WV school district voters approve $13.8 million capital project

Warwick. Money to be spent on repairs, athletics, energy efficiencies.

| 07 Dec 2021 | 09:49

    Voters in the Warwick Valley Central School District approved the administration’s $13.8 million capital project proposition in a vote held on Dec. 2.

    The final count: 897 in favor to 295 against – a better than 75 percent approval.

    The voter-approved funds will be used to make repairs in the high school, middle school, Sanfordville and Park Avenue Elementary schools.

    What will be done

    Per the district’s statement on its website, some of the projects will include: a new roof at Sanfordville; new windows at Park; and new unit ventilators at the Middle School and High School.

    The district is also planning an expanded multi-sport natural grass athletic field at the stadium; a new track; and block wall outdoor restrooms, among other projects that are planned.

    No impact to taxpayer

    The statement continues: “The Capital Project was designed to create a healthier, safer learning environment for students, faculty, and staff; and to deliver valuable energy and operational savings in the future.

    “The WVCSD 2021 Capital Project will be implemented with no additional tax impact to District residents. The District plans capital project spending using existing capital reserves and maximizing state building aid.”

    How this will all be paid for

    New State Building Aid will cover $8.8 million of the total amount of the capital project; the remaining $5 million will come “from funds set aside in the district’s voter approved capital reserve,” per an email exchange with Dr. David Leach, Warwick Valley Schools Superintendent.


    Leach said turnout was strong in comparison to other capital project votes.

    Turnout was stronger, Leach noted, in 2019, when voters defeated a proposition to put in artificial turf on district ball fields because, the superintendent said, the measure was “controversial.”

    For comparison, the four previous capital project votes averaged 491 total votes, per Leach’s email – except for the above-noted vote in 2019, which saw 2,143 total votes on the turf issue.

    This year, there were 1,192 total votes.

    Those 1,192 are out of a total possible 18,184 registered voters, or 6.56 percent.

    Second proposition also approved

    The voters gave the nod to another proposition on the ballot, that would create a $10 million capital reserve fund to save for future spending as needed, pending voter approval at that time. That fund is to replace the current one, which will be used to pay for the just-approved capital project.

    Final tally for Proposition 2 was 908 in the affirmative, 277 opposed – an approval rate of nearly 77 percent.

    School bus driver shortage
    The school district – like many of its counterparts around the country – is dealing with a shortage of bus drivers.
    While the district has “enough” drivers – 59 – currently, “this assumes no absent drivers or after-school trips. When the year started, we had more routes than drivers so all sub (substitute) drivers were driving. Due to the shortage, mechanics and others with CDLs (Commercial Drivers Licenses) drive more often than we would like them to do so, given their primary duties,” Dr. David Leach, Warwick Valley Schools Superintendent, said in an email exchange with the Warwick Advertiser. “We would like to employ about 70 drivers which would ensure no disruption in transportation services.”
    In the Memorandum of Understanding reached between the WV district and the school bus drivers’ union, the district is looking to “incentivize current ... drivers to report to work,” as well as attract additional qualified drivers, by offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus to drivers and $500 to bus monitors who complete their one-year work anniversary; $1,000 recruitment/referral bonuses; perfect attendance bonuses, among other others.
    If the driver shortage persists, the district warned at its meeting last Thursday that there is a possibility of returning to a three-tiered busing system. “
    We will assess our needs in a few months,” Leach said, “and would likely know during budget season.”