By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — The school district is seeking community input on a possible capital construction project that could bring widespread changes to school facilities.
A “Thoughtexchange” [sic] survey was posted on the district website Friday asking community members to respond to questions about what changes they would like to see in school facilities.
Survey responses will be used to inform a future construction project in the district that could go to a referendum this fall.
The district convened a Facilities Planning Committee comprised of teachers, support staff, parents and guardians, board of education members, high school students and building and district leaders to come up with a proposed construction project.
The committee held its first meeting June 9 and will hold subsequent meetings June 30, July 28, Aug. 11, Sept. 1, and Sept. 22, according to the district.
“We had our first meeting of our Facilities Planning Committee and it was a kick-off where the participants — there were about 15 or 16 people — attended virtually,” District Superintendent Dr. Brian Bailey said at the June 15 meeting of the RCS Board of Education. “We began with a quick review of our past projects.”
The most recent capital project in the district, which began during the 2015-16 academic year, has just been completed. Another smaller project, at $2.3 million, was approved by voters in the May budget vote.
The committee will gather community input, look at past projects, and then come up with a five-year plan for facilities improvements, Bailey said.
The project will also take into consideration a “building condition survey,” required by the State Education Department, that outlined mandated maintenance needs in the district, as well as current and future programmatic needs for the next five years, according to the survey.
The group is asking the community to take part in the decision-making process by completing the survey, which can be found at https://tejoin.com/scroll/778640161 or by scanning the QR code pictured below.
“We worked on the survey that went out to the entire community — questions about what our community priorities are, related to programs and outcomes for students, both in maintaining our existing facilities and doing repairs, and what do we dream about in the future,” Bailey said.
The survey was posted Friday and will close June 28 at 6 p.m. Responses will be kept confidential, according to the district announcement.
After the response period closes, the Facilities Planning Committee is expected to review the survey results at its June 30 meeting and then start prioritizing.
The cost of the capital project is not yet known, but the district plans to try to minimize the impact on taxpayers, Bailey said in a statement.
“The district will also be considering how to utilize expiring debt, grants, state and federal incentives, and our funds from our current Capital Reserves in order to limit or alleviate any potential impact on our taxpayers,” Bailey said.
He encouraged district families and community members to participate in the survey.
“The school district belongs to every taxpayer in the district,” Bailey said. “[We are] thinking about how we are able to share that more broadly with the greater community because it is about families, but it is also about folks who are supporting the endeavors that we are undertaking. Our intention is that anybody in our community will be able to participate.”
The survey period ends June 28 at 6 p.m.