A new floor and new seating is proposed for the Finley LGI-auditorium.

Trustees Finalize Capital Reserve Fund Proposition

A new floor and new seating is proposed for the Finley LGI-auditorium.

March 21, 2018

Huntington School Board members have finalized a capital reserve fund proposition and placed it on the Tuesday, May 15 ballot. If residents approve the proposal it will fund an estimated $7.151 million worth of projects spread across the district. It will not result in any increase in taxes since the monies already exist in a reserve fund established to cover costs with renovation and reconstruction work.

A week earlier, trustees had approved a smaller proposition before reconsidering and adding several projects to the proposal. The district has about $8.3 million currently available for capital projects. It has been allocating $2 million or more annually to the Building Improvement Fund from general budget surplus monies. Residents have previously authorized the practice, which is viewed as a financially prudent way of covering costs of renovation projects.

Huntington UFSD’s use of capital reserve funds has allowed the district to avoid borrowing large sums of money, incurring interest costs and accumulating debt. The district currently has less than $2 million in long-term debt, which is substantially below almost every other Long Island school district.

“I am pleased that the Board engaged in subsequent conversation on items to include within the capital proposition that will be placed on the May 15 ballot,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “District voters must approve the withdrawal of approximately $7.1 million from monies already situated within the district’s Building Improvement Funds for needed infrastructure upgrades such as roof and boiler replacements.”  

If residents approve release of the Building Improvement Fund monies, the district will be able to complete all of the projects without needing to bond or borrow any of the funds necessary. There will no tax rate impact if the funds are released. The district will also be eligible to be reimbursed by the state for approximately 37 percent of final costs.

The projects that will be on the May 15 ballot include:

Flower Hill Primary School
• Install a security vestibule addition: $100,000
• Replacement of the building’s roof: $1,560,000
Jefferson Primary School
• Replacement of the building’s roof: $1,500,000
• Tile replacement in two student and three faculty bathrooms: $65,000
Southdown Primary School
• Replacement of the building’s roof: $1,560,000
Washington Primary School
• Install a security vestibule addition: $100,000
Woodhull Intermediate School
• Replace two boilers: $800,000
• Tile replacement in 12 classroom bathrooms: $36,000
• Renovate and repave the parking lots: $705,000
J. Taylor Finley Middle School
• Replace floor tiles and install new seating in the LGI/Auditorium: $600,000
Huntington High School
• Replace two “roll-up” doors: $125,000
Total: $7,151,000 (Estimated and subject to bidding.)

Should the proposition pass on May 15, the district’s architectural and engineering firm of BBS will formally design each of the projects and submit the plans to the State Education Department for approval. Once SED approval is received, the district will seek bids for the work. District officials are hopeful that the bids will come in below estimates, lowering the cost of the projects.

“In that our buildings are in the neighborhood of 60 years old and in that it also takes time to for the state to approve project plans, it is very important that the process begin promptly,” Mr. Polansky said. “Again, in that the funding already exists, the projects will not cost the taxpayers a dime. The projects would have no impact on the tax levy or rate.  It is also important for residents to recognize that the monies in the Building Improvement Funds can be used legally for no purpose other than capital project work. If not approved for use, the monies would remain in the accounts unused.”

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