CLIFTON PARK — Next week, voters will once again be faced with the choice to either approve or shut down the sale of a 34-acre parcel of school district-owned land, this time to the town.
The vote is Dec. 5, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Gowana Middle School gymnasium.
The parcel was the subject of an April referendum in which residents overwhelmingly rejected the district’s proposal to sell the land to BBL Construction for about $2 million.
The land, which is undeveloped, is off Maxwell Road, adjacent to Shatekon and Arongen elementary schools. If the sale is approved by school district residents, state law requires that the land thereafter only be used for public purposes, such as a park.
The purchase agreement also includes a memorandum of understanding between the town and the school board, in which those entities pledge to work together to plan future use of the land.
The memorandum of understanding also states that the town will select a professional consulting firm to assist with the planning process, and that public meetings be held as the plans develop. According to the agreement, Clifton Park will contribute $300,000 to $500,000 toward the planning efforts.
Also on the ballot will be the district’s $22 million capital project. The net cost of the project to taxpayers is estimated to be $5,426,400, with a tax increase of 0.4 percent over the next 15 years.
The capital project would focus on renovating old science classrooms, integrating instructional technology into classrooms, upgrading high school and middle school kitchens, making improvements to the bus garage and tackling traffic issues around campus.
This capital project follows a 2016 referendum in which voters approved work on the high school library. Due to delays in the state education approval process for capital projects, the library work is slated to start in the summer. Work on the project voters will see on Dec. 5 would not start until 2019 or 2020.
Eligible voters are U.S. citizens at least 18 years old who have been Shenendehowa district residents for at least 30 days prior to the vote. No preregistration is required, but official personal identification with photo is required at the polls.
Absentee ballots may be used by any resident who will not be available to come to the campus to vote. They are available at the district office, 5 Chelsea Place in Clifton Park.
For more information, call the district clerk at 518-881-0623. By law, absentee ballots are mailed to any resident who is disabled. Ballots must be returned to the district clerk no later than 5 p.m. Dec. 5.