shortcut to content

Liberty Central School District masthead logo

Visit our schoolsto Liberty Elementary home pageto Liberty Middle School home pageto Liberty High School home pageright edge border
shadow box top edge

Frequently Asked Questions: Phase II Capital Project 

tabs box bottom border
  1. 1. Why is the school board proposing a capital project at this time?
  2. 2. How did the Board of Education identify the work included in the capital project?
  3. 3. What is the scope of work included in the capital project?
  4. 4. How would the phase II capital project benefit our community?
  5. 5. How much state building aid does the district receive for capital projects?
  6. 6. How would the district pay for the phase II capital project?
  7. 7. How would the phase II capital project affect my taxes?
  8. 8. How recently did voters approve other capital project work?
  9. 9. Almost 79 percent of the cost may be covered by the state, but doesn’t that money still come from my pocket?
  10. 10. What level of voter approval is required to pass the capital project proposition?
  11. 11. When would the capital project be completed?
  12. 12. Why do this much work in one large capital project rather than in small projects spread out over several years and paid for just with regular school budget funds?
  13. 13. What happens if the work bids come to more than what was estimated for the capital project?
  14. 14. What happens if the capital project is not approved?
  15. 15. What will the ballot say at the vote on the phase II capital project proposition?
  16. 16. How can I learn more about the capital project?

 

1. Why is the school board proposing a capital project at this time?

The Liberty Board of Education is proposing a $13.6 million capital project at a time when it can maximize state building aid to renovate and improve school facilities at Liberty High School. If approved by voters, this “phase II” capital project will address issues that have had a negative impact on the high school exterior and structure, fine arts instruction and performances, educational technology, and school sports. It is a continuation of the preservation and enhancement efforts begun with the “phase I” capital project approved by voters in 2008.

2. How did the Board of Education identify the work included in the capital project?

The scope of work in the phase II capital project was identified through state-mandated building condition surveys; architectural and engineering reviews; building tours by district, school and community leaders; administrative presentations at public meetings; and discussions during board meetings. The Board of Education narrowed down a district-wide priority list to high priority items at the high school only so the project would maximize state building aid and be at a cost local taxpayers could support.

3. What is the scope of work included in the capital project?

The phase II capital project will improve safety, educational opportunities, energy efficiency and the comfort of students, employees and visitors through work in the areas below. Preliminary estimates of the costs associated with the work in each area are provided.

  • School Structure ~ $8.9 million
    • Exterior (circa 1964) ~ $7.3 million
      • Replace/repair crumbling brick work, exterior walls and facade.
      • Replace the building envelope (e.g., poorly insulated windows, curtain wall of 200 wing).
      • Renovate classrooms impacted by any exterior wall replacement.
    • Interior ~ $1.6 million
      • Auditorium – Replace auditorium ventilation, lighting, rigging and house lighting systems, many of which date back to the 1960s. In a recent inspection, the systems were found to be dangerously antiquated and/or past their useful life.
      • Gym – Replace the gym bleachers, which do not meet current accessibility standards and have malfunctioning parts that are worn beyond repair. Those bleachers are used by all students – for a variety of special events and classes throughout the year – and also by parents, other community members and visitors at sporting events. The air handler unit, which conditions and circulates air, is beyond its useful life and would be replaced as well.
      • Interior Doors – Replace doors in hallway corridors.
  •  Educational Program ~ $3.6 million
    • Technology Education Classrooms – Create a clean space adjacent to the shop for computer aided design, robotics and engineering classes. This would allow the limited staff to more effectively deliver a variety of in-demand programs because technology classes are currently split between two wings of the school.
    • Art and Music Classrooms – Expand the space available for art classes, art storage and graphic design technology in a way that makes optimal use of limited staff, while still allowing for classes in a variety of art disciplines. The most space-efficient and cost-effective way to do so is by shifting choral classes into the current band room space, creating a nearby addition on the high school for band, and allowing the art department to expand into space formerly used by choral and general music classes. This allows performance groups to remain close to the auditorium and avoids the underutilization of space, staffing problems and/or program reductions that might result from moving art classes elsewhere in the building.
    • Guidance/Counseling – Relocate the Guidance Office to a larger, renovated space nearby. The current location is too small to provide adequate privacy for confidential discussions, to isolate a student dealing with a personal crisis or to give students access to computer-based guidance programs.
    • Cafeteria – Reconfigure the cafeteria to improve sight lines for enhanced supervision of the dining area, bathrooms, main entrance and foyer/office; increase the food service options for students by providing space to store wheeled food-service tables (e.g., for salad bars); and increase its usability as a community space.
  • Other Infrastructure ~ $669,000
    • Technology – Upgrade technology infrastructure (e.g., update wiring, replace outdated hardware/software, enhance hands-on technology available for classroom use).
    • Drainage – Site work to repair drainage problems that result in water hazards.

