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F-FCS weighs capital project vote date

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - Updated: 10:31 AM

By NICOLE ANTONUCCI

nicole.antonucci@recordernews.com

FONDA -- The school board may need more time to discuss its $19.8 million capital project before it goes before voters again.

The issue came up during Monday's meeting of the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Board of Education when members discussed setting a date for the bond vote, stating that public notice has to be issued 45 days prior.

The board originally planned to put the new proposal up in September, which would require board approval by the next meeting in August, but members said they are concerned about the lack of discussion that has taken place since May.

"At what point do we discuss what is going in the proposal? Because we need to know that before the notification and we haven't sat down and discussed any of this," board member Mary Frollo said. "We need to figure out what direction we are going in."

Board member Bonnie Couture said she is not comfortable taking any action at this time.

"This is way too quick," she said.

New board member Dennis Egelston said he wants a better understanding of the details before he agrees on the date.

"One thing you have to keep in mind is that Mike [Lewis, also new to the board] and I have not been in on any of the board's discussions on anything with this project," Egelston said. "So you are asking us to go along with what you are suggesting without having to hear what we have to say. There may be something we want to give to you."

Frollo agreed, stating it is not fair for the new board members to make a decision right away.

"I don't think we should rush it," she said.

Board president Matthew Sullivan said the project could be tabled at the next meeting and proposed later.

District treasurer Carey Shultz said he could make another presentation to the board at the Aug. 11 meeting and if the members still don't feel comfortable the date could be pushed back. However, he advised the board not to push the vote beyond the new year.

Couture also asked for the public information committee to reconvene next week to discuss ideas that could be brought to the board. She invited members of the public to participate in the meetings.

The last discussion concerning the bond was in June after it failed to get a super-majority vote at the May election.

"We are trying to put together a package that this community will support," Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said. He reminded the board that they received 58 percent of the vote. "We didn't get the super-majority but more than half gave their support."

At the time the board considered a $450,000 cut, the amount needed for a simple majority vote.

Shultz said since the May 20 vote, there has been a shift in the calculation of the debt limit, which has increased the amount the district can borrow. Originally, for a simple majority vote, the district was able to borrow a maximum of $17.25 million by the year 2017. By shifting the timeline, that number has now jumped to $19.7 million by 2018.

Shultz had advised the board to consider a maximum amount of $19.4 million. When the board discussed where to make the cuts, they had tentatively considered putting the athletic fields up as a second proposition on the ballot.

     

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