South Lewis Tries Again To ConsolidatePosted: Updated:
Last December, South Lewis Central School's capital project was narrowly defeated by 82 votes. This time around the district is presenting a scaled down version that cuts the price tag by $5.4 million.
"We're hoping that's the difference for the taxpayer that maybe voted no last year, that maybe will vote yes this year is the reduced cost," said Doug Premo, district superintendent.
The now nearly $40 million capital project includes construction of a new elementary addition to the middle-high school campus, which will see its own renovations, and the athletic fields will be moved next door on to land donated to the school.
To cut down the cost, the district cut down on the size of the elementary school addition, cut back on features to the athletic fields and made changes to the middle and high school renovations.
The district will also dip into its savings to the tune of $2 million to offset the cost to taxpayers, which Premo says will be $70 to the average taxpayer. That's after an anticipated $500,000 in savings from having a combined campus.
"The dollars spent is wiser to do it as a single campus-elementary addition. We realize a lot of educational efficiencies, educational programming becomes improved if we have a single campus," said Premo.
Adding an elementary school addition to the middle and high school campus would mean closing the elementary school here in Port Leyden and the one in Glenfield. While Premo says the closing of the elementary schools is one of the reasons why the project hasn't been approved in the past, he says the biggest reason was the cost.
"We wanted to bring that down, we listened to the taxpayers, we took the feedback from our stakeholders and we reduced that number from 170 down to $70 to the average taxpayer so significant change in cost and the education we can provide our kids is just the best at a single campus," said Premo.
If a single campus is voted down this time, Premo says the district will have to renovate all of the schools and he says it will be more expensive.
The school district is holding a public hearing on October 15 and the vote will be on October 23.