by Kathleen Duff
Wednesday evening, the Grand Island Board of Education passed three separate resolutions related to the possible 2011 capital project affecting all five public school buildings.
The first resolution, whereby the district would initiate an environmental impact assesment, as required by state law, relative to the proposed capital project, passed unanimously with a 6-0 vote.
The second resolution, whereby the district would put Proposition No. 1, a capital improvement project in the amount of $46,822,155, to public vote on Dec. 20, passed with a vote of 5-1. "Yes" votes were cast by board members Joan Droit, Glenn Bobeck, Emily Cirialo, Donna Tomkins and Board President David Goris. Trustee Tak Nobumoto voted "no." (Trustee Paul Krull was absent from the meeting and did not vote.)
The third resolution, whereby the district would put Proposition No. 2, a capital improvement project in the amount of $4,596,629, to public vote on Dec. 20, passed with a vote of 5-1. "Yes" votes were cast by board members Droit, Bobeck, Cirialo, Tomkins and Goris, with Nobumoto dissenting.
The votes come after months of building condition investigations by Cannon Design and cost estimating on the part of Campus Construction Management, and debate and consideration on the part of the Board of Education and the district's facility committee.
The special board workshops held last Saturday and Monday evening prioritized construction deemed most important and eliminated or postponed to a 3-5 year plan other portions of the building condition survey. The discussions resulted in the boxed totals which were voted on Wednesday.
Proposition No. 1, the larger capital project, should come close to being fully "aidable" from New York state, resulting on a "0 impact" for Grand Island taxpayers, according to the district. This proposition includes a variety of health and safety items such as better security systems and fixes for crumbling infrastructure, to technology improvements such as updated wireless accesss.
Proposition No. 2 would include updated auditorium seating and various athletic upgrades and fixes. Proposition No. 2 could result in a small tax impact (1/2 to 1 percent increase). The board is also proposing that $5,033,900 from the district reserve fund go to building a new transportation facility (bus garage).
Board member Nobumoto questioned why items in Proposition No. 2 were deemed less necessary than some items in Proposition No. 1. Tomkins pointed out that the items were arrived at following hours of discussion at Saturday's workshop meeting. Cirialo emphasized that the larger pieces of Proposition No. 1 needed to go forward intact to avoid costly redos of neglected portions in the future.
Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann called the proposals "one terrific project." He added that the legal notices would be posted in the Island Dispatch beginning next week and would run for four weeks.
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The Grand Island Central School District is 29th among upstate school districts according to a ranking by Business First.
Pittsford Central School District is the top-rated public school system in upstate New York, according to new rankings issued Thursday by the Buffalo-based business publication.
Pittsford, a district in suburban Rochester, earned the highest score among 431 upstate districts in Business First's analysis of four years of standardized test data.
Business First has issued annual performance ratings for Western New York's schools since 1992, using raw data from the New York State Education Department. (The latest ratings were released in June. The active link is http://tinyurl.com/wnyguide.)
Business First's new upstate ratings cover a much broader territory, encompassing the 48 New York counties that are north of the 42nd parallel. (Districts that lack a high school or that have fewer than 260 students were excluded from the rankings.)
Each district has been rated on its students' annual performances on 21 Regents exams and statewide tests during the period of 2007-10. Final scores are based on 172 statistical indicators - the same formula that generated this year's Western New York and rankings.
Complete standings, along with an array of interactive databases and regional rankings, are posted on Business First's website athttp://tinyurl.com/upstate2011.
Business First has already issued academic rankings for two of these areas (Western New York and the Rochester Area), which can be found in a separate publication, the 2011-12 Guide to Western New York Schools.
Rankings of Note
1. Pittsford (Monroe County)
2. Fayetteville-Manlius (Onondaga County)
3. Brighton (Monroe County)
13. East Aurora
20. Orchard Park
27. Alden29. Grand Island