BUDGET NEWS: Residents to vote on three propositions May 15

In addition to the proposed budget, district residents will be asked to vote on three propositions on Tuesday, May 15.

1. Purchase eight school buses

District residents will vote to authorize the purchase of eight school buses:  four 64-passenger or larger school buses at a maximum estimated cost of $110,047 each and four 30-passenger or larger school buses at a maximum estimated cost of $54,015 each; for an aggregate maximum cost of $656,248.

Replacing some school buses annually allows the Transportation Department to maintain student safety while controlling maintenance and
repair costs on older buses. The new buses will replace older vehicles that have become expensive to repair.

If approved, approximately 60 percent of the $656,248 proposition would be covered by state aid. The cost to local taxpayers would be bonded over five years, with the first payment due during the 2019-20 school year – the
first year that the district will begin receiving state aid reimbursement. There will be no effect on the 2018-19 tax levy.

2. Expend $3.9 million from the Capital Reserve Fund

District residents will be asked to authorize expending approximately $3,976,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to cover any additional costs necessary to complete the $30.48 million Capital Improvement Project that will break ground this summer.

In case expenses are higher than anticipated, the district is asking its residents to authorize expending up to $3,976,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to cover any additional costs. If voters approve to expend money from the Capital Reserve Fund, and the district does not need the extra funding to complete the projects, the funds will then be used to reduce the amount of bonds authorized for the project. If voters do not approve to expend money from the Capital Reserve Fund, and the contractor bids exceed the original projected cost, then the project must be trimmed in order to stay within the authorized cost of approximately $30.48 million.

Why is additional funding necessary?

In February 2017, district residents approved the approximately $30.48 million Capital Improvement Project to address renovations and additions at Goshen High School as well as district-wide IT infrastructure needs. The project will not affect the tax levy since the cost is covered in part by the Capital Reserve Fund, as well as state aid and retiring debt service.

The current market and contractors’ bids may affect the final cost of the Capital Improvement Project. Project bids may come in higher than anticipated from when the project’s plans were rendered by district architects almost two years ago.

“This is exactly what the Capital Reserve Fund is for – to help pay for renovations and construction projects in the district,” said Superintendent Daniel Connor. “The money we are asking to expend is already in the fund, so we can help cover the cost of the Capital Improvement Project, if necessary, and it won’t affect taxpayers’ wallets.”

It is important to know that the district cannot spend above the bond amount approved by voters – $30,483,850. If costs exceed those estimated once work begins, additional funding must be used, with voter approval, or the scope of the project must be reduced accordingly.

What is the Capital Reserve Fund?

Voters approved the Capital Reserve Fund when it was listed as a proposition on the 2011-12 school year budget vote. It was established for a period of 10 years. At its inception, the fund had a zero balance; money was acquired from end-of-year surplus funds as well as accrued interest.

By creating the Capital Reserve Fund, the district has been able to place aside money to help cover or alleviate the cost of capital improvement projects. A separate vote is needed to approve any capital project proposals and to withdraw money from the fund.

3. Elect three members to the Board of Education

District residents will elect three members to the Board of Education for three-year terms to fill the seats of Board members Martha Bogart, Judy
Green and Jason Pucci, whose terms expire at the end of the school year.

The candidates who receive the most votes will be appointed to these positions and will be sworn in at the organizational Board meeting in July. Their terms will commence on July 1, 2018 and will expire on June 30, 2021.

The candidates are (listed in ballot order):

  • Judy Green
  • Jason Pucci
  • Martha Bogart
  • David Schrank