Rhinebeck School District Capital Project Referendum Approved by the District’s Registered Voters by a Better Than 2-1 Margin
A Capital Project Referendum in the amount of $12,089,160 was presented to the District’s registered voters for their consideration at a Special Election held on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 from 2:00 to 9:00 pm in the Bulkeley Middle School cafeteria. Vote numbers including machine counts and absentee ballots, totaled 249 “Yes” votes to 123 “No” votes, a better than 2-1 margin.
The affirmative vote will now allow the design, State Education Department approval, borrowing, and bidding phases of the project to be completed in anticipation of a Summer 2018 construction start, with an estimated conclusion of the project work in late 2019.
In terms of the capital project’s estimated tax impact, a homeowner in the Rhinebeck school district with an assessed value of $291,500, the current median assessed value of a home in the Rhinebeck school district, and a STAR exemption, will pay an average of an additional $78.03 per year over the 18 year life of the bond, in part due to the near-term retirement of the school district’s current debt service obligations for the 1997 addition to the MS/HS building. A tax impact calculator was made available on the District website to allow community residents to calculate the estimated tax impact of the proposed Capital Project Referendum using the own assessed value of their own property.
The Board’s action to bring a Capital Project Referendum to the District's registered voters for their consideration was based upon the following process:
- The development and submittal in 2015-16 of the State-mandated Building Condition Survey report required every five years, developed with the assistance of the architects from Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers, Albany, NY;
- Months of subsequent review and study regarding the school district’s anticipated capital improvement needs over the next several years and beyond, as identified in the Building Condition Survey; and,
- The engagement of a Community Facilities Taskforce, consisting of ten volunteer community members, in addition to members of the Board of Education, District administrators, and the District’s design and construction professionals this September and October. This stakeholder group reviewed the identified needs, visited the school district’s facilities to view these needs first-hand, and made recommendations for addressing those needs to the Board of Education
The planned scope of work will involve infrastructure repairs, renovations, replacements, improvements, and upgrades at both of the District’s school buildings and the associated grounds, parts of which include aging infrastructure elements, some of which are 40 to 60 years old. The last major capital project referendum was approved by District voters in January 2003, with a smaller referendum approved in March 2007.
The infrastructure-based project work just approved by the District’s voters will address safety and security improvements, climate control, ventilation, and lighting concerns, air and water infiltration problems, energy and maintenance support and efficiency issues, classroom and hallway upgrades, athletic facility restorations and upgrades, site improvements, various code compliance requirements, and cafeteria/kitchen enhancements in support of the District’s students and programs, their families, and the Rhinebeck-area community at large. The approved project does not include any additional square footage to the District’s facilities.
The Board of Education thanks all of those registered school district voters who exercised their franchise to cast a ballot on the Capital Project Referendum on December 6, 2016.