The State of New York has provided, through legislation in Chapter 61 of the Laws of 2006, for a new program to provide additional funding for building/capital projects that meet a set of criteria established by the State. Port Washington is eligible to be reimbursed for $606,539 in expenses. This item will be presented as Proposition #2 on the ballot during the school district budget vote on May 15.
The three projects being proposed in this proposition include the replacement of a section of the high school roof, the replacement of the main high school gymnasium floor and the replacement of circa 1940 asbestos floor tiles in various classrooms throughout the school district. The school district will receive the money after completion of the selected projects.
If the community votes in favor of Proposition #2, the work will be started shortly following the budget vote. If the community does not vote in favor of Proposition #2, the school district will not receive the funding. If Proposition #2 is not passed, the work is not in the current budget and will not be done. There is no guarantee or sunset clause that if the financial situation of New York State should change, this offer of money would be available in the future.
The budgetary impact is $20,000 for the interest on borrowed money to complete the projects while waiting for reimbursement. When the paid invoices are submitted to the New York State Office of Facilities Planning and the Dormitory Authority, the district will receive the total cost of these projects. The Facilities Committee of the Board of Education has determined that these projects are the most urgent projects that are eligible for this funding.
"This is the first time in my twenty-two year career that the State of New York has ever provided an allocation of this magnitude which in effect does totally pay for capital projects," said Mary Callahan, assistant superintendent for business in the Port Washington School District. "I hope the community understands this wonderful opportunity and realizes its value."
School districts throughout the state are asking voters to consider capital projects in their communities utilizing this unique opportunity. For those interested in finding out more about EXCEL Aid, you may go to the SED website: www.emsc.nysed.gov/facplan/EXCEL/ExcelQ&A062606.htm