Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is a referendum?

A bond referendum is an opportunity for voters to decide whether the school district may borrow money for capital projects. The bond referendum, if approved, would address the district’s facility needs in three key areas – site improvement and repairs, infrastructure improvements and program-related infrastructure enhancements – to prepare the next generation of learners and provide them with expanded opportunities.

Why a bond referendum now?

The facility needs identified in the proposed scope of work must be addressed, and the longer necessary projects are deferred, the costlier they will be. The district has a rare and significant opportunity to make an important investment in our school, with minimal impact on taxes. The approval of the bond referendum will allow us to repair and improve our building, keep us competitive with other high-performing districts offering innovative learning opportunities, address the aging Chambers Field and elementary school playground, and allow us to complete the flood mitigation project. The cost of these repairs, renovations and upgrades cannot be absorbed into the regular operating budget without significantly impacting taxes or instructional programming for students.

Will the projects be completed in one phase or will they be spread among several phases?

It is expected that the work will be completed in multiple phases.

When is the vote scheduled to take place?

The referendum vote is scheduled to take place on March 13, 2018.

How was the scope of this project determined?

Over the past several years, we have purposely deferred construction on critical maintenance and improvement projects to coincide with the 2020 maturity of debt incurred in the last major building construction project (the “C wing” project in 1999). By doing so, any new debt would be tax-neutral to the Village taxpayers. We have reviewed and obtained input on the critical needs of the school with parents, staff, students, the Bronxville School Foundation, the PTA and our Community Advisory Committee, which includes representation from  all constituencies in the Bronxville Village. While the needs are greater, we have scaled back and prioritized the projects to ensure there are no additional taxes (related to the new bond) in the year of the new referendum.

What’s included in this bond?

A list of the items included in the bond and their associated costs can be found on our website at: Facilities Planning Information.
 

If approved, when would construction start and what is the estimated time frame to complete the projects?

Following voter approval of the bond, the district’s architect would prepare plans for the listed projects for submittal to the State Education Department for their approval. While certain projects can be expedited – i.e., the site improvement work consisting of the Chambers Field replacement, the elementary school playground and the flood mitigation pumps – the majority of the projects will take at least eight months to receive state approval. Once that approval is received, the district can go out for bid on the projects. Other than the site improvement work, we would not expect the other project work to begin until the spring of 2020. Barring any unusual circumstances, we would anticipate substantial completion of the work by the fall of 2021.

Would construction impact students or staff?

No, work will take place either over the summer months or during nights, weekends and regularly scheduled school closures to prevent any disruption to the education of our students.

Don’t we budget for these improvements?

Capital improvements of this scale cannot be included in the operating budget without impacting the tax levy in a significant way. Using a bond spreads out the cost over a longer period of time and mitigates the annual tax impact. Since implementation of the New York State legislated tax cap, which limits the increase of operating budgets to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, it has become very difficult, if not impossible, to raise revenue for large-scale projects. Over the past six years, the district’s operating budgets have averaged a 1 percent increase.

I thought we completed the flood mitigation project. Why didn’t we install all five pumps?

The initial flood mitigation project called for the installation of five pumps, which were to be paid for from a combination of FEMA money ($5.67 million) and equal shares from the Village of Bronxville and the school district. The recommendation was to install five pumps to provide protection against a 100-year flood. The bids on the project came in at $11.2 million. The decision was made to install two pumps (protection against a 25-year flood), as well as the infrastructure to support the additional three pumps. The proposed bond includes funds to purchase and install the remaining three pumps.

Is it possible that the project priorities will change after bids are received? Do we get an opportunity to vote again if a decision is made to leave some projects out?

Contingency and escalation costs are included in the budget for the bond proposal. In the unlikely event that bids are received that are significantly over budget, the administration and Board of Education would develop a priority list. There would not be a public revote if this occurs, since the district is only authorized to spend up to the amount approved by voters. Certainly, there would be discussion at BOE meetings where the public would have the opportunity to provide input.

Will the Chambers Field replacement include organic infill?

Yes, the plan is to use organic infill that is similar to that used on the new Hayes Field.

What has been the history of bond votes in Bronxville?

Date

Amount

Yes 

Votes

%

No

Votes

%

Total Votes

6/1999

C – wing

$22,250,000

1,333

76.61

407

23.39

1,740

11/2001

Additional construction

$6,050,883

925

73.24

338

26.76

1,263

1/2004

Additional

construction

$2,903,500

540

73.27

197

26.73

737

2/2007

Roofing

$800,000 cap reserve

($489,662 bond)

219

83.27

43

16.73

262

7/2007

Flood

$12,200,000

354

65.80

184

34.20

538

10/2012

Auditorium

$4,500,000

490

71.64

194

28.36

684

1/2015

Flood mitigation

$900,000

868

94.04

55

5.96

923

1/2015

Hayes Field

To withdraw $2.2 million from cap reserve fund

452

49.02

470

50.98

922

5/2015

Hayes Field

To withdraw $1.8 million from cap reserve fund

951

63.53

546

36.47

1,497

Funding/Tax Impact information

Where is the funding coming from? Who is paying for this?

The total amount of the bond used to fund the project is $24.8 million. The district will be using approximately $3 million from its capital reserve account to reduce the principal amount. The amount to be funded through a bond issuance is $21.8 million. In addition, we anticipate receiving state aid of approximately 10-20% of the total project. State aid can only be used towards the bond projects and will help reduce the amount of debt payments over time.

The proposed bond project is tax-neutral, meaning the district will not need to raise additional tax revenue to support it. This is due to expiring debt from an earlier bond, which will retire in 2020, when the debt for this bond will start.

Can this money be used for any other purpose?

No, the district can only borrow the amount of funds detailed on the ballot and can only use those funds for the purposes specified. The Board cannot increase the amount being borrowed after voter approval.

How much would taxes go down if the district did not do a referendum?

Due to the maintenance and infrastructure needs of a 100-year-old building, the option of doing nothing is not realistic. Approximately half the cost of the referendum is for end-of-life maintenance and repair items, i.e., roofs, brick pointing/masonry, building envelope repairs and field replacement. The BOE strategically planned for this referendum to coincide with expiring debt in order to minimize the tax impact. If there was no referendum, the tax decrease, which would begin after the 2019-2020 school year, would be $463 per million dollars of assessed home value. (Bronxville is at fully assessed value.)

Voting Questions

Who may vote?

You may vote if you are a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older as of March 13, 2018, claim legal residency in the Village of Bronxville for at least 30 days prior to March 13, 2018, and are not otherwise prohibited from voting under the provisions of NYS Election Law.

For further information/clarification, contact Connie Lourentzatos, District Clerk, at 914-395-0500, ext. 1316 or by email at clourentzatos@bronxvilleschool.org.

Where can I obtain a vote-by-mail application?

The absentee ballot can be found at this link: https://www.boarddocs.com/ny/tbs/Board.nsf/files/8NLTUM791517/$file/Application%20for%20Absentee%20Ballot.pdf or by visiting the district homepage.

What time will polls be open and where do I vote on March 13, 2018?

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the school’s Blue Gym.