Capital Project Phase 2 proposition: Frequently Asked Questions

When and where will the vote be held?
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 by absentee ballot.

What will the impact be to my taxes?
No new tax impact.

Does the district have a Facilities Committee that reviews capital projects or district spending?
Yes, the Facilities Committee is comprised of two (2) Board of Education members, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Business Administrator. They review capital projects and costs associated with capital projects.  

How did you determine what would be in this project?
The scope of this projected was determined by collaboratively working with the Facilities Committee and the team from King & King Architects. Through committee meetings, district needs were identified and committee members, along with participating community members, were able to see the need areas as identified by district leadership. Although the scope of this project is broader than the phase 1 referendum which voters authorized in November 2019, it addresses environmental safety and the learning environment. It also reduces liability exposure and long-term facilities' needs in order to position the district for success in the future.

What is the total cost of the proposed project?
The estimated cost is $4 million dollars. This estimate includes construction and incidental costs. The district is estimating conservatively in order to cover for inflation and any unforeseen expenses, and incidental costs including architect, construction management, legal and other fees.

How is this project financed and what will be the cost to local residents?
The district’s selected 2019-20 building aid ratio is 86.3%, which means that the District receives 86.3 cents back on every dollar spent towards aidable building expenses.  In working with Fiscal Advisors, the district is assuming that 98% of the project is aidable.  Building Aid is determined for both the principal and interest payments of the debt service used to finance the project.  The remaining approximately 14 cents on each dollar will be paid using $875K from the district’s capital reserve.  In the spirit of keeping the tax levy flat (see more about this elsewhere in the FAQ), the District does not anticipate increased taxes resulting directly from this project!

Why should the Otselic Valley community care about this capital project?
The Otselic Valley community should care about the Phase 2 Capital Project because, with voter authorization, it will address environment safety, lthe earning environment, and reduce liability exposure, long-term facilities needs to position the district success in the future. This project was developed to enhance the district facilities at both the South Otselic main campus and the Georgetown facility. 

Furthermore, this project will help position the district to establish a municipal share with the Town of Georgetown for use of the Georgetown facility. The district was also able to secure a fully funded Local Government Efficiency Grant from New York State to aid in work to be completed at the Georgetown facility. The long-range purpose of the municipal share is for future cost avoidance for the school district and the Town of Georgetown.

Why do school districts need/have to maintain their debt?  
It is not always necessary to maintain debt, however the district has past projects for which debt by the District was incurred (similar to a home mortgage).  So that the District can continue to improve its facilities and keep them aligned with 21st century learning, the District can replace this debt payment with new debt while keeping the tax levy flat.  A flat tax levy allows the District to budget more effectively, and prevents peaks and valleys from year-to-year in taxpayers’ bills.  This concept is similar to taking out a new mortgage on a home, after paying off the original mortgage, to pay for a remodeling and/or home expansion.
What is "debt service"?
"Debt service" is the term used by school districts to describe the principal and interest payment on projects.  It is similar to taxpayers’ mortgage payments for homes or payments for automobile financing.  Principal and interest payments are paid over 15, 20 or 30 years depending on the type of project (e.g., new building, renovation, expansion to existing building, etc.).  The payments are structured to align with the building aid paid to the district by the state, for the aidable portion of the project.  

What impact will Covid-19 have on this project and what have you done to minimize its impact?
After reviewing the health and safety aspects of the project scope, the Otselic Valley Central School District has determined the OVCSD 2019 Capital Project may continue in accordance with the latest guidance from the Governor and Empire State Development. On March 29, 2020, Deputy Secretary for Education Dan Fuller stated that school districts are exempt from the restrictions of Executive Orders 202.6, 202.7, and 202.8, as long as appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols are implemented. 

What COVID-19 protocols will be observed to ensure public health safety?
A "COVID-19 CDC & District Protocol for Capital Construction Work" will be observed, and posted on all field trailers. Details:

All contractors and related consultants must report to the district office entrance for temperature clearance by the district’s nursing staff before entering the building and/or starting work onsite every day, no exceptions. If your temperature is over 100°F, you must go directly home. All district and contractor badges have been deactivated. 

Social Distancing 
Please continue social distancing with a minimum of 6 feet between any two people. 

Contractor Meetings
All meetings going forward will be by video conference or phone conference.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines 
Continue proactive health practices as recommended by the CDC. Continue disinfecting all surfaces, door handles, field trailers, equipment, crew cabs, tools, gates, padlocks, etc. on a regular basis. 

No Carpooling
All contractors shall drive to site in their own car, maintaining one person per car.

No Gatherings
No gatherings of any kind, for any reason.

Information to date suggests that COVID-19 causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread: 


  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between others. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash. 
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
Contingency Plan
If there is a confirmed case or a suspected case of COVID-19 at OVCSD, follow the district's lead and the lead of local health officials. As with all safe practices, stop work and report the incident immediately to the district and Construction Manager (Fred Riordan at 607-422-4434).

LEARN MORE from the YouTube video featuring Superintendent Rob Berson and Business Adminstrator Dan Silky: 

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