OSWEGO –Oswego Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dean Goewey presented a nearly 30-minute dissertation on the district’s proposed $63.1 million capital project at Monday night’s Common Council meeting.
“The school board and I believe that this is a community project,” the superintendent told the council, adding that the district has been doing a lot to promote the capital project.
In March, a similar capital project was defeated.
Then, the cost to the taxpayer was $37.87 (for a $100,000 home).
Some significant variables have changed since then that allow the district to go out on a capital project again, “at a much reduced cost,” Dr. Goewey said.
The district is now applying more reserve funds and has received a boost in building aid from around 62 percent to 86 percent (not all can be applied to this project) currently, Dr. Goewey said.
Now, the breakdown is 75% state aid, 17% retiring debt, 7% capital reserves and just 1% local share.
For $1.15 a year on a $100,000 home the project can be done.
“But, we know that the average home in Oswego is worth $80,000 – so the cost to most homeowners in Oswego will be somewhat less than that,” the superintendent pointed out. “If you have an $80,000 home that would be 92 cents a year for 20 years. So, for less than 20 dollars over 20 years we could do all of this work for teaching and learning space.”
The $63 million project broken down will see $24.7 million at Oswego High School, $13.1 at Oswego Middle School. $12.7 for Leighton, $4.1 for both Kingsford and Fitzhugh, $3.1 for Minetto and $1.1 for Charles E. Riley.
The capital project shows 11.3% of it going toward athletics.
Why is all the athletic stuff included in the project, Dr. Goewey asked rhetorically.
“You have some student athletes in the room and Cub Scouts … they will tell you that this is necessary work,” he said indicating the large contingent of young people in Monday night’s audience. “These are exterior learning spaces. This is not a $63.1 million sports complex.”
Just 11.3 percent of the project is sports-related “And, I would argue that these kids deserve that 11.3 percent,” Dr. Goewey said. “The board’s not ashamed of it. I’m not ashamed of it. They deserve it, the community deserves it and it’s time to do it!”
He pointed out that other area districts, such as Mexico, Phoenix and others have turf fields.
“Now is our time,” he said. “If one of those (three ancient) boilers at the middle school fails and we have to repair that boiler outside of this capital project, we’re going to pay 100 percent. If this capital project fails and we have to replace the roof at Fitzhugh Park and Kingsford – which we do have to replace – we’re going to have to pay for that 100 percent. So, why wouldn’t we allow NYS building aid to pay 75 percent when ‘our’ building aid has been helping to enhance Mexico, Phoenix and West Genny, J-D and F-M? It’s our time; now’s the time.”
The project would be done in four phases. Phase 1 would commence in June of 2020. Phase 4 would start in June of 2030 and be completed in December 2031.
The public will vote Dec. 18 on the Oswego City School District’s $63.1 million capital project. Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.