By Brendan G. Coyne
Security and boilers.
These topics dominated the January meeting of the Valley Central School Board. The board is considering presenting a capital project referendum May 16.
The meeting saw the debut of new Valley Central Superintendent Evette Avila, who took office January 1. She thanked school personnel and residents for welcoming her to the district and helping her assume her duties. She comes with 36 years of education experience, most recently as Chief of Schools for Hartford Public Schools.
Following the approval of the consent agenda, consultants gave PowerPoint presentations on possible options for the referendum.
Tom Ritzenthaler, Vice President of CSArch, an architecture, engineering and construction management firm based in Albany, led off the presentations, talking about the needs of the district’s high school, middle school, four elementary schools and the Alternative Learning Center.
One option deals mainly with repairs and renovations. Brad Conklin, School Business Official, said that the district would like to replace boilers, converting them from steam to water, which is more efficient.
CSArch is proposing that each of the buildings receive renovated or new secure public entry vestibules. The extent of construction and costs varies greatly depending on the design and age of the building. Some buildings will require moving main offices to the front of the facility and relocation of other offices.
Jason Schwartz, president of Bernard P. Donegan Municipal Finance based in Fairport, discussed financing this option, among others. It would cost approximately $30 million, at no cost to taxpayers, thanks to the district’s capital reserve balance of nearly $10 million and New York State picking up 75% of the costs.
Board Chair Joseph Bond acknowledged the huge expense of moving offices in some buildings in order to provide improved security.
The board will continue to consider this option along with others that would address other needs and preferences at greater costs.
The board got a snapshot of the 2022-23 budget, which district residents will consider for adoption May 16. As usual, the district will hold a series of meetings on the budget. Conklin urged residents to get budget information directly from school district.
“Come to meetings,” Conklin said. “Don’t rely on Facebook. Contact us.”
The board approved the Technology Curriculum for Grade 7; a four-year agreement with the Teachers Association (with salary increases of 2.1% for each of first three years and 2.2% for the fourth year); and an agreement with the Mount Pleasant Cottage School District for educational services. The board adopted a resolution allowing a tax exemption for the Village of Walden.
Conklin reported that a heating coil burst in the gymnasium on Christmas Eve. He thanked the Montgomery Fire Department for working on Christmas day to deal with removing water. The leak damaged the floor beneath the bleachers, not the playing area.
Video coverage of the meeting is available on the district’s YouTube Channel. The next board meeting is at 6:30 p.m., Monday, February 13, 2023, in the Administration Building behind Berea Elementary School.