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Bond…School Bond

09 Dec
KingstonBarn Photo

KingstonBarn Photo

The Kingston School Bond Vote is tomorrow.  Simply put, the school district is asking for us to borrow $137 million to fix the tremendous problems of the hundred-year-old Kingston High School physical plant.  If the bond passes, construction is scheduled to begin in 2015, or about the same time as the SUNY Ulster’s Sophie Finn campus is completed right across from the high school.

The Kingston City School District has published some information on their site.

From brick falling out of walls, to antiquated steam heat, to buildings that have to come down, the work has been neglected for far too long.  One friend, a 1950′s graduate of KHS, says some of the existing troubles have been around since she was a student.

How we got to this place has been discussed at length.  Neglect, bad decisions, short budgets, and age have all been a part of the picture.  I won’t go over old ground.  Our decision now is to pass the bond or not.  The question hinges on what we want for the centerpiece of our public schools, and literally, our city.

At $137 million over the life of the bond, this is no small question.  Even with the state kicking in 60% of the tab, the Kingston City School District figures that the annual cost to each homeowner will be about $0.72 per thousand of assessed value, or nearly $100 in our case.  Can we find another eight or nine dollars a month to pay for this?  Probably, but the city and county tax will ask for more, and our insurance bill doesn’t go down.  It’s a lot to ask.

One argument circulating against the project is that our school population may not meet the Superintendent’s ten-year projections.  This does not hold water.  Whether we choose to educate 1600 or 2400 students in dangerous, dilapidated buildings is immaterial.

I have heard people ask why, if they don’t send their kids to Kingston schools, should they care?  They pay taxes, but they get nothing for it, the thinking goes.

What we get is a high school.  What we get is an anchor for the schools, for Midtown, and for Kingston.  What we do now is a decision on whether the anchor gives us a mooring spot or drags us down.

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KingstonBarn Photo

People are looking at all of Kingston when they make the decision whether to move here.  The owners and officers of businesses considering a new home need to know what we have for their families.  One thing I know for sure is that people won’t want to move here, and businesses will not want to locate their families here if there is no decent school to send their kids.

If we don’t pass this now, Superintendent Paul Padalino says, “it’s back to the drawing board.”  There is no cheaper Plan B waiting to take its place.  Construction costs are not going to go down over the next five years.  Compliance with codes, heating, asbestos remediation, and the Americans with Disabilities Act are not optional.  Emergencies are always more expensive than good plans.

I have just one vote, but I am going to cast it for the plan.

-Andrew Champ-Doran

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7 Comments

Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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7 responses to “Bond…School Bond

  1. gerald berke

    December 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    We quote the wrong figure all the time: the BOND is 137 million but those are NOT the costs to Kingston… we pay something like 60% of that and the state puts up 40% and not for nothing… there are a lot of expenses incurred because the state wants it done in a certain way, taking the long view, and the state therefore helps our community implement a long view…
    The actual bill in closer to $70 million with about 60 million coming from the state!
    Please note too that the Mayor Shane Gallo strongly supports the bond!
    https://www.facebook.com/shayne.gallo/posts/553346721414703

     
    • KingstonBarn

      December 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Mr. Berke,
      Thank you for responding.
      You are correct. According to Kathryn Heidecker, Communications Specialist with the Kingston City School District, the State Education Department’s share should be 60%, or approximately $82.5 million, leaving us on for the other $53 million. Those are the figures the KCSD used to calculate the increase to our tax bite.
      However, the State Education Department cannot award ANY funding until we bond for the full amount. If we voted for a $53 million bond, we would only be eligible for up to $31.8 million in SED funds.
      I believe you are right about the long view, too. This is key to the overall economic development of Kingston.
      -Andrew Champ-Doran

       
      • gerald berke

        December 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm

        Well, those fine points have to get lost on just about everyone… nobody, and I mean nobody, ever carries the real costs of 82.5 someplace in parenthesis, so at least 82 is a number in there… everybody knows 137, nobody knows 82. No politician running for office would ever let that kind of misunderstanding cost him his office.
        The Mayor got a whole lot of people to go to the concert at City Hall, lots of people showed up for the snowflake parade… lets see how he does in leading his city to support the 137 (82.5) million dollar bond.
        Hoping it is carried.

         
  2. gerald berke

    December 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    here, too http://tinyurl.com/nnx8r4v
    Gallo supports the bond! Calls on his citizens to support the bond…

     
  3. Mark Champ

    December 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

    i vote yes

    ________________________________

     
    • KingstonBarn

      December 10, 2013 at 9:14 am

      In the interest of full disclosure, it’s only fair to inform the reader that Mark Champ is one of my brothers. He lives in Texas, but if we can get his vote, we can probably get his twin, Mike, who lives in Virginia.
      -Andrew Champ-Doran

       
  4. ohiochamper

    June 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I vote yes 7 months later
    -Mike Champ

     

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