Capital Project looks to improve music space; public vote Dec. 13
The Williamsville CSD community will have an opportunity to vote on a $36.6 million capital improvement project that would renovate and expand music education facilities at the district’s high and middle schools. The Board of Education unanimously approved the project in October, and set the public vote for Thursday, Dec. 13, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the North High School gymnasium.
After a yearlong process involving music teachers, school administrators, community members and industry experts, a tax-neutral capital project was developed to improve the music space for thousands of students who participate in Williamsville's acclaimed music programs. The proposed project would be accomplished with no tax increase.
"When you can develop and present a nearly $37 million project that greatly enhances the educational facilities for students with no tax increase, it's a tremendous win for the district and for our community," said Dr. Scott Martzloff, Superintendent.
The plan includes new construction that would more than double the music space at each high school to accommodate increased student participation and the growing instructional and storage needs for band, choral, and orchestra. School auditoriums would be updated and the music areas at each middle school would be renovated. The project also includes several major infrastructure improvements including roof replacements at Transit Middle and Maple West Elementary schools, a new emergency generator at Williamsville South, and a new pool dehumidification unit at Williamsville East.
The financial plan for the proposed capital project combines state building aid, voter-approved capital reserve funds, and the district’s long-standing debt service plan, which replaces retiring debt with the same amount of new debt. There would be no increase to the tax levy because the debt payment amount is already included in the annual operating budget. The project also qualifies for NYS building aid, which is estimated to cover between 52 and 60 percent of the total project cost.
Even though the proposed project does not increase the tax levy, NYS law requires the district to hold a public vote because the financial plan calls for the issuance of new debt and the use of reserve funds, both of which must be approved by voters in order for the project to move forward. By holding the vote in December, the district will be able to submit its plans to NYSED five months earlier than waiting until the May ballot. Earlier approval will allow for a more advantageous bidding cycle from the district’s standpoint, and a more competitive bidding process may ultimately lower project costs.