Huntington School Board members have finalized a capital reserve fund proposition and placed it on the Tuesday, May 21 ballot. If residents approve the proposal it will fund an estimated $3.846 million worth of projects. 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.
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 about $1.5 million in long-term debt, which is substantially below almost every other Long Island school district.
“A carefully considered, rolling five-year capital plan permits us to review our infrastructure needs annually and prioritize based on building conditions and funding availability,” Superintendent James W. Polansky. “Use of reserves in this regard has allowed Huntington to reduce its debt to extraordinarily low levels by school district standards.”
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 21 ballot include:
Huntington High School
- Replacement of the original set of boilers that are more than 60 years old: $1.5 million
- Partial roof replacement: $1 million
- Turf athletic field replacement: $650,000
- Perimeter safety netting system enhancement and replacement at the turf athletic field: $55,000
- Replacement of goal posts at the turf athletic field: $41,000
- Building total: $3.246 million
J. Taylor Finley Middle School
- Replacement of the building’s original student lockers that are 54 years old: $600,000
- Building total: $600,000
- District total: $3,846,000
Should the proposition pass on May 21, 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.
The Huntington School District is in a strong position to pursue possible renovation and repair projects with nearly $4.5 million held in capital reserve fund accounts. By maintaining a well-funded reserve, the district can avoid borrowing costs to upgrade its facilities.
The district currently maintains three Building Improvement Funds, one approved by residents in May 2013 that contains $1,231,498; another authorized in May 2017 that contains $2,681,210 and a third created in May 2018 that contains $565,824.
The monies in the capital reserve fund represent dollars already provided to the district by taxpayers that, because of tight fiscal management and economizing, weren’t needed to pay for regular school operations. The source of the funding is the annual transfer of surplus monies from the district’s general fund.
Since May 2016, district residents have approved $11.231 million worth of capital reserve projects during May balloting. The district will receive millions of dollars in state aid reimbursements over the next 15 years.