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What you need to know for 04/23/2017

Schenectady voters go to the polls today for $70 million school project

Schenectady voters go to the polls today for $70 million school project

Voters will decide today whether the Schenectady City School District can go ahead with a $70 millio
Schenectady voters go to the polls today for $70 million school project
A sign on the front of Hamilton Elementary School reminds the public of the capital project referendum vote coming up today.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Voters will decide today whether the city school district can go ahead with a $70 million building project.

The seven polling locations will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

It’s the first of many proposed phases in a decade-long renovation project that will eventually lead to a system with K-5 elementary schools, three middle schools for grades 6 through 8 and two high schools (Schenectady and Steinmetz).

Each phase must first be approved by voters. Estimated cost of the future phases is not known.

The first phase would renovate and open three middle schools for grades 6 through 8. Oneida would be reopened, Central Park would be turned back into a middle school and Mont Pleasant would be renovated.

Also, the district would build an addition at Howe Elementary School, replace the Van Corlaer Elementary School stage with classrooms and close Elmer Elementary School.

The first phase is unusual in that it may not cost property owners anything on their school tax bill.

The district expects 95 percent of the work to be covered by state aid. The other 5 percent normally would be the local taxpayers’ share, but the district has an unspent state grant that it can use to cover the entire 5 percent.

If the district calculates the cost of its work incorrectly, taxpayers could end up paying a small amount. A district-hired financial expert said the worst-case scenario would be an annual tax of $1.14 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

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