Dear Community Members,
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, the Fort Plain community will vote on a $18,655,000 Capital Improvement Project. The project aims to address needed repairs in Harry Hoag Elementary School and the Jr./Sr. High School. It will also enhance some of our well-used gathering spaces, such as the outdoor playground and areas within the athletic complex.
Every member of our school community has the potential to benefit from the work outlined in this proposed project.
I welcome you to join me for coffee and conversation about the Capital Improvement Project on Nov. 29 or Dec. 6, 2023 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in the District Office Conference Room, 25 High Street, Fort Plain, NY. Community members, parents and other stakeholders are all welcome.
The student experience matters and this proposed project would address high priority maintenance issues derived from the most recent Building Conditions Survey. The executive planning team, which consisted of architects, financial advisors, school administrators and department supervisors, designed a project that is both respectful of our taxpayers and supportive of the vision for our schools and in the best interest of students.
Funding for this project will be paid for using the district’s reserve fund and bond borrowing that is reimbursable through New York State Education Department (NYSED) Building Aid.
On May 17, 2022, voters authorized the district to increase the balance in our Capital Reserve Fund. That action allows us to build the reserve fund up to $10,000,000. The authorization for this fund expires June 30, 2029. Currently, we have a balance of $7,015,000 in the Capital Reserve Fund. If approved, $2,780,000 from our reserves would help fund this project.
Bond borrowing in the amount of $15,875,000 would provide the additional funds.
The district formulated a payment plan for this proposal, in consultation with Bernard P. Donegan Financial Advisors, that maximizes our ability to use New York State Education Department (NYSED) Building Aid. The district is currently eligible to receive reimbursement through state Building Aid at a rate of 92.4%. If approved, this means the district would receive back approximately 92 cents on every dollar spent on this project. Please note: Building Aid ratios are not constant; these formulas are regularly adjusted by the state government.
It is a Board of Education goal to ensure the responsible use of both our fiscal and human resources. By taking advantage of our high Building Aid ratio, coupled with the utilization of a portion of the Capital Reserve Fund, the proposed project will not have any impact on the local tax levy.
Wishing everyone wellness always,
Mrs. Lauren Crisman
Superintendent of Schools
The Fort Plain Board of Education will hold a public hearing regarding the district’s proposed Capital Improvement Project and its regular meeting on Nov. 15, 2023 beginning at 6 p.m. The hearing and meeting will take place in the Ronald H. Thibodeau Conference Room in the District Office, 25 High Street, Fort Plain, N.Y.
The public hearing on the Capital Improvement Project, which begins at 6 p.m. prior to the board meeting, will offer all interested parties the opportunity to learn more about the proposed scope of work and other details.
NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that pursuant to a resolution adopted by the Board of Education of the Fort Plain Central School District (the “School District”) on October 18, 2023, that a special meeting of the qualified voters of the School District be and the same is hereby called to be held in the gymnasium of the Harry Hoag Elementary School, 25 High Street, Fort Plain, New York 13339, on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. prevailing time for the purpose of voting on the following proposition:
Shall the Board of Education be authorized to: (1) reconstruct and improve various school buildings, facilities and sites, acquire original furnishings, equipment, machinery or apparatus required for the purpose for which such buildings, facilities and sites are to be used and pay incidental costs related thereto, at a maximum aggregate cost of $18,655,000; (2) expend such sum of for such purpose, including the expenditure of $2,780,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund; (3) levy the necessary tax therefore, to be levied and collected in annual installments in such years and in such amounts as may be determined by the Board of Education, taking into account State aid received and the amount to be expended from the Capital Reserve Fund; and (4) in anticipation of the collection of such tax, issue bonds and notes of the School District at one time or from time to time in the principal amount not to exceed $15,875,000, and levy a tax to pay the interest on said obligations when due?
The vote upon such proposition shall be by machine or absentee ballot. The hours during which the polls shall be kept open shall be from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. prevailing time or for as long thereafter as necessary to enable qualified voters who are in the polling place at 7:00 p.m. to cast their ballots.
Any person shall be entitled to vote who is: (a) a citizen of the United States, (b) eighteen years of age and (c) a resident within the District for a period of thirty days next preceding the December 13, 2023 vote. The School District may require all persons offering to vote at the budget vote and election to provide one form of proof of residency pursuant to Education Law Section 2018-c. Such form may include a driver’s license, a non-driver identification card, a utility bill, a voter registration card or any identification containing a person’s physical address. Upon offer of proof of residency, the School District may also require all persons offering to vote to provide their signature, printed name and address.
Absentee ballots may be applied for at the office of the School District Clerk. Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the District Clerk at least seven days prior to the vote if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or on or prior to December 12, 2023, if the ballot is to be delivered personally to the voter. All absentee ballots must be received by the District Clerk not later than 5:00 p.m. on December 13, 2023.
The Education Law makes special provision for absentee voting by “permanently disabled” voters of the District and any questions regarding these rights should be directed to the Clerk of the Board. The Education Law makes special provisions for absentee voting by “permanently disabled” voters of the District and any questions regarding these rights should be directed to the District Clerk. All completed absentee ballots shall be received by the Office of the District Clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 13, 2023.
