KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education is planning a $7-million capital project to be put to district voters as a referendum December 12. Board members reviewed the preliminary scope of the project at a special workshop meeting Tuesday and asked for more community input before the board votes to move forward with the project.
The board also discussed the future of the Martin H. Glynn School building at the September 25 meeting. School district residents voted in May to transfer ownership of the empty school building to the Town of Kinderhook and Village of Valatie for $1. The district and the municipalities now have a draft contract that is being reviewed by their lawyers.
And on a related topic, Interim Superintendent of Schools Lee Bordick said the sale of the empty Martin Van Buren School in the Village of Kinderhook is nearly complete. Gallery owner Jack Shainman is purchasing the building for $550,000.
School board Vice President Regina Rose was concerned that if the town and village do take over the Glynn School and then decide to sell it, the district would lose out on any revenue. So board member Jeffery Ouellete suggested a clause in the contract requiring that the district receive a percentage of the sale price if the building is sold.
Board member John Antelak, who has been involved in the negotiations with the municipalities for the sale of the building, said there is already a deed restriction in the contract making the gym space available for community use, which he thought would restrict the ability of the town and village to sell the building.
He also said advised against a proposed clause that would return the building to the district if the municipalities decide not to move into it. “We don’t want it back,” Mr. Antelak said.
Mr. Bordick will look at the contract with the board’s lawyer and see whether a clause could be added that gives the district some money if the Glynn School is sold.
The municipalities have not said that they plan to sell the building, but upkeep on a building that size is about $30,000 a year, according to district officials. “They expressed that they need a tenant to afford the [building],” said Ms. Rose.
Over the summer the town rejected an offer from county Mental Health and Twin County Recovery Services to rent rooms in the building. And an offer to rent most of the building from the Academy of Christian Leadership fizzled when the school announced it has suspended classes for the school year.
The district will apply the $550,000 it receives for the sale of the Van Buren School building toward the $7 million capital project to reduce the tax impact on residents. The board plans to borrow money and use the $800,000 fund balance from last year’s budget, as well as a $400,000 health insurance settlement to pay for the project.
Mr. Bordick said there are well over $11 million in critical infrastructure needs in the three school buildings the district still uses for instruction. This project would replace the master clocks and public address systems in most buildings, upgrade the gyms and libraries in the Middle and High schools, and remove asbestos tiles in the Primary School.
Twenty percent of the project would be to upgrade the technology needs in the district. “What do you want to be when you grow-up?” Mr. Bordick asked the board of the districts upgrades, “What does Ichabod Crane want to look like?”
The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed project Wednesday, November 28. There will be a regular board meeting Tuesday, October 2 at 7:30 p.m.