Fulton school board approves $15.1 million project with no tax increase

A proposed $15.1 million capital improvement project will not cost Fulton taxpayers an additional cent, according to Fulton City School District Superintendent Brian Pulvino.

Eleventh-grader Vita Dean stands ready to perform for the Fulton Board of Education and others at Tuesday night's school board meeting. Photo by Randy Pellis

by Randy Pellis
FULTON, March 26, 2019 — A proposed $15.1 million capital

improvement project will not cost Fulton taxpayers an additional cent, according to
Fulton City School District Superintendent Brian Pulvino.
State aid to education is expected to cover $13.7 million of the $15.1
million, leaving $1.4 million which the district already has in reserve and intends
to use.
As Kathy Nichols, district business administrator noted at Tuesday night’s
school board meeting, “We don’t have to raise taxes because of this capital
project.”
In fact, she added, according to estimates of the 15-year life of the bond
associated with the project, “We will have a positive cash flow every year. We’ll
actually be making money on the deal.”
According to Pulvino, the project is intended to make improvements to
security, safety, parking lots, the football field and track. Details will be released
once final numbers are known, following the expected approval of the state budget
April 1. Ratification of the district budget will be voted on by the board at its April
24 meeting.
Pulvino said all main entrances to all district buildings will be hardened as
part of the proposed project. Visitors will be stopped between two sets of double
doors as they are checked in and issued badges.
Both the football field and track will be resurfaced at an estimated cost of
$1.4 million that will be paid for out of the district’s reserves.
Pulvino complimented past boards who began setting aside reserve funds in
2007. “Forward thinking has put us in a very good situation,” he said. Using those
funds now in this way, he added, ensured, “we wouldn’t be asking our taxpayers
for any additional funding.”
The annual public vote on the district budget and other matters will be held
May 21. It will be broken down into separate resolutions, those being: the $15.1
million capital improvement project; the purchase of 1 passenger van and 1
wheelchair bus not to cost more than $112,000; a tax, separate from the annual
school district budget, of $434,352 for the continuing support and maintenance of
the Fulton Public Library; to elect 2 members to the Board of Education for 3-year
terms; and the addition of a high school senior to the Board of Education as a nonvoting,
ex officio member.
In other matters, Kelsey Maselli, a physical education teacher at Granby
Elementary, was recognized for being named Elementary Physical Education
Teacher of the Year for the Central North Zone by the NYS Association for Health,
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. New York state is divided into 11
zones. There are 104 schools in the Central North Zone.
Eleventh-grader, Vita Dean on flute, wowed the board and the meeting’s
numerous attendees with a musical interlude of contemporary composer Gary
Schocker’s “Little Flower.” Dean’s musical awards and accomplishments are
numerous. She won first place in the Central New York B-sharp Competition,
along with $600, and will be performing in a winners’ recital at the Munson-
Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica. She was a finalist in the Central Winds
Music Educators Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition, which is presently down
to its final 2 competitors. And she is a flute and piccolo player with the Symphoria
Youth Orchestra, an ensemble that only includes 4 flute players from all of central
New York.
Dean was accompanied on piano by Stephanie Mata, a music teacher at
Fairgrave, Lanigan and G. Ray Bodley schools.
Dean has been playing flute since fifth grade and intends to continue as a
music major in college.
The performance received a standing ovation.
The evening’s meeting started off with a presentation by Susan Traub on
“Blessings in a Backpack,” a community program meant to provide needy students
with extra food they take home.
And last, but certainly not least, the night included a summary of the district’s
impressive athletic accomplishments over this past winter, presented by Athletic
Director Chris Ells.
Superintendent Pulvino saw those as a model for the entire district.
“We’ve never had that many teams at one time get as many awards and
acknowledgments as they did, especially in the winter,” he said. “That was huge.
To me, that’s a testament. Everybody contributing resulted in us being a
championship team. That’s what it’s about. And I think we can be champions in the
classroom as well that way.”