Written by Record Pilot Staff Thursday, 26 September 2013 00:00
At the Sept. 12 North Shore Board of Education meeting, trustees unanimously approved a $19.6 million Infrastructure Bond Referendum for the long-term financing of projects related to the health and safety of the students, faculty and staff. The average home owner will see no increase in their property taxes as a result of the proposed bond, since payments of the 2013-14 Infrastructure Bond will be phased in as older bonds are phased out and paid off.
Trustee Russo stated, “The bond will help keep the tax levy stable.”
In an effort to be proactive and remain fiscally responsible in planning for the future of the North Shore Schools, BOE President Herman Berliner discussed that the funding of required infrastructure work through a bond at historically low interest rates will protect instructional programs and the community since it will result in the sharing of costs among current residents who own property and those moving into the district in the years to come.
There were several financial reasons highlighted for choosing to bond at this time. First of all, financing through a bond now for infrastructure projects that must be completed within the next five to ten years, due to age, condition and life expectancy will enable the district to complete this work at today’s costs, resulting in substantial savings to the community.
Since the school district currently has an excellent financial rating, they will be able to borrow money at a favorable interest rate. Payments of this bond will begin to be phased in as older bonds are phased out and paid off.
Finally, a bond will enable the board to prevent spikes in the capital portion of the year-to-year operating budget by allowing the district to proactively plan and schedule the required projects to avoid costly emergency repairs and disruption to the daily school routine.
The board members assert that the projects included in the Infrastructure Bond Referendum are for the health and safety of the students, faculty and staff. Nonessential projects were deferred. The projects include the following (for a complete list of the proposed projects, visit www.northshoreschools.org):
• HVAC (ventilation and air exchange)
• Roof Replacements
• Security Upgrades
• Electrical Repairs
• Window Replacements
• Masonry Work
Trustee Nightingale said, “The items in the bond are necessities not niceties that need to be completed whether placed in a bond referendum or not.”
Superintendent Melnick further discussed how trustees arrived at the project list, which included utilizing the Annual Visual Inspections required by the N.Y. State Education Department as well as the formulation of a Community-Wide Bond
Committee consisting of taxpayers, including parents, community residents without children attending the schools, alumni, faculty and administrators. Ultimately, all suggestions and comments were brought to the board, where trustees deferred all nonessential projects to arrive at the $19.6 million bond.
Community meetings have been scheduled for Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the North Shore High School library, and Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Glenwood Landing School library. Community members will have the opportunity to vote on the
Infrastructure Bond Referendum on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at North Shore High School from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.