As the district celebrates the opening of two new schools as part of
its ongoing Facilities Improvement Project it is planning a $19
million referendum for Feb. 6, 2007 that carries no anticipated cost
to city taxpayers and would enable renovations to Arbor Hill
Community Elementary School, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, and
Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST).
Highlights of the Feb. 6 referendum
Date: Feb. 6, 2007, noon to 9 p.m.
Amount: $19 million (which will enable $32
million of work)
No expected tax impact
to be renovated:
Arbor Hill, Giffen and TOAST
The work envisioned will render all three schools
safer, more comfortable and modern learning
environments. The work includes:
climate control systems at all three
Electrical upgrades to accomodate modern
technology at all three schools
Handicapped accessibility at all three
Replacement of exterior envelope (walls,
windows, doors and decks) wherever
necessary to eliminate water leakage at
A new bus
loop and site improvements at Giffen
The proposed work would ensure the school buildings are safe and
modern environments that support 21st Century learning. The work
would also fulfill the vision laid out by the 2001 facilities plan.
With the opening of Pine Hills Elementary School and Delaware
Community School earlier this month, nine schools have been
significantly renovated or newly constructed as part of the
facilities project. Work for major renovations to William S. Hackett
Middle School and School 19 is also underway.
If voters support the referendum, $32 million total will be spent to
renovate Arbor Hill, Giffen and TOAST at No cost to taxpayers beyond
what voters have already committed to the $185.2 million project.
New state aid
Arbor Hill, Giffen and TOAST are the three schools in the Facilities
Improvement Project for which work plans have not been finalized. A
total of $13 million in unspent funds and savings remains from that
project -- not enough to fund the work proposed for the three
schools due to rapidly increasing construction costs and
modifications to the plan to meet the district's priorities as they
However, thanks to a new, and possibly one-time form of state
building aid known as EXCEL (Expanding Children's Education and
Learning), the district estimates it can stretch that $13 million
into the $32 million it can invest in the three buildings without
any additional tax impact. The district is eligible for $7.8 million
in EXCEL Aid.
Typically, school building projects are paid for through traditional
state building aid and financing by local taxpayers known as the
"local share." The $7.8 million in EXCEL Aid and $13 million in
remaining funds from the existing project will cover the local
share. Traditional state building aid will cover an additional $11.2
So, the $32 million will come from three sources:
$7.8 million: State EXCEL Aid
$11.2 million: Traditional state building aid
$13 million: Remaining funds from the existing facilities
referendum is required to give the district permission to spend $19
million more than the $185.2 million that voters have already
approved for the facilities project. It is also required to give the
district permission to borrow up to $19 million should there be a
delay in state aid reimbursements.
EXCEL Aid offers the perfect opportunity to realize the promise of
the Facilities Improvement Project," Superintendent Eva Joseph said.
"Modernizing the buildings will result in improved learning
environments. and, because we do not know how long the EXCEL Aid
will be available, we are pleased to be at a stage in our facilities
planning where we can present this scenario to our voters."