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School Board President: Project 2021 Cost?

Project 2021 – How Much Will the Actually Project Cost?
Dear Community members - Last Wednesday evening the district held the third community forum on Project 2021. There were some great questions asked and one was about the actual cost of the project to the tax payers. This is a really important question that I’m sure is on the minds of many people. I know it was for me when we started planning the project!  In short, the cost to the taxpayers is about $12.2 million to address the issues in five of our buildings – Waterman, State Street, middle school, high school, and the bus garage. It took me a bit to understand this, so let me try to explain it to you.  
1.       The total cost of the project is not to exceed $36.5 million dollars.  The Board made that very clear to the administration when they passed a resolution in September.
2.       The district gets 62.9% of the cost of the project back in state aid. This means that for every dollar we spend, we get about $.63 back. Don’t forget, this is money that we already paid to the state in taxes, so this is our way of getting $22M of our money back!! 
3.       There are parts of the project that don’t get aid (like kitchen equipment, furniture, and a press box) so we have to plan for that – which we have – by  assuming that 95% of the project will get aid. This is also why we have smart financial advisors who help us figure these things out!
4.       We have $2,250,000 in a building project savings account (a “capital reserve”) which cuts down the cost of the project.   You and I, the taxpayers, approved of having a reserve account for just this type of thing.
5.       We have a $110,000 bequest from Duke Schneider which cuts the cost of the press box part of project. 
6.       What’s left is about $12.2 million dollars which we finance over 18 years. 
Once we build in interest to the payments, this means that our payments can stay right where they are now. This means that for about 3.7% of our annual budget, we can make the repairs needed, keep our buildings safe, save money on our energy bills, give our kids and staff a great place to teach and learn in, and keep our taxes the same as they are now.
I know you are like me; we would rather not spend the money at all!  But we all know, just like with our own homes, that putting off the inevitable - only fixing things when they break or when it’s absolutely necessary, not only takes more time, but the cost is greater the long run. 
If you have other questions like this one, please contact me, any other board member, or Mr. Slentz at the school. You can also see lots of information on our district website. Just go to
Finally, please remember to come and vote on November 14. The vote will be held at the district office (or also known as the old bus garage) which is located at 45 East Elizabeth Street (the small brick building) and not in the Waterman Building.  There will be signs to point you in the right direction.
On behalf of the Board of Education
Susan Greenfield Murphy, President

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Eric Knuth
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152