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December 19, 2013

 

Cincy plans school project

District sets Feb. 11 vote on $8.7 million in improvements

CincyBob Ellis/staff photographer
These science lab tables will be among the upgrades done at Cincinnatus School.

By MATT LEADER
Staff Reporter
mleader@cortlandstandardnews.net

CINCINNATUS — A Feb. 11 vote will determine whether the Cincinnatus school district moves ahead with a capital project aimed primarily at maintaining the district’s facilities.
If approved, the $8.7 million undertaking will consist primarily of improvements that were cut from the district’s last construction project due to lack of funds, said Superintendent of Schools Steve Hubbard.
A public information session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the district’s Wilbur Auditorium.
Constructed in 1935, the original school building is showing its age. Upgrades would include the replacement of windows, doors, hallway heating units and a large section of roof, repair of crumbling masonry, construction of a secure reception area at the school’s main entrance and the paving of the district’s bus lot, among other things.
“We have to maintain what we have,” said Hubbard, referring to the improvements brought by the school’s last construction project, which was completed in 2009 and cost about $18.5 million. “If you look at the items on there, this is a maintenance project.”
Hubbard added that 90.4 percent of the project would be covered by state aid.
The remaining cost would fall to district residents in the form of an annual average tax increase of about $15.55 for properties with a basic STAR exemption valued at $50,000.
There would be no increase for properties assessed at $50,000 with enhanced STAR.
For assessed values of $100,000, the annual average tax increase for properties with basic and enhanced STAR exemptions would be $54.43 and $27.84, respectively.
The increased tax rate would take effect for the 2016-17 school year.
The push for another capital project only four years after the completion of their last project is spurred by the desire to secure as much state aid as possible, Hubbard said.
For the last capital project, over 98 percent of the costs were covered by the state. If the current project were approved in February, the district would lock in the 90.4 percent state aid rate.
“How long do you wait?” Hubbard asked. “When is a good time (for repairs)? We have to get support of state aid to maintain our buildings. We can’t afford to do that on our own.”
If approved by district residents, the bidding process would likely begin in spring 2015 with construction starting that summer.
The bulk of the project would be completed by fall 2016.
“I’m not hearing anything of a negative nature,” Hubbard said. “Everything that I’m hearing is that the people understand. I’m cautiously optimistic.”

 

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