Bernier Carr Group architect Michael Harris. He said the district would need to resolve drainage issues with the field regardless of whether or not a turf field is approved. He said fixing the problem would involve removing the current sod, laying gravel and other drainage materials before resurfacing.

Shultz said it costs about $10,000 to $14,000 a year to care for the sod turf, so the cost per year of the turf field would be a wash for the district.

Harris said if the capital project is approved by voters, the district would be looking at a 2016 start date for the project, with the project being completed in early 2018.

Colucciello said the board would likely have another few review sessions on the capital project before approving it to go out to voters.

The board has a minimum of 90 days before another vote can happen, Colucciello said, but he indicated the board would like to wait longer, with a vote potentially coming as late as October.