SCHENECTADY N.Y. – The Schenectady City School District is seeking approval for a $70 million plan to adjust its school structure, known as the Capital Project.
The project includes various upgrades and renovations to buildings in the district to make three middle schools for students in 2016.
"We have seven buildings that are over 100 years old. There is some very needed work done to the infrastructure," said Schenectady Superintendent Larry Spring.
It's a long-term plan that Spring says will help the Schenectady School District maintain building conditions, create more opportunities and establish stability.
"This project will help us take the sixth grades out of the elementary schools, so this would alleviate the overcrowding at the elementary level," he said.
Phase 1 of this plan includes work to Oneida, Mount Pleasant, Central Park schools so that all three will open as sixth through eighth grade middle schools by September 2016. Mont Pleasant is currently the only middle school in the district right now.
Tax payers must vote to approve the plan before the Capital Project moves forward.
"This is one of the very few times residents get to vote directly impact them and their kids. This is not through representatives, so I would encourage everyone to come out and vote," explained Spring.
The project will be funded through state building aid, state money reserved to improve and renovate education spaces, which will cover 95-percent of the project.
The district would use about $3.5 million in grant money the school received. This means the project will have very little, if any, tax impact on residents.
"This is also a $70 million project that has no impact on local property taxes. This is an opportunity for residents of Schenectady to get their fair share from the state which doesn't often happen," said Spring.
School officials want to stress that despite the district facing a $10 million budget gap due to a lack of state aid funding, the funding set aside for building aid is fairly distributed to schools. Spring wants voters to know that this referendum on Tuesday has nothing to due to with the budget gap. They say the funds can only be used to improve and construct educational spaces.
Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday.