Capital Project FAQ
Below you will find several frequently asked questions pertaining to the December 2018 OCSD Capital Project. If you have additional questions please feel free to reach out to the superintendent's office at 315-341-2001.
For additional Capital Project Information please visit the 2018 Capital Project Webpage.
Q. What day is the vote?A. Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Q. What time are the polls open?A. Polls are open noon – 9:00 p.m.
Q. Where do I vote?A.
Scriba Fire Station (Scriba and Volney Oswego City School District Residents)
St. Paul’s Church (East Side Oswego Residents)
Elim Grace Church (West Side Oswego Residents) and
Oswego Town Hall (Oswego Town and Town of Minetto Oswego School District Residents).
Q. The district was in financial crisis in 2016, how can we afford a project of this size?
A. The district was listed as a district susceptible to fiscal stress due to the yearly use of fund balance and reserves to balance the budget. The district went to a revenue based budget and the savings from difficult reductions enabled the district to reduce its reliance on one shot revenue sources. Additionally, the administration has worked hard to build the Capital Reserve fund from $1M to $5.9M. Our building aid has increased from 62% to 86% and the Board has authorized the use of that $5.9M from the Capital Reserve to offset the local share.
Q. How much of the 63.1M is for field work?
A. 11.33% of the budget is for the field work. Our fields are worn and in need of reconstruction. Drainage is non-existent and there are related safety issues to the fact that the fields have compacted irregularities. Fencing, equipment, and lighting have exceeded their expected life and require replacement – all the things NYSED cares about when assessing the conditions of buildings and grounds.
Q. Where did the plan for the Capital Improvement Project come from?
A. The district has been developing the Capital Improvement Project for nearly a decade. It has been a collaborative process between the Superintendent, Board of Education, District Facilities Committee, architect, legal counsel and fiscal advisors.
Q. Why is it important to do this work now?
A. New York State Education Law and regulations require a building condition survey (BCS) for all occupied school buildings to be conducted at every five years. The most current survey identified some code, safety and building concerns throughout the district. There are also state mandates for lead water testing and carbon monoxide emissions that need to be addressed long term. These issues are among the first to be addressed in the Capital Improvement Project. Additionally, further delays in the capital project guarantee escalating costs which may decrease the scope.
Q. What will be the cost and impact on taxpayers?
A. On December 18, 2018, district voters will have the chance to approve the Capital Improvement Project at a total cost of $63,100,000. $57.2 million will come from serial bonds, $5.9 million from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund, with the remaining balance paid by retiring debt and a small tax levy impact of less than 1%. The estimated average tax impact is $1.15 per year for the life of the project on a $100,000 home, or $23.00 total over 20 years.
Q. How does the Capital Improvement Project relate to the district’s overall finances?
A. The Capital Improvement Project and district annual operating budget are two entirely separate budgets. Over the past several years, district leadership has undertaken the necessary and often painful task of reducing our staffing, taking a critical look at programming and extracurricular needs to better serve our students. These hard decisions, along with retiring debt, have put our district in a position to begin the Capital Improvement Project now.
Q. What happens if the project fails?
A. Required elements of the Building Condition Survey must be completed with or without a capital project. Including these items in a capital project generates building aid.
Q. Why not fund repairs and renovations through the annual budget?
A. Large building projects, such as roofs, windows, plumbing and floors are too costly to include in a school district’s annual operating budget. Through a bond vote we take advantage of state building aid while spreading the cost over a 15 year period. As part of a bond project, site work is eligible for building aid when it is linked to capital work being done at the same school. This amounts to millions of dollars being funded by the state and not directly from the local taxpayers.
Q. How does investing in our school benefit me?
A. Investing in our schools and our students is investing in the future of our community. Public Education benefits society as a whole and prepares students to be Fully Prepared and Life Ready. Our district provides 3,664 students in grades K-12 with a positive educational learning environment to continue to help them grow. By maintaining our facilities and providing rich academic environments for learning, we will attract families which in turn increase property values.
Q. Will anyone have to move temporarily while work is going on?
A. There is a possibility that classrooms will be moved in order to accommodate construction. The district with guidance from the Architect, Construction Manager, Director of Facilities, Principal, Facilities Committee and Superintendent will collaborate to make decisions related to temporary placements.
Q. While our athletic fields are being redone, where will our musicians and athletes practice and play games? What seasons will be impacted?
A. The Superintendent and the Director of Physical Education and Athletics will be realigning any physical education classes and music and sporting events affected during the construction period. Alternate sites will be considered using the best interest of students.
Q. Might there be other capital projects during the 20 year project duration?
A. There could always be a proposal for additional capital project work. Our building condition survey will guide us in those decisions.