A Letter to the BKW Community

Dear BKW Community,

On Thursday, November 2, the BKW community has an opportunity to vote on a referendum for capital improvements to its school facilities. If approved, the referendum would allow the District to use reserves and bonds to repair and replace systems that are near the end of their useful life, enhance safety and security in both schools, improve educational opportunities for all students, and support community engagement with the schools.  For two years the Board of Education has been working closely with our architects to complete a Building Condition Survey as required by NYSED, and then to develop a facility plan and project scope to be presented to the community for approval. The proposed project reflects a well thought out, cohesive, and comprehensive plan that will benefit students and the community for generations to come. The details of the project and associated costs can be found on the district website at http://www.bkwschools.org.

To ensure sound management of the project, the Board has hired the construction management firm, Sano-Rubin. The firm has an outstanding track record at managing projects for school districts across the region. Their work on behalf of our district will yield timely completion and responsible fiscal oversight in the execution of the project.

The referendum asks the community to vote on two propositions. The first is for $14.8 million and is focused on elementary school needs like replacing the boilers and converting the heating system from steam to hot water, fixing septic issues, replacement of old electrical systems, and improving technology throughout the school. It also includes creating an agricultural science room, modernizing all classrooms, and adding a secure visitor entry. The second proposition is for $5 million and the work includes improvement of technology for all secondary classrooms, replacement of failing roofing, and a new secure entry to the building. Proposition 2 can only be approved if Proposition 1 is approved. Approval of both propositions would result in a project cost of $19.8 million dollars. 

It is important to note the District will receive 79.2 percent of the total cost of the project in NYS building aid funds, amounting to approximately $15.7 million dollars. The State provides these funds to assist districts in maintaining their facilities. Our community is entitled to these funds, and accessing them is a wise move for the long term financial health of the District. The remaining cost of the project will come from reserve accounts that have been established by the District in anticipation of the project. After accounting for building aid, as well as the retiring debt from previous projects, the impact of the new project to taxpayers will amount to $1 dollar per month for 64 months, and then zero impact for the remaining life of the bonds.  

The district has a clear academic direction, is in a positive financial condition, and completion of this project would ensure that our facilities support learning for many years to come, while maintaining financial stability for the District. I encourage every member of the BKW community to be informed about the project and come out to vote on November 2.  Voting will take place in the Secondary School Auditorium, from 6 am to 8 pm.

Sincerely,

Dr. Timothy Mundell
Superintendent of Schools