Questions and Answers about the December 21 vote

Questions and answers about the December 21 capital project

When and where is the vote?

Voting will be held from 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 21 at these locations:

  • OESJ Junior/Senior High School auditorium, 44 Center St., St. Johnsville
  • OESJ Elementary School auditorium, 6486 State Highway 29, St. Johnsville

If you have any questions about where you vote, contact District Clerk Stephanie Bonk at or by calling (518) 568-7280.

Will taxes go up because of this project?

No, this capital project will not create any additional cost to taxpayers. The project will be financed using funds from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund. The balance of the Capital Reserve Fund as of June 30, 2021= $8,375,519. The amount requested for the project is $5.9 million.

What are the funds in the Capital Reserve Fund able to be used for?

For the purpose of financing the construction of, general improvements, reconstruction, renovations or additions to the school district’s buildings, including site work and the acquisition of original furnishings, equipment, machinery or apparatus required for the purpose for which such buildings are to be used.

What are the benefits and advantages of a synthetic turf field?

  • Increased playability
  • Increased flexibility for our PE program
  • Lower maintenance cost than a grass field
  • Environmental – Saves water, eliminates use of fertilizer/pesticides
  • No effects from harsh winters and frost
  • Provides an outdoor facility that our students, staff, and community can benefit from and be proud of.
  • Potential revenue generator

How long will it last and how much does it cost to maintain it?

Synthetic turf surfaces last approximately 12-15 years and the costs to maintain them are minimal compared to grass surfaces. Special equipment is included in the project with the field to maintain the playing surface to increase its life expectancy.

Can we repair the grass fields we currently use for soccer games?

The Village of St. Johnsville has been working with the district for some time now to try to transfer the cemetery field to us. Unfortunately, it has not worked out. SED will not allow construction on property that is not owned by the school district. The field the district owns behind the housing authority is used for practices but it is not regulation size so it cannot be used for games, and certainly not for sectional games. Renovating that field will require a lot of earth work but we have the room to do it. We are confident that using the reserve funds for this project will work best for students and the district as a whole.

Will increased costs for supplies, maintenance or bids endanger the future of our reserve?

The district has adhered to the 3, 5 and 10 year financial plans that we have developed with our financial planners and it has served us well. At a meeting earlier this fall, our auditor commented that we are the only school that they audit that is in a positive net cash position. We have updated our financial plans to include the costs for building and maintenance of the proposed field and those models still meet our goals. If the voters approve this project, we
would not be able to exceed the $5.9 million for unexpected incidental costs.

Is the field proposed in this project regulation size?

Yes, the field will meet the regulations to hold practices, host games and even sectionals.

Will there be bathrooms available at the field?

Our initial designs are very conservative and do not include bathrooms on site at the field; however, provisions for water and sewer are included. This plan shows the basic scope of what we hope to accomplish with this project. Once we receive SED approval we can move forward with the fine design and bidding process which may provide an opportunity for savings and allow us to include bathrooms as well as other items. In the two previous projects, we were able to stretch our dollars further and include many alternates to our initial design because bids came in lower than projected.

Will this project harm the environment?

No. All projects must undergo a strict State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEORA) review before approvals are granted.

Do synthetic turf surfaces create any health or safety concerns?

Independent research concludes there are no proven detrimental health effects from playing on artificial fields. We will work closely with the architect to make sure that we look very closely into the safety of the material being used on the playing surface.

How will drainage to the lower parts of Averill, Monroe and Main streets be impacted?

There are many factors that create erosion below the school’s campus. The field will have water storage containers installed underneath it so that when it precipitates, the water will permeate through the surface of the field and water will be stored in the containers to be released slowly; therefore, reducing the amount of runoff to the environment below.

Is snow removal required?

No, the field can withstand snow and it is not recommended that the field is plowed. The installation includes a groomer and a sweeper for maintenance, but maintenance is much less of an expense than with a grass field.

Does the turf have to be sanitized?

Yes, at times the field may have to be sanitized. For example, if there is blood on the field, that area should be sanitized.