Greater Johnstown School District school board approves two voter propositions

PHOTOGRAPHER:

From left, Councilman-at-large Wayne Peters as Mayor Vince DeSantis discusses pending legislation during Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting.

On May 17, voters in the Greater Johnstown School District will be asked to vote up or down a Knox Facilities Improvements capital project that would include replacing the district’s turf field and resurfacing its track at a cost not to exceed $2 million and a proposition to approve the purchase of three 66-passenger buses for $381,000 and a van costing no more than $70,000.

Prior to the school board vote Thursday night approving the two voter propositions, GJSD school board member David D’Amore described some of the details regarding the Knox Facilities Improvement project. D’Amore said “the full depth replacement” of the Knox Field track’s “sub base” was not recommended by the district’s architectural firm Tetra Tech, which should save some money on the project.

“That’s good news for us, and it will be funded by existing capital reserves, so there will be no impact on the tax levy calculation,” D’Amore said. “The project will not exceed $2 million, currently [Tetra Tech’s] estimate stands at $1.2 million, based on the [defined scope of work].”

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Thursday night, the school board took votes approved the language that will be printed onto the May 17 ballot for the two spending propositions, and a resolution required by state law “specifying the necessity” for the reconstruction, renovation and improvements to the Knox building and various facilities and sites, the construction and reconstruction of athletic fields, tracks and related facilities, as well as the equipment and furnishings needed for the project.

The board, in its capacity as the lead agency for the capital project for New York state’s Environmental Quality Review Act process, also passed a resolution indicating there is no adverse environmental impact from the project because none of the improvements “involve the construction or additions of new space.”

The two voter propositions were originally included together under board resolution No. 4 until school board member Arthur Schrum objected to them being grouped together, because he wanted to vote in favor of the Knox improvement project but against the vehicle purchase, which he questioned the necessity of. The consensus of the board agreed to split the board approval for the two voter propositions into two separate votes, although no formal motion was made or approved to do so.

The school board voted 7-0 in favor of the Knox improvement project and 6-1 in favor of the vehicle purchases, with Schrum being the lone no vote. Board member Joyel Richardson was absent from the meeting.

The two voter propositions authorize the district to use up to $2 million of the district’s Construction Capital Reserve Fund for the Knox Facilities Improvements project and up to $344,721 of the 2015 Capital Bus Purchase Reserve Fund to purchase the four vehicles.

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By Jason Subik

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