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Building project

Frequently asked questions

Q. How were the renovation project needs determined?

A. At the start of the 2006-07 school year, Guilderland Central School District was notified by the state that it was eligible to receive $1.78 million in EXCEL aid. To explore how the district might best utilize these funds, the Board of Education authorized the formation of a committee to examine the needs of the district’s facilities with particular emphasis on the following areas:

Renovations in each of the district’s five elementary schools;

District wide technology improvements;

Safety and security improvements;

Options for future district office space; and

Maximizing the use of $1.78 million dollars in EXCEL aid.

Guided by the district’s architects, the Facilities Committee—made up of administrators, teachers and district staff, Board members, parents, and community volunteers—met throughout the spring to assess conditions within the seven school buildings, touring facilities and talking with staff.

Q. What makes these projects our highest priority?

A. The goal of the proposed building project is to protect the community’s investment in its schools by addressing necessary internal and external improvements focusing primarily on the five elementary school buildings. These needs have not been addressed on a comprehensive basis when compared to the high school and middle school which had large scale referendums approved by district residents in 1995 and 2001, respectively.

Many of the items identified by the Facilities Committee as requiring attention at the elementary level are health and safety concerns (traffic patterns, ventilation, asbestos abatement, lighting, etc.), or through their failure, have the potential to disrupt the educational process (heating systems and roofs in need of replacement, upgrades to electrical systems, etc.). These needs will not go away.

With respect to technology, over the past ten years the district has annually allocated $200,000 to $250,000 for equipment and hardware to support well over 5,000 students and more than 1,000 employees. However, this approach by itself will never enable the district to surge forward or reach the “cutting edge” in the ever-changing world of instructional technology. The plan outlined by the Facilities Committee will enable the district to institute much needed improvements in technology infrastructure and equipment well beyond the capacity of its annual budget.

In addition to structural concerns, the current district office building suffers from poor heating and ventilation systems, inadequate site drainage, an overburdened electrical system, and is at capacity with respect to both workspace and conference areas. By relocating the offices to the High School, versus making major renovations of the current site, the district will not only be eligible to receive NYS building aid on the project but will also be initiating a much needed long-term solution.

Q. What is EXCEL aid?

A. EXCEL (EXpanding our Children’s Education and Learning) is a new state aid program designed to assist school districts in improving their buildings and facilities. The amount received by each eligible school district was based on enrollment numbers. Guilderland is eligible for $1.78 million.

By law, EXCEL aid may only be applied to school improvements made in the following areas: health and safety, energy management, accessibility, education technology, and/or space renovations. It cannot be applied to the school budget or used to lower taxes.

There is no provision for the EXCEL aid program to be continued after this year—it is a one-time offer to school districts that expires in April 2008. If Guilderland chooses to not utilize its EXCEL aid, the funds would be re-appropriated by the state to other school districts. 

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