The Cooperstown Central School Board of Education will bring its capital project to another vote on March 12, but with a reduced price tag.
The board voted unanimously at its Jan. 16 meeting to reduce the amount of money it is asking for a proposed 2014 capital improvement project by $650,000. CCS BOE President David Borgstrom was absent from the meeting.
This capital improvement project was defeated by a tied 180 to 180 vote on Dec. 11.
The defeat was not the reason that was given for reducing the scope of the project. Rather, the recently announced 36.2 percent increase in Hartwick’s town taxes this year motivated the board to see if they could make some cuts.
“It’s come to light that a good portion of the school district, the residents of Hartwick, have faced recently an increase in their taxes,” said CCS BOE Vice President Mary Leonard. “We were able to make a few reductions which we feel will maintain the integrity of the project but ... will do everything that we can to make things reasonable and affordable for all of our tax payers.”
CCS Superintendent C.J. Hebert said that before the Hartwick tax issue came up, the board had favored not making any cuts to the project.
“Before that information came to light, the (grounds and operations) committee was strongly inclined to put up ... the same capital project resolution,” he said.
The smaller project will forego replacing the gym lighting in the elementary school and the middle-high school, replacing the ceiling tiles in the middle-high school and reduces the cost of replacing the bus loop sidewalk by $100,000 by only replacing the area in front of the gym.
The end result is that the project, which was voted down at $6,609,000, was revised to $5,959,000.
“We see all the rest of the components of the project as being pretty critical,” said Leonard.
BOE member Anthony Scalici noted that the BOE had pushed for a yes vote in December in order to get through state processes faster and take advantage of earlier bidding.
“There are parts of the project that … will be affected by the delay,” said Scalici, who said that there are enough parts of the project that won’t be affected that it can be started in the year it was intended to begin.
Scalici also said that the project would help the school to bring in 21st century online learning.
Still, the board’s decision to take away some elements of the project doesn’t mean that they won’t come up in future projects.
“All of this stuff is coming,” said Scalice, in comments after the meeting, who also mentioned future improvements to the parking lots as being on the horizon.