The OESJ school community will consider a capital project on December 13, 2016 that will propel the school district well into the 21st century. The project includes improvements at both school buildings that will strengthen learning for thousands of students today and in the future. Additionally, these improvements will be done at NO COST TO THE TAXPAYERS of OESJ. To view the district information packet, click here.
The community will consider the $24.016 million capital project during a vote to be held on December 13, from 12 noon to 8 p.m. in the Junior/ Senior High School gym (44 Center Street, St. Johnsville) and the OESJ Elementary School (6486 State Highway 29, St. Johnsville). A public hearing on the project will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 5 in the auditorium of the Jr/Sr High School, 44 Center Street, St. Johnsville.
The proposal, thanks to merger aide, a high state reimbursement rate and money already set aside for construction, will have NO impact on the tax rate. Why is that? New York State is paying 98 percent of the bill thanks to the merger of the Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school districts in December 2012 to create the combined Oppenheim-Ephratah -St. Johnsville (OESJ) Central School District. With that merger, came an increase in state aid to ease the transition.
98 cents on a $1 – a hard offer to pass up. But that offer from the state expires 10 years after the merger – or in 2023.
Over the past few years, the Board of Education, anticipating a future capital project vote, has also set aside about $4.2 million in capital project reserves. That money will more than cover any local costs or items that will not be reimbursed fully by the state.
At the Junior/Senior High School, the project calls for upgrading and moving science classrooms and labs that will allow students to work without bumping into each other, expansion of technology and agriculture classrooms and shops, moving the main office so it is located near the main entrance and establishing a secure entry point, making improvements to the music rooms, moving the OESJ district office, and creation of a guidance office suite to better serve students planning their futures beyond high school.
At the elementary school, a new auditorium and stage would be added to allow for school-wide assemblies and other large-group productions to be held, several classrooms and music rooms would be upgraded (many are former high school classrooms with lab tables and drains), the lobby would be enlarged to improve security at the door, the cafeteria would be upgraded to allow for better student flow and use, computer storage would be added to the library and the guidance office/psychologist and nursing space would be updated.
Many of the improvements were suggested upgrades in the state-mandated Building Condition Survey, a study every school district has to undertake every five years to ensure that conditions in the schools continue to be safe and healthy.The Building Condition Survey items would total $1.405 million at the Junior/Senior High School and $1.97 million at the elementary. Those include items like replacing the leaking roofs at both buildings, improving handicap accessibility, adding security cameras, adding efficient LED lighting and upgrading fire alarms.
The elementary school roof is leaking in many spots. Here, the staff has developed a capture method with garbage cans and plastic sheets to divert water away from the school’s email and computer server – a piece of equipment worth thousands of dollars.
Leaking roofs were a problem at both buildings even before the 2012 merger. They have gone way beyond their useful life. Above, at the elementary school, leaks are often discovered near electric components.
Under OESJ’s 1-to-1 Chromebook Program in grades 6-12, every student receives a laptop computer to use for work at school and at home. Above, grade 7 technology students crowd into a classroom at the Jr./Sr. High School for class.
The existing office area will be renovated to accommodate a guidance suite and other student support functions. This main entry will be identified as the main entrance and made more secure with a waiting area. Right now, the door opens into a hallway with students passing and across the hall from classrooms.
The Jr./Sr. High School will be upgraded in many ways. This is a picture from the nurse's bathroom. The offices will be renovated in the December 13 project.