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CLIFTON PARK: $8.2M Shen project up for vote

Shenendehowa Board of Education president William Casey said during Tuesday's board of ed meeting that an $8.2 million referendum for a facility project won't cost taxpayers anything.

We are able to take advantage of over $8 million in projects with no tax levy, said Casey. "It gives us a chance to do something important."

Casey announced at the Jan. 9 meeting that residents will be asked to vote on the referendum on Tuesday, Jan. 16, and that there will be a question-and-answer session in the Gowana Middle School library at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11.

According to Casey, the referen-dum would allow the district to make several safety enhancements that would include installing security cameras at the high school, refurbishing the middle school auditorium, and replacing original boilers and leaky roof areas, among other things.

"This would allow us to replace original boilers that are over 50 years old," Casey added.

Although the referendum is worth $8,222,000.00, Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson, said that Shenendehowa will be reimbursed for $5.76 million in state building aid or 70 percent for each dollar spent. Additionally, he said, the district was appropriated more than $3 million in funds from the state Legislature through a new program called Expanding our Children's Education and Learning, or EXCEL. The EXCEL money provides additional funding for certain types of school construction.

In other school board news, Clifton Park resident Maryellen Egan expressed concern over the lawsuit that was recently filed against Shenendehowa Middle School Principal Jill Bush. In the lawsuit, a Gowana Middle School eighth-grader alleges that Bush censored his free speech during a student protest regarding abortion.

Egan said that the topic of abortion was inappropriate for middle school students.

"I'm outraged. If my child is going to learn about abortion, I want to be the one to talk about it," said Egan.

Robinson said that the board couldn't discuss the details of the case, and that the district would have to see what happens over the next several days.

"We're steadfast in our responsibility to provide quality education for all children and we'll see how this turns out over the next several days," Robinson said.""

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