During its meeting on March 30, the North Colonie Board of Education voted to adopt a resolution for a proposed capital project totaling $106.3 million that will be presented to the public for a vote on Tuesday, May 16, the date of the annual school budget vote.
After voters rejected a capital project proposal of $196.4 million in December, district officials and board members reviewed exit survey results and sought feedback from the public during two community forums in January and March that were attended by more than 300 participants to determine the district’s next steps.
“The Board and I are grateful to the community members who participated in the public forums and shared their thoughts and opinions with us,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “The fact is our district has a real and a sizeable enrollment increase that we cannot ignore and that requires us to take immediate action. After gathering valuable feedback from our community, we have scaled back our proposed project accordingly.”
The Board of Education had been considering two options regarding capital improvements before making a final decision to move forward with the $106 million plan that focuses primarily on addressing enrollment growth at the elementary level. Due to expansive construction in the north end of town and the turnover in existing homes to younger families with children, enrollment in the district is projected to increase by more than 900 students over the next decade, which will eventually impact the high school.
The revised proposal includes addition and renovation work at the elementary schools and the conversion of the Shaker Junior High School to a 6-8 middle school to accommodate the significant growth in enrollment, as well as security updates for all eight school buildings.
Highlights of the project:
- Moving the sixth grade to a new Shaker Middle School, creating a fifth hall
- Enhanced security measures at the front entrances of every building
- Expanded media centers at all elementary schools
- New classrooms at Boght Hills to allow for an additional class section for each grade level, reducing class sizes districtwide
- Expanded parking and construction of dedicated bus and parent drop-off loops at Shaker Middle and High Schools
- Addition of a synthetic surface for Walker Field for multipurpose use
The scaled down referendum will result in a tax rate impact of 0.49 percent, which translates to a tax increase on a median assessed home of $21.32/year (with enhanced aid) or an increase of 1.49 percent, $64.64 per year (without enhanced aid).
“If voters approve the project in May, we have had assurances from the State Education Department that they will work with us to expedite the approval process, which would allow us to receive the enhanced state aid,” said Corr. “That would result in the lower tax rate increase of 0.49 percent, which is what we are aiming for.”