 

4. How would the phase II capital project benefit our community?

The phase II capital project would provide students, employees, parents, visiting sports fans, concert-goers and other community members with the following benefits:

  • Improved and more flexible learning spaces that provide greater opportunities for collaboration and communication, two critical facets of 21st-century learning
  • Expanded opportunities in technology, art and music curriculum
  •  Classroom and performance spaces that are more suited to meeting contemporary learning standards that lead to success in colleges and 21st-century careers
  •  A reduction in energy costs through energy-efficient work such as replacing older windows in the high school curtain wall with newer windows that provide better insulation.
  •  A safe, comfortable, flexible and energy-efficient school building that serves as a learning environment for students, a working environment for employees and an entertainment complex for parents and other community members

 

5. How much state building aid does the district receive for capital projects?

The district is eligible to receive state building aid to cover 78.5 percent of the principal and interest costs over the 16-year life of the bond for the capital project.

6. How would the district pay for the phase II capital project?

If approved, the phase II capital project will amount to a $13.6 million investment in Liberty High School. State building aid would cover 78.5 percent of the principal and interest costs over the 16-year life of the bond for the capital project. Another large portion of the cost would be covered with $2 million in existing capital reserve funds. Local taxes would cover the remainder, with an anticipated average increase of 36 cents over current tax rates (i.e., amount of tax per $1,000 of assessed property value) in the 2017-18 school year. That is an increase of less than 1 percent.

7. How would the phase II capital project affect my taxes?

Any change in individual school tax bills is always based on the financial impact of the voter-approved annual school budget – in which capital project debt is included – and on outside factors such as changes in property assessments or town equalization rates.

Below are estimates of how the phase II capital project would increase school tax bills, beginning in fall 2017, for an average property assessed at $100,000:

  • Enhanced STAR recipients = $13
  • Basic STAR recipients = $25
  •  No STAR = $36

 

8. How recently did voters approve other capital project work?

Voters approved the phase I capital project seven years ago, in November 2007. Work on that phase was completed in fall 2010. Click here to learn more about the phase I capital project.

9. Almost 79 percent of the cost may be covered by New York state, but doesn’t that money still come from my pocket?

Most state revenue comes from the sales and income taxes paid by residents and businesses across New York. District residents will pay these taxes whether or not the capital project is approved, but they can return some of those taxes to the local community by taking advantage of state building aid.

10. What level of voter approval is required to pass the capital project proposition?

A simple majority of voters, or 50 percent plus one, is necessary to pass the capital project proposition.

11. When would the capital project be completed?

If the capital project proposition is approved by voters on Oct. 21, 2014, the work will likely be finished in three years. With voter approval, the capital project can then enter a final design phase that is expected to be complete by July 2015. The New York State Education Department must then review and approve the capital project, a process that could last through February 2016. If the state approves the district’s plan in that timeframe, work should begin in May 2016 and end by September 2017. Click here to view a timeline for the implementation of the phase II capital project.

12. Why do this much work in one large capital project rather than in small projects spread out over several years and paid for just with regular school budget funds?

Capital projects allow the district to maximize its state building aid, and with the aid of bonds, to get a larger amount of work done sooner than otherwise possible with school budget funds alone. This means the district can more quickly address safety issues, infrastructure failures and program/operational inefficiencies before they disrupt the educational process or lead to more costly damage and repairs.

13. What happens if the work bids come to more than what was estimated for the capital project?

As with any voter-approved capital project or school budget, the district can only spend up to the amount authorized by voters. If capital project bids come in higher than estimated, the district must scale back the scope of work to stay within the voter-authorized amount.

14. What happens if the capital project is not approved?

If the capital project is not approved, the facilities issues will remain and several will still have the potential to disrupt the educational process. In all likelihood, the district would eventually have to address these issues as more costly emergency situations and/or to propose another capital project at a later date. A defeated capital project would also mean Liberty students would miss out on the learning opportunities that are possible through enhancements to the auditorium, technology classrooms, art and music classrooms, Guidance Office, and cafeteria.

15. What will the ballot say at the vote on the phase II capital project proposition?

On the October ballot, the phase II capital project proposition will read as follows:

"Shall the following resolution be adopted, to‑wit:

RESOLVED, that the Liberty Central School District, New York is hereby authorized to reconstruct and construct an addition to the High School, including incidental improvements and expenses in connection therewith, at a maximum estimated cost not to exceed $13,644,050, utilizing $2,000,000 Building Capital Reserve Fund monies of the School District and the remaining $11,644,050, or so much thereof as may be necessary, shall be raised by the levy of a tax upon the taxable property of said School District and collected in annual installments as provided by Section 416 of the Education Law; and in anticipation of such tax, obligations of said School District shall be issued."

16. How can I learn more about the capital project?

To learn more, click here or attend a public presentation. A schedule of public presentations will be posted on the capital project webpage when it becomes available.

 

 

tabs box bottom border
blank space graphic
shadow box bottom edge