Capital Project Vote Tues., Dec. 9

Despite past projects and regular care and maintenance, the Greater Johnstown School District’s facilities have aged and require repairs and renovation. Johnstown’s Board of Education is proposing a $39.6 million capital project that addresses structural and mechanical issues and enhances educational opportunities in all Greater Johnstown School District buildings.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see a photo slideshow featuring some of the areas to be addressed. 

How will the project be paid for?

New York State building aid will cover 94.8 percent (approximately $37.5 million) of the cost, providing our community with a return on some of the taxes it pays to the state. Building aid provides schools an opportunity to maintain, improve and expand facilities. If Johnstown does not take advantage of this money for a capital project, it cannot be used for other purposes, such as paying staff; it would instead be passed along to other communities.

The remaining local share of 5.2 percent equates to approximately $2 million. However, the Board of Education will offset one-half of that amount through the use of existing school district reserves over 15 years, reducing the tax impact.

How will the project affect my taxes?

The average annual tax increase for a Johnstown taxpayer, commencing in 2016, is estimated to be as follows:

Home’s Assessed Value    No STAR    Basic STAR    Enhanced (Senior) STAR
$52,900* $30.23 $17.72 $3.45
$62,328** $35.62 $23.10 $8.84
$100,000 $41.72 $29.20 $14.94

*Median Assessed Value for Johnstown; **Average Assessed Value for Johnstown

Did the Board of Education consider a smaller project, with a smaller price tag?

Board of Education members live in the school district and realize the financial constraints our residents face. They also realize that education is a community responsibility – investing in our schools benefits all of us. Having safe, modern facilities not only impacts the educational experience of the students who attend every day, it fosters a sense of community pride. A community with a highly regarded school system is a community primed for growth.

The Board also considered whether deleting any of the items from the proposed project might be penny-wise and pound-foolish. The facility issues would still remain and, in all likelihood, still have to be addressed at some point. While Johnstown is eligible for 94.8% state building aid for this project, there is no guarantee of such a high aid ratio in the future.

Is a “super-majority” of votes needed?

Yes. Because the cost of this project exceeds the district’s current debt limit, 60% of the votes cast must approve the project. The debt limit is determined by state law as five percent of the average full value of last five years’ tax rolls.

When and where do we vote?

Qualified residents will vote on the proposed capital project on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. Polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. In order to vote, you must be at least 18 years old, a US Citizen, a resident of the Greater Johnstown School District for the past 30 days and a registered voter.

Residents of the City & Town of Johnstown vote at the Johnstown High School auditorium lobby.

Residents of the Towns of Ephratah & Palatine vote at the Ephratah Firehouse.

Do I need to register to vote?

Individuals registered with the county for general elections are registered for Johnstown school elections. Others may register at the District Office between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on November 25, 2014. In order to register, you must be at least 18 years old,  a US Citizen, and a resident of the Greater Johnstown School District for the past 30 days. Proof of residency is required.

Are absentee ballots available?

Absentee ballots are available for voters who are unable to vote in person due to illness or physical disability; travel related to school or business; vacation, college, or military service outside of Fulton County. Contact the District Clerk at (518) 762-4611, ext. 119 for more information.

How was the capital project scope chosen?

Most of the project scope was identified from the state-mandated 2010 Building Condition Survey that identified high-priority work related to aging school infrastructure. Additionally, a facilities committee composed of board members, administrators and buildings & grounds staff conducted several on-site inspections, assisted by architects, to identify areas of concern. Administrators also met with staff members to discuss their needs. All of the information collected was compiled into a report that was carefully reviewed at a series of meetings that were open to the public.

What is the scope of the proposed capital project?

The capital project will address health and safety issues; correct systems that are not in working order or are approaching the end of their useful life; improve access for individuals with disabilities; and improve delivery of the educational program. The following items are included:

Safety, maintenance and technology planned for all District buildings:

  • Reconfigure main entryways and vestibules to improve safety and security
  • Reconfigure student pick-up/drop-off areas and bus loops to address safety concerns associated with bus, pedestrian and vehicle traffic patterns
  • Resurface and/or reconfigure parking lots and provide additional parking spaces
  • Repair or replace damaged mortar and/or bricks to prevent water from seeping into buildings and causing damage
  • Resurface Knox roof; replace all other building roofs and repair roof drains
  • Re-key all door locks to improve safety
  • Upgrade technology and increase bandwidth for improved connectivity

Johnstown High School, constructed circa 1964:

  • Asbestos abatement in basement in order to make plumbing fixtures accessible
  • Repair the deteriorating infrastructure of the 40 year old pool and renovate the locker rooms and gymnasium; reconfigure area to provide ADA compliant spectator seating and a more functional space for physical education, athletic & extra-curricular competitions, and storage of sports equipment
  • Renovate and expand original 50 year old high school office space, including nurse’s office and guidance office, in order to provide accessibility for students with special needs, and address privacy and confidentiality concerns
  • Renovate science wing, media center, art room and technology room to more adequately accommodate students and programs
  • Install emergency power system, permitting designation of building as a Red Cross shelter for the community in times of need

Knox Junior High School, constructed circa 1933:

  • Renovate and update lavatories originally constructed in the 1930s
  • Renovation of deteriorated locker rooms
  • Renovate music, art, science and home economics rooms to more adequately accommodate students and programs; renovate the shop/technology classroom and create a clean space for computers
  • Replacement of inoperable and inefficient windows
  • Upgrade outdated electrical service that is past its useful life
  • Construct concession stand with ADA compliant restrooms
  • New field sound system
  • Replace tennis courts to improve drainage and add lighting

Pleasant Avenue Elementary, constructed circa 1955:

  • Replace windows due to issues with leaking
  • Construct classroom bathrooms for pre-k and grade 1
  • Replace playground equipment to make it age appropriate

Warren Street Elementary, constructed circa 1974:

  • Renovate two existing classrooms to provide a STEM based learning lab in order to accommodate current educational practices
  • Renovate chorus and band rooms and install appropriate acoustical soundproofing
  • Renovate and expand library space within existing building footprint
  • Renovate lavatories original to the building
  • Replace playground equipment to make it age appropriate
  • Provide necessary air conditioning for Network Operations Center hub room

Glebe Street Elementary, constructed circa 1966:

  • Remove raised stage area and construct a small addition to create cafeteria space separate from the existing gymnasium, providing a dedicated area for students to eat breakfast and lunch, as well as space for indoor recess during inclement weather, and permitting the gym to be used for physical education instruction without interruption
  • Renovate art and music rooms to more adequately accommodate students and programs
  • Replace aging and inefficient atmospheric boiler that is original to the building and nearly 50 years old

Jansen Avenue School, constructed circa 1966:

  • Replace telephone and public address systems that were removed and reused in other buildings during the time Jansen was closed
  • Replace aging and inefficient atmospheric boiler that is original to the building and nearly 50 years old
  • Drainage improvements at north end of school and at softball field to alleviate water hazards
  • Improve playground area for community use

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