Batavia Puts $15 Million Capital Improvements Plan on November Ballot
Batavia School District 101 is putting a capital-improvements plan in front of voters in the November election that will include improvements to school infrastructure as well as to build and improve athletic fields at Batavia High School.
Following a two-year discussion about the possible ways to fund the projects identified in the BPS101 2014 Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan, including improvements to the athletic fields at Batavia High School, the Board of Education voted to place an advisory question on the Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, general election ballot.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the advisory referendum, courtesy of the School District website:
What is the advisory question?
The advisory question will ask voters to vote “yes” or “no” on the issuance of $15 million alternate revenue bonds as a means to fund BPS101 Capital Improvement Plan projects.
What are alternate revenue bonds and will this increase my taxes?
Alternate revenue bonds are repaid from existing operating revenues and will not increase taxes. The district would make annual payments out of the Operations and Maintenance Budget. The annual budget for capital projects within the Operations and Maintenance budget is currently $1.5 million. The annual payment on the proposed alternate revenue bonds would be $1.2 million over a 20-year term. (The estimate of $1.2 million annually is a conservative figure that accounts for almost a 2 percent increase from the current market.)
Because this funding plan will not raise taxes, does the Board of Education need to put this question on the Nov. 4 ballot?
The Board of Education could have proposed these bonds through a backdoor referendum, but instead chose to ask this question directly to voters. The board is asking this advisory question because board members want guidance and direction from the public on capital improvement projects.
Will the public have a chance to learn more from the district before Tuesday, Nov. 4?
Yes. The Board of Education has scheduled a Public Information Night on Tuesday, Oct. 14, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Batavia High School. BPS101 administrators and board members will present information about the Alternate Revenue Bond ballot question and answer questions from the public. To make the best use of the Q&A time, please submit questions to the Board of Education in advance using this feedback form.
What projects will be completed and why are they needed?
On Aug. 12, 2014, the Board of Education viewed a sample list of capital projects that could be completed. The Board will be finalizing this list within the upcoming weeks. The current plan is to divide the $15 million between capital improvements at several schools (end-of-life assets, such as boilers, roofs, lighting systems, parking lots, windows, etc.) and a portion of the athletic fields at Batavia High School.
The athletic field vision was a stakeholder-facilitated plan that combined feedback from the general community, Music Buffs, athletic boosters, and BPS101 coaches. As we have completed the necessary additions for academic space at the high school, we have taken away usable space for athletics and the marching band. This has made it difficult to provide students with adequate time and space for practice and competition.
What happens if the community votes ‘No’?
If the majority vote is “No” on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the Board of Education will continue to fund capital projects through its regular budget. The board remains committed to improving and maintaining our facilities throughout the district. Projects will be done in phases, and some will take several years to complete.
What happens if the community votes ‘Yes’?
If the majority vote is “Yes” on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the Board of Education will begin to fund capital projects from their designated list. This would include assets nearing the end of their useful life cycle, such as roofs, lighting and boilers, and a portion of the athletic fields at Batavia High School. These projects will be completed over a two- to three-year period.
Why $15 million?
The 2014 Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan, which provides a needs assessment for all BPS101 buildings and grounds, forecasts nearly $19 million in 2014-15 capital improvements. The Board of Education is budgeting for a lesser amount to be conservative and stay within an approximate $1.2 million annual repayment plan over a 20-year term. A $1.2 million annual repayment on alternate bonds stays under BPS101’s annual $1.5 million Operations and Maintenance budget, and allows for additional capital to be used on any unanticipated improvement projects.
What is the goal of the BHS athletic field improvements?
The ultimate goal is to give students practice and competition time on Batavia High School property. The only two available practice fields at BHS were eliminated during the construction of the new academic space and Batavia Fine Arts Centre. The current configuration of the fields includes one competition space (Bulldog stadium) and several makeshift practice areas such as the BHS baseball outfields and offsite facilities. This impacts boys and girls soccer, football, lacrosse, Marching Band, and Color Guard. The addition of a turf field in Bulldog stadium will allow that space to be used for more practices and competitions.
Will all athletic and music programs be brought back on campus if field improvements are made?
If one turf field is added, we will be able to increase the number of practices and competitions held on our campus, but not all programs will return for all of their practices. The addition of one turf field would be shared by boys and girls soccer, football, lacrosse, Marching Band, and Color Guard. The master Athletic Field Redevelopment Plan calls for two turf fields to accommodate all BHS groups.
What athletic field improvements will be made if the majority vote is Yes on Tues., Nov. 4?
The Board of Education and BPS101 administrators are in the process of preparing a priority list of Capital Improvement Projects, which will include a portion of the athletic fields. At this time, we don’t have a definitive list, but this will be discussed at the next public Finance Committee Meeting at noon Tuesday, Sept. 23 at the Rosalie Jones Administration Center.
Download the “Get The Facts” Advisory Question PDF.
Have a question or feedback about the Advisory Question? Please submit it.
SOURCE: Batavia School District 101