Even though Yates County voters narrowly rejected it last week by a margin of just six votes, voters statewide approved the $2 billion New York Bonds for School Technology Act.
Local school officials have known for several months how much money it might bring them, but the problem is, there are no clear guidelines for how the money can be spent and how districts will be able to access funds.
According to information on the New York State Education Department website, the Penn Yan District can expect an allocation of $1.25 million and the Dundee School District can expect to receive over $888,000.
Penn Yan Central School Interim Superintendent Howard Dennis says the district is taking a cautious approach when it comes to this possible one-time funding, and in light of the recent technology capital project approved by voters last year. Under that project, the district was given voter approval this spring to spend over $424,000 in reserved funds to purchase computers and tablets for student use.
The state bond money can also be used for security equipment, but the district already has security upgrades included in a proposed capital project that will be sent to voters Dec. 9. That plan includes $58,000 to upgrade security camera equipment and another $23,000 for a key fob system at Penn Yan Academy.
Dundee Central School Business Manager Melissa Lawson says a team there has been meeting to work on a “wish list” ever since learning about the possible windfall, but again, school officials don’t know what “strings” might be attached to the funds, she says.
In other school district news last week:
• DUNDEE FIELD HOUSE: The Dundee Board of Education scheduled a special meeting for March 2015 for voters to cast ballots on a proposition to spend up to $300,000 to build a field house near the athletic field. A field house had been proposed as part of the major capital project that is wrapping up now, and it was removed from the plans. But School Board President James Koehler said, “We have saved millions beyond what our original project was. It (field house) adds so much to the community, I don’t know how we could not do it.”
The Dundee Sports Boosters organization had been working on raising funds and resources the build a field house. Now, that group can focus on purchasing appliances and furnishings, says Superintendent Kelly Houck.
• VETERANS EXEMPTIONS: The Dundee Board held a public hearing on the proposed veterans exemption on real property Nov. 5. About 50 people attended the hearing, with most speaking in favor of the exemption. Houck noted that two individuals who said they were veterans spoke against the exemption. She said there were no comments from property taxpayers who would not benefit from the exemption. The board will vote on the exemption at its Dec. 11 meeting.
• DONUTS & COFFEE: Houck will be hosting an early morning coffee and donut session for members of the Dundee community from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Nov. 17. She says this is an opportunity for members of the public to talk with her about any topic.