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February 24, 2016

Groton voters narrowly reject proposals for school improvements

GROTONBob Ellis/staff photographer
The press box and bleachers for Ross Field are shown Tuesday on South Main Street in Groton.

By LEANN HLEBICA
Staff Reporter
lhlebica@cortlandstandardnews.net

GROTON — School district voters narrowly rejected a $12.3 million proposal to improve building maintenance and add a lab at the high school, as well as an additional $1.6 million to add turf at Ross Field.
More than 550 residents voted Tuesday. The tally was 261-280, including 13 absentee ballots.
The ballot included two proposals. If the first proposal passed, voters could then decide if the second — an additional $1.6 million in renovations to Ross Field — was needed.
“My husband and I are here to do our civic duty of voting,” Darcy Sawyer said Tuesday. Her husband suggested that he did not think the vote would be close and he expected the vote to fail.
The first proposal included updates to the elementary and high school buildings and the bus garage, including installing a new elementary school roof, emergency generators, improved lighting and disabled accessibility, and renovating 50-year-old bathrooms.
It would also add a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, lab in the high school to prepare the school for 2020 state requirements that include taking state tests online. The lab would use new technology and be built to promote project-based learning activities.
Superintendent of Schools Margo Martin could not be reached by deadline this morning to comment on what the next steps for the district will be.
The first proposal would have used $1 million from a district capital reserve fund and $1.5 million that went unspent in the latest budget.
The first proposal would have increased taxes by $28.28 for a home assessed at $100,000. If the second proposal had been approved, it would have added another $37.87 to the tax bill.
Lisa Warmbrodt, district secretary, said throughout the day Tuesday there had been a steady flow of people coming in to vote.
Lisa and Dan Maloney Hahn came just before doors closed at 9 p.m. to get their votes in.
“We are very supportive of STEM improvements to the school, we just don’t believe in the $1.6 million addition for new turf for the football team,” Lisa Maloney Hahn said.

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