OESJ community to consider a $9.4 million capital project on Feb. 4

Capital project would carry no cost to taxpayers

The OESJ community will be asked to consider a $9.4 million capital project on Feb. 4 that – at no cost to taxpayers – would replace fire alarms, doors, windows, window blinds, lifts at the bus garage and two high school boilers; install new energy-efficient lighting; and paint all classrooms.

Interim Superintendent Joseph Natale said the district would take advantage of the 98% reimbursement provided by the merger incentive state aid from the creation of the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville(OESJ) School District in December 2012. That aid will expire in 2023. The district will use funding from its capital reserve account to ensure that there is no taxpayer cost for this project.

The $24.016 million December 2016 capital project, which is finishing up now, used the majority of the district’s “allowances” in the state’s aid program. Now, three years later, allowances have been restored to allow this proposal to receive full aid.

“We realized that there were several smaller items left out of that (2016) project, things that had to be done and we didn’t want to have to pay full price for them in the future,” said Natale. “Plus, we have been able to replenish the capital reserve, to guarantee that there will be no taxpayer cost associated with this capital project.”

He said the 2016 project was designed to capture larger projects. He also said that some necessary repairs have come up since the 2016 project was developed.

The Board of Education is expected to adopt the project’s State Environmental Quality Review in November and adopt the proposal in December.