The Education Law also makes special provisions for absentee voting for “military” voters of the District. Specifically, the law provides a unique procedure for “military ballots” in school district votes. Whereas absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots must be received by the voter by mail, a military voter may elect to receive their absentee ballot application and absentee ballot by mail, email or facsimile. The military voter must, however, return their original military ballot application and military ballot by mail or in person. The Clerk of the Board shall transmit the military voter’s military ballot in accord with the military voter’s preferred method of transmission not later than twenty-five (25) days before the vote. The Clerk of the Board must then receive the military voter’s military ballot by mail or in person not later than 5:00 p.m. on the day of the vote.
A list of all persons to whom absentee ballots shall have been issued will be available in the office of the District Clerk from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. prevailing time on each weekday until the day of the vote. Any qualified voter may challenge the acceptance of the ballot of any person on such list, by making his challenge and reasons therefor known to the District Clerk. Rebecca J. Smith, District Clerk, Fort Plain Central School District
Publish on the Fort Plain CSD Website beginning October 27, 2023
Publish in Amsterdam Recorder – October 27, 2023; November 6, 2023; November 22, 2023; and December 6, 2023
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, the Fort Plain community will vote on a $18,655,000 capital improvement project. If approved, the project will fund needed repairs and improvements inside and out of both Harry Hoag Elementary School and the Jr./Sr. High School. It will also enhance some of our well-used gathering spaces such as the outdoor playground and athletic facilities.
Every learner and community member or organization that uses our facilities will benefit from these improvements.
This project would be funded in part by the district’s capital reserves and with reimbursable bond borrowing at no additional impact on local taxpayers.
The vote will be held at Harry Hoag Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Our teachers and school district leaders believe in the promise of education. We feel strongly about creating a learning environment that guarantees each student the opportunity to get what they need from us in order to pursue a life filled with success and enduring happiness,” said Fort Plain District Superintendent Lauren Crisman.
“In creating this project, we have been both fiscally responsible and purposeful about what needs to be done to build a more safe and enriching learning environment that will support students now and help prepare them for their futures.”
Zero tax impact with the use of reserves and bonding
Funding for the cost of this project will be paid for using the district’s reserve fund and bond borrowing (reimbursable through New York State Education Department/NYSED building aid) at no additional impact on local taxpayers.
Breakdown of funding for this project:
- Proposed Capital Project Cost: $18,655,000
- Total from Capital Reserve Fund: $2,780,000
- Bond Borrowing: $15,875,000
Cost to taxpayers: No additional cost to taxpayers. Projections assume a zero tax levy impact.
Proposed project scope
This project contains both needed repairs to enhance the safety and usability of our facilities for all and improvements that will, most directly, impact the learning experience for students and the staff who support them. All items included in the project proposal are based on the recommendations of the district’s Building Condition Survey and additional stakeholder surveys.
The New York State Education Department requires schools to complete a Building Condition Survey every five years in collaboration with a licensed architect. The most recent survey identified a number of immediate repairs to improve the general conditions of our campus.
These and other enhancements, include, but are not limited to:
- Renovations to the circa 1970 Grade 1-3 wing of Harry Hoag Elementary School.
- Renovation/repurposing of the atrium and auditorium spaces at the Jr./Sr. High School.
- Paving of access road to athletic fields and track/regrade ball field.
- Resurfacing of the playground spaces at Harry Hoag Elementary School.
- Repairs to the Jr./Sr. High School fitness room roof/ skylight, public address/alarm systems and heating-ventilation-air conditioning (HVAC) system.
- Replacement of the Jr./Sr. High School kitchen walk-in cooler.
- Repair the West Street stairs leading to the Jr./Sr. High School.
- Upgrade the master clock systems for both Harry Hoag Elementary School and the Jr./Sr. High School.
- Repairs and upgrades to wash bays and carbon monoxide system at the Bus Garage to improve safety and efficiency.
If approved, the design portion of this project work would begin in late winter/early spring 2024 with a goal of having bids for the work approved by late 2024. Planned renovations and construction would begin in 2025.
The vote on this Capital Project, including the use of funds from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund to help pay for this project, will be held at Harry Hoag Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the gymnasium.
To vote, you must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the Fort Plain Central School District for at least 30 days prior to the vote and not otherwise ineligible.
Absentee ballots are available for the Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023 Capital Project vote.
Absentee ballots will be issued upon request to residents who will be out of town or unable to vote at the polls due to illness or disability.
Request an absentee ballot by contacting District Clerk Becky Smith at 518-993-4000 ext. 1000.
Absentee ballots that are returned by mail must be received by the district clerk at least seven days before the vote – by Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 5 p.m.
Absentee ballots may be picked up and submitted in-person at our District Office until the day before the vote – Tuesday, Dec. 12 by 5 p.m.
View the presentation by Superintendent of Schools Lauren Crisman from the Nov. 15, 2023 public hearing on the Capital Improvement Project. If you are unable to access this document or the information it contains, please contact our District Communications Office.