The following was released today by the White Plains Central School District:
At a Special Meeting last night, the White Plains Board of Education voted to hold a Special Election on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, on the issuance of $48.2 million in bonds for reconstruction and construction of improvements to the district’s buildings and facilities.
Acting on the recommendation of the 2012 Facility Task Force, chaired by Superintendent of Schools Chris Clouet, major projects include health and safety items and age-related replacements and upgrades as identified in the Districtwide Building Condition Survey.
A significant portion of the project includes a major renovation to the Eastview building, which dates from 1925. The Task Force, comprised of 18 district and community members, including architects and planners, conducted a seven-month process to assess the condition of buildings and sites.
Recognizing the challenging fiscal times, the Task Force evaluated several financing alternatives. According to Fred Seiler, Assistant Superintendent for Business, “The current economic environment provides a very favorable opportunity to enter into long term financing at very low interest rates. The project is expected to result in a tax levy increase of .72 percent and a tax impact for the average residence of $65.12 annually.
Almost half of the $48.2 million project ($22.5 million) is planned for work at Eastview School and covers roofing, masonry and extensive renovation work. Another $200,000 will be used to upgrade elementary school playgrounds, and $4.8 million will add WiFi capability to the schools.
Answering questions at the meeting on the latter, Dr. Clouet said, “The addition of WiFi is about academic issues—providing access to research and information no longer in print form."
He added the addition on WiFi has great potential for future cost avoidance related to academic resources such as workbooks and textbooks and will also enhance administrators’ ability to conduct evaluations of personnel.
Director of Facilities and Operations Frank Stefanelli added that “WiFi would provide definite savings for the district, with wireless control of heating, lighting and air-conditioning systems.”
Board Member James Hricay praised the work of the committee and said he was persuaded of the need after a tour of Eastview and the fact that the work would be needed within five years, if not now.
“With interest rates low, this is the time to do it,” he said.