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Voters show strong support for district facilities proposals

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 7, 2012) – Voters in the Nov. 6 elections strongly supported the City School Distirct of Albany’s proposals to buy the former New Covenant Charter School building and to sell the former Philip Livingston Magnet Academy at a reduced price.


With final official results not yet available Nov. 7, voters had approved the proposition to buy the abandoned New Covenant building by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, 15,788-8,446, or a 65-percent approval rate.


Voters had approved the district’s proposal to subdivide the Livingston property and reduce the sale price by nearly a 5-to-1 margin, 19,768-4,394, or an 82-percent approval rate.


“We are thankful to our community once again for its support of our school district and our students,” said Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D. “We believe this support will allow us to continue our responsibility to provide sound financial stewardship while also providing our students with the best possible programs and facilities that our community can afford.”


Proposition #1

Shall the Board of Education of the Albany City School District be authorized to purchase the real property located at 50 North Lark Street, in the City of Albany, at a price not to exceed $2,500,000, plus usual and customary closing costs. 


The distirct is negotiating to buy New Covenant for $2.5 million with funds from the pending sales of the Alternative

Learning Center (the former Schuyler Elementary School/Albany High School on North Lake between Western and Washington) and Livingston (on Northern Boulevard). The New Covenant purchase (Proposition #1 at right) is contingent on the sale of at least one of those buildings.


Also on the Nov. 6 ballot, voters gave the district approval to reduce the minimum sale price for Livingston to $2.5 million (Proposition #2 below). The building and surrounding property has been for sale since May 2010, but due to

market conditions the district will subdivide the property to keep Livingston's four-acre "front lawn" along Northern Boulevard and lower the minimum sale price from the $3.25 million that voters approved in in May 2011.


Click here for more information about both ballot questions.


Over the past three years, the district has sold or is in the process of selling six old buildings. Buying the 12-year-old New Covenant building, using funds from the sale of outdated buildings that would cost the district tens of millions of dollars to maintain and operate, is an excellent opportunity for the district, city and taxpayers, said board President Egan said.


The transaction also will allow the district to reopen, with no tax impact, a school that has been abandoned.


Proposition #2

Shall the Board of Education of the Albany City School District be authorized to sell the real property and buildings thereon, located at 315 Northern Boulevard, Albany, NY (commonly known as the Philip Livingston Magnet Academy), for a total price of not less than $2,500,000, to be sold in one or more parcels, less usual and customary closing costs?


The district initially will lease the New Covenant building beginning in January, with an option to buy it for $2.5 million. If the district is able to exercise that option within the first 12 months, at least 75 percent of the lease payments will be applied to the purchase.


Located at 50 Lark Drive in Arbor Hill, New Covenant has been boarded up for more than two years. The charter school closed at the end of the 2009-10 school year due to a poor academic and financial record.  


The district would breathe new life into the vacant building, relocating its Alternative Learning Center programs there. The facility also would provide the district with long-term flexibility to manage the trend of growing enrollment.


In addition to revitalizing a vacant charter school in the heart of Arbor Hill, the opportunity also would provide the district with full access to the Arbor Hill Community Center. That facility, attached to the rear of the New Covenant building, includes a swimming pool, gym, offices and meeting rooms.


The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and nurture all students to be responsible citizens, critical thinkers and lifelong learners to successfully compete in the global community by providing an academically rigorous and safe environment in partnership with parents, students and the community. The district serves about 8,600 students in 15 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

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