Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you will find the answers to frequently asked questions regarding the upcoming Ken-Ton School District Capital Project. Have a question that does not appear on this page? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 874-8400 ext. 20699.
Has the district considered reopening a closed elementary school such as Hamilton as an alternative to classroom additions at Edison, Hoover, and Lindbergh Elementary?
There is a need for additional classroom space at three specific locations (Edison, Hoover, and Lindbergh Elementary). There is not enough need for additional classroom space that would necessitate the re-opening of a sixth elementary school building, which would once again create a tremendous amount of excess underutilized space at the elementary school level at significant expense to the district and its taxpayers. The cost of reopening Hamilton Elementary, for instance, is estimated to be approximately $3.3 million per year in staffing; this would include positions such as school administrative, office, cafeteria, school nurse, and custodial staff, as well as additional teachers. There would also be approximately $5 million in building/equipment costs required to re-open the school. Furthermore, these costs would be borne by the district’s general fund and, ultimately, district taxpayers without any state aid. For a comparison of the costs over a period of 15 years, click here: Hamilton Elementary: 15-Year Outlook. By adding additional classroom space exactly where it is needed through classroom additions onto existing elementary school buildings, this allows the costs to be included as part of a capital project with the vast majority of the expense coming from New York State Education Department Building Aid. Also, it places the classrooms exactly where they are needed without creating any additional annual costs for the district or its taxpayers.
Why is the Ken-Ton School District conducting a capital project vote?
The Ken-Ton School District is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment and well-maintained facilities for student and public use. Just as one’s own home ages and requires upkeep and repairs to keep it in good shape, so too do our school buildings, which are as many as 90 years old. Routine repairs and maintenance projects are able to be funded through the district’s general fund as part of the annual school district budget, but these expenses fall in large part on school district taxpayers. Larger projects and capital priorities cannot be funded through the annual school district budget. By funding these projects as part of a Capital Project, not only does it allow the district to spread the expense out over a longer period of time and fund projects it would not otherwise be able to accomplish, but it also allows the district to fund this work in large part through New York State Education Department Building Aid with minimal impact on local taxpayers.
Is there a need for an additional capital project after the completion of the 2014 Capital Project?
Yes. The district has been planning for an additional capital project for several years and has established a Capital Project Reserve to help offset the cost of the project. The 2014 Capital Project, which was completed in 2018, addressed many critical needs and priorities. However, it was noted at the time that the project was designed to meet only the most urgent needs and highest priorities facing the district at the time. Because of the size of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District, which encompasses nine schools with more than 6,500 students, and because of the extensive capital needs of the district’s aging school buildings, it is necessary to spread this work over multiple projects. Also, as time passes, new needs and priorities emerge which cannot be addressed through the regular school district budgeting process and general fund. By organizing this work into a voter-approved capital project, these projects are able to be funded primarily through New York State Building Aid, which is a source of funding that would otherwise go to other school districts. It also enables the district to minimize the impact on property taxpayers.
What are the priorities of this capital project and what will this project encompass?
The district’s three major priorities are Instruction; Health, Safety and Security; and Wellness. The Capital Project will include:
- Classroom additions at Hoover, Lindbergh, and Edison Elementary to meet the need for additional classroom space at these three locations
- Changes to parking and drop-off/pick-up patterns at Edison, Hoover, Kenmore East, and Kenmore West to enhance student safety and alleviate traffic congestion during arrival and dismissal
- Water pipe replacement to improve water quality at each school
- Renovations to each school’s single point of entry to maximize safety/security during the school day
- An artificial turf athletic facility at Kenmore East (similar to the new facility at Kenmore West, which is currently shared between West and East teams) so that each school can have use of its own facility
- Gymnasium renovations and upgrades at Franklin Middle, Hoover Middle, and Kenmore West for physical education and athletic programs
- New safer “Baker”-style drains in middle/high school swimming pools
- Critical maintenance/repair projects such as roof work, resurfacing of parking lots/sidewalks, and renovation work
- A new adaptive playground which is inclusive to students of all abilities
Will the scope of work be the same at each school?
No. Because each school differs in age, need, and priorities, the scope of work will be different in each school building. Also, some schools saw specific needs and priorities achieved through the previous capital project, while other needs and priorities could not be included as part of that project. Some work will be conducted in all school buildings, however, such as water pipe replacement and single-point-of-entry renovations.
How are the needs and priorities chosen?
The work of this Capital Project will build upon the work of the 2014 project, which addressed some of the district’s extensive maintenance and capital needs. Comprehensive planning has taken place to identify areas of need in all schools with input from staff, administrators, the community, as well as through close examination of buildings and grounds conditions by experts. Needs were prioritized based on district priorities such as health, safety and security; providing adequate instructional space; and student wellness. Although the district will not be able to address all identified areas of need, this Capital Project will encompass critical maintenance and construction work as well as enhancements that will have the greatest impact upon student life and learning as well as health and safety.
When is the work scheduled to take place?
It’s expected that State Education Department approval for the project would be received by fall 2020 with the bulk of work starting in summer 2021. It is anticipated that the project would be completed in 2024.
What is the total cost of this proposed project and how will it affect my taxes?
Through careful fiscal planning, and by prioritizing the needs of our buildings, this project will have little impact on property taxes. The full cost of the project will be $75 million. The vast majority of this cost (approximately 69 percent) is projected to be covered by New York State Education Department Building Aid with an additional 13 percent covered by the district’s Capital Reserve. This means that only 18 percent of the cost would fall upon district taxpayers, amounting to $16.80 for a $100,000 market-value home annually.
Doesn’t State Aid come from public tax dollars too?
Yes, it does. However, this project would be financed by New York State Building Aid which would otherwise go to other school districts in New York State. This is an opportunity to keep some of those tax dollars in our own community, working to improve the educational environment for our children and the public.
What if the referendum does not pass?
Based on the age and condition of parts of our buildings, much of the work included in this project would still be necessary. If the referendum does not pass, the District would have to accomplish much of this work without the benefit of the State’s Building Aid. Therefore, any renovation work would have to be funded within the annual District budget, with local taxpayers bearing most of the cost instead of New York State Building Aid.
Where can I learn more about the project?
There are many ways you can learn more about the project, including:
- District Website: All information and documentation regarding the capital project will be posted at www.ktufsd.org/capitalproject. Important announcements will be posted to the district homepage at www.ktufsd.org.
- Social Media: Information and announcements will be posted to the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages (@ktufsd).
- Public Forums: The district will be hosting one public forum in each school building in the district, and an additional district-wide forum. The purpose of these forums is to provide an opportunity for parents and community members to learn about the project and ask questions. The dates of all forums are posted here: Capital Project Public Forums.
- School Buildings: Information will be made available in the lobby of each school building.
- Board of Education Meetings: Information and announcements will also be presented at scheduled Board of Education meetings, each of which includes the opportunity for public comments. Click here for meeting information: Meeting Dates & Locations.
- SchoolGram: Information and announcements will appear in the SchoolGram, the e-newsletter of the Ken-Ton School District. You can sign up to receive the SchoolGram in your inbox or access it on the web at www.ktufsd.org/SchoolGram.
- Capital Project Mailing: Information about the project will be mailed home to all residents in the Ken-Ton School District prior to the vote.
- If you have additional questions regarding the Capital Project, you can email questions or comments to email@example.com.
When will the vote take place?
The vote is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Hoover Middle School, 249 Thorncliff Road, in the Town of Tonawanda. the same location as the annual Budget Vote & Board of Education Election. Please use the Sheridan Drive entrance for easy access.