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Friday, March 24, 2017

Questions and Answers

Q: Why are you proposing a bond now?

A: The question of making our buildings safer has been under discussion by district officials for a long time. It is a question parents frequently ask district officials. The tragedy at Sandy Hook last year as well as subsequent events throughout the country prompted the district to move forward with a review of its safety and security procedures. We conducted safety audits of our buildings using the resources provided to us by the Yorktown Police Department and the Westchester County Police Department. Additionally, the district’s own insurance providers added their input along with the district’s architectural firm.

Also, the Board of Education’s Construction Committee has reviewed all this information during the past six months as the bond proposal was developed. Another factor is that New York State is currently offering additional state aid on projects that involve security and safety improvements.

Q: What buildings are included in this bond?

A: The bond includes work at all eight school buildings and the administration building. A summary of the work being done can be found on page two of this newsletter. The district, working with our architects, determined a priority list of items to be completed in the district’s buildings. A detailed list building-by-building is available on the district’s web site or by contacting the District Office at (914) 245-1700.

Q: Did the district take any action regarding safety following the tragic events of last December in Connecticut?

A: A number of immediate steps were taken in Lakeland to enhance the existing safety measures. The district had previously installed a video buzzer entry system at all building entrances. Entry to all buildings was through one central location with all exterior doors locked during the school day. Buildings now hold several additional safety-related drills throughout the year. Safety plans have also been updated districtwide. Internal protocols for safety were tightened and enhanced. Additional security protocols were instituted involving internal and external security measures that we cannot share publicly.

Area police departments immediately increased the police presence in and around our buildings. Officers from

Yorktown and Westchester County police departments have become a regular presence in the area of the schools including regular visits inside and outside the schools.

Q: What is the timeline for the projects if the proposition is approved?

A: After the district obtains voter approval, the architects will draw up the specific plans which will take two to three months. These plans are submitted to the New York State Education Department (SED) for approval. All construction projects require state approval. The approval process could take between three and six months depending on the number of projects submitted statewide to the SED.

The architects will design the projects in two phases with projects that need a smaller amount of time to obtain SED approval being completed first. Following SED approval, the plans will go out to bid. With approval in November, the district hopes to begin some projects as soon as the summer of 2014 and complete work in the summer of 2015. Since most of the projects will involve work inside the schools, the work will be scheduled for completion during the summer.

Q: What are some of the health related projects included in the bond?

A: The district has also identified a number of health-related projects. These include replacing all the windows at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School which may contain PCBs in the caulking. The existing windows are original to the building. The bond will also add air conditioning in the auditorium, computer room, and library at Lakeland High School and the cafetorium at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School. These large spaces are used extensively by the school community. The auditorium at Lakeland High School is an area that has been identified as a potential security weakness since doors to the outside are often propped open when the indoor temperatures rise.

Q: What is the tax impact of the bond?

A: After taking into account the district’s 59.5% state building aid, the direct cost to the taxpayers would be approximately $7 million. At this time the district will benefit from New York State providing additional aid on a number of projects that deal with safety and security.

The figures in the chart below are approximate annual costs based on average home values. As you can see, the first tax impact is not until 2015-16 and the amount is expected to decrease in 2016-17 and beyond.

Home Value

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016 & beyond

$250,000

0

0

$43 /yr

$33 /yr

$300,000

0

0

$51 /yr $39/yr

$400,000

0

0

$68 /yr

$52 /yr













last updated: 10/31/13