Capital Project Budget Passes After Second Vote

The New Paltz Central School District’s $52.9 million capital project was passed Tuesday with 56 percent of votes, 1,913 in favor and 1,518 votes opposed. The districts four schools, Duzine Elementary School, Lenape Elementary School, New Paltz Middle School and New Paltz High School will undergo several repairs and upgrades under this budget.

“Obviously we are very happy about it; it will take care of the much-needed repairs and upgrades to our buildings,” New Paltz Board of Education President Brian Cournoyer said. “It’s something we’ve been struggling with for years now, so this is good news for our students, our district and the community.”

Cournoyer said that some of these renovations will take place over the summer. The timeline of these renovations was pushed back due to the initial failure of the budget proposal in October 2014 with 1,380 in opposition and 1,230 in favor.

“We have a few theories as to why it didn’t pass initially but we will never know for sure we think that a lot of people just stayed home the last referendum,” Cournoyer said. “So therefore the turn out was higher this time.”

According to Cournoyer, there was some trepidation on the part of the voters, that they were concerned about some of the aspects of the project that they didn’t understand because the board did not fully communicate the information. Cournoyer said that the board did a push to try and get the right information out there about the budget so that people would understand what was trying to be done. There were a lot of meetings, public forums, news letters released, in addition to some tours of the middle school, the building most in need of repair.

“This four building capital project takes care of the infrastructure needs in all four buildings. This includes heating and cooling system, and addresses capacity needs for undersized  classrooms,” Board of Education Vice President Ruth Quinn said.

According to the New Paltz Times, the 2015 renovation plan calls for work to be done at all the school buildings, with funds being divided as $2.5 million for Duzine Elementary School, $1.6 million for Lenape Elementary School, $25.4 million for the middle school and $13.4 million for the high school

“The first tour we did was special because the students, seventh and eighth graders, lead the tour in the middle school and talked about their concerns,” Cournoyer said. “Their concerns were in regards to cramped classroom and out of date, old equipment.”

According to The Poughkeepsie Journal, the plan will increase property taxes about $20 annually per $100,000 of assessed value during the life of the approximately two-decade bond.

“I am personally thrilled with the passage of the bond vote,” PTA President Alison Easton said.  “As someone who has actively followed the work of the BOE the last few years in developing a long term strategy in regards to facilities, I strongly applaud all of their hard work in developing a plan that addresses the district. This is a win for the district, the students and the taxpayers.”