Public fails to show for hearing on $12M in school upgrades

By Perry Russom

March 10, 2014 Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 9:45 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton City School District is a week away from knowing whether residents will give them the green light to spend millions of dollars upgrading their schools.

"We need to maintain our infrastructure," said Karry Mullins, assistant superintendent of BCSD. "Our buildings are older, so it's important to maintain them."

The proposed project costs $12 million and will make improvements to 10 schools in the district.

The upgrades include new roofs, drainage systems and updating security.

The cost breakdown is $11.1 million in funds coming from the state and $900,000 coming from the district's reserve fund.

There is a public referendum vote March 17 when taxpayers decide the project should move forward and whether the district should spend $900,000 from its reserves.

Because the district's is proposing to pay $900,000 out of its reserve fund, there will be no increase in taxes.

"We had a survey online that was tied to the budget," said Mullins. "We did ask about the capital project. We had a 96 percent approval rate for those who responded that they would support such a project."

While the district may have the support online, there wasn't much of a turnout at the public hearing Monday night.

The hearing was intended to answer some questions posed by taxpayers.

There were three people in the audience for the district's presentation with one of those being the architect of the project.

Voting will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 17.

The school district must receive 60 percent voter approval to get the go-ahead.

Polling locations:
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School on Prospect Street
Trinity Memorial Church on Main Street
West Middle School on Highland Avenue
Knights of Columbus on Park Avenue
Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School on Ogden Street
Good Shepherd Fairview Home on Fairview Avenue
Benjamin Franklin Elementary School on Conklin Avenue
Sunrise Terrace Community Center on Terrace Avenue

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