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Scotia-Glenville school district building proposal moves ahead

Scotia-Glenville Board of Education President Margaret Smith made it clear at the Monday, Oct. 20, meeting that putting a $27.7 million building proposal before residents was not an easy decision in light of uncertain economic times. But, Smith said, the multifaceted project is an investment in the district's future and a long thought out process that she hopes voters understand.

We began looking at this building proposition a year ago, before the stock market crashed, Smith said. "I would never want our taxpayers to think we were being insensitive to what families are facing financially."

According to school officials, the building project that will most likely be voted on in mid-December will increase the tax rate by about 1.9 percent annually. The cost will be phased in over a two-year period, beginning in 2010.

The board voted in favor of the $27.7 million project in a 5-to-1 vote, with board member Ben Conlon voting against the proposal saying concerns about putting forth an all or nothing option left him uneasy.

"People have lost a third of their retirement. I think we should give choices," said Conlon.

According to Ben Maslona of Fiscal Advisors Inc., financial advisors for the district, the increase equals anywhere between $38 to $50 on a home assessed at $150,000. The exact amount depends on whether the homeowner qualifies for STAR or Enhanced STAR. On a Glenville homeowner's assessment of $160,000, the average in the school district, taxes would increase by a maximum of $59.20 per year or $4.93 per month based on the current tax rate.

"These numbers are based on the project being 92 percent 'aidable.' Those numbers will most likely increase, driving the taxpayer share down even more," said Maslona.

Maslona said the 92 percent estimate is modest, but the district feels more comfortable offering figures to voters that represent the maximum amount they would need to contribute.

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