KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane School board voted to move forward at its October 23 meeting with a $7-million capital improvement project.
The project will require voter approval, and the board has scheduled a special election at the high school gym for December 12. The board will hold a public forum to explain the project at a special meeting Wednesday, November 28 at 7 p.m.
As one of his last tasks for the district, Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick, whom the board plans to replace with a new superintendent next month, helped craft the proposed improvement project using one-time revenues so that the upgrades will not increase property taxes.
Mr. Bordick, a retired superintendent, has been serving as interim superintendent for two years. The board interviewed candidates for a new schools chief last year but ended up asking Mr. Bordick to stay on for another year until the district determined whether to merge with the Schodack School District.
The merger plan was dropped and subsequently the board advertised for the superintendent position again this year, working with Questar III/BOCES. District officials have been interviewing candidates.
Mr. Bordick has emphasized at meetings that though the district has more improvement needs that the proposed capital improvement project would address, scaling the proposal so that it could be accomplished without raising taxes was important factor determining whether to proceed. “Our goal with this is to have no tax impact,” he said at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The district has about $1 million in it fund balance, mostly from health insurance settlements, plus $550,000 from the sale of the Martin Van Buren School Building in Kinderhook and $499,996 in a debt reserve fund that officials will apply to the project. Mr. Bordick also said that the district should receive 73% in state aid for the project.
The project includes upgrades to the district computer servers and other technology, a facelift for the high school library, repairs and upgrades to the gym, replacement of the track and upgrades to the locker rooms, which would also mean creating a better fitness room for use by students and the community.
Steve Marotta, director of facilities and operations for ICC, said that the district is still working out details of the projects and moving smaller items from a “hope-to” list to “must do” status. He said the district has crafted a project that “hits the highest needs areas with the $7 million that we have.”
Mr. Marotta said the district maybe be able to add more improvements when the bids come in for the work. If there is money left, he said, he has a list ready of other projects.
Board members asked about technology needs, since the state is pushing for more testing on computers. Mr. Bordick said this project covers the basic needs for the district but does not include buying iPads or new computers for all students. “Don’t go there yet, until you see what the state is doing,” he told the board. The state Education Department expects to have a technology plan in the next couple of years, he said.
Details of the capital improvement project are online at www.ichabodcrane.org.
Also this week the board adopted a declaration saying the project would have no negative environmental impact.
The next regular board meeting is Tuesday, November 6 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library.