BOND REFERENDUM 2022

Bond Vote

Summary of Bond

The Wantagh School District has developed a plan to enhance school district facilities through a series of significant infrastructure and facility improvement projects. The administrative team has worked with a Capital Improvement Committee to identify critical projects that the district needs to complete over multiple years. These projects will be funded through several sources which include a bond referendum, capital reserve fund and the district budget.

This page contains all the information related to these capital projects and will be updated as information becomes available. 

 

Summary Video Presentation About Bond Referendum

PROCESS

All capital projects, regardless of funding source, go through a similar process from inception to construction and closeout. A critical step in the process is community approval, via a referendum, in order for capital projects to take place. Below is a sample of the various steps surrounding capital projects. This process can take anywhere from 4 to 24 months, mostly depending on the length of time the permitting process takes. 

  1. Architect, Construction Manager & District begin preliminary work. Complete

  2. Solicit input from stakeholders (e.g. committee meetings). Complete

  3. Committee sends recommendations to Board of Education. Complete

  4. State Environmental Quality Review must be completed. Complete

  5. Board of Education finalizes projects for inclusion in referendum and Board of Education adopts resolutions establishing referendum date and scope of projects. In Progress

  6. Community meetings describing the projects and financing. See Community Outreach Section

  7. Legal requirement to advertise the referendum.

  8. Referendum. DECEMBER 6, 2022. Voting will take place at each elementary school. 

  9. After referendum approval, the Architect completes and files Plans and Specifications for building improvements with NYS Education Department (SED).

  10. Receipt of Approval of Plans and Specifications from SED.

  11. Project construction bid forms/packages are distributed to contractors.

  12. Construction bids are received and reviewed, and contracts are awarded.

  13. Project construction commences.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

The following events have been scheduled to provide the community with information about the capital projects.

 

Community Informational Meetings

Wednesday, September 28th          7pm       HS Auditorium

Slide Presentation

Meeting Recording

Monday, October 17th                   7pm       HS Auditorium

Monday November 14th                7pm       HS Auditorium

 

Community Video and Survey

The district will be preparing and releasing a video presentation with details of the capital projects. When released it will be available on this page.

A community survey is being prepared and will be distributed for community feedback about the various capital projects. For those community members for whom the district does not have direct contact via a student, the survey link will be posted here. In addition, community members who wish to receive district information on the capital projects and other district matters may sign up by clicking this link and providing contact information.

Please click HERE for the Community Survey (Survey Now Closed)

Survey Results

 

Other Methods of Communication

Throughout the process, information about the proposed capital projects will be distributed via:

Social media (district Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts)

Email

Newsletter #1

PLANNING

Beginning in July 2017, the District embarked on a process to design and develop a five year Strategic Plan for the District. One result of the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan was the need to focus on capital improvements districtwide. By July of 2019, a Capital Improvement Committee was formed to begin this process. Unfortunately, the committee work never commenced due to COVID. In October 2021, the Committee reconvened. 

After completing its work, the Committee compiled a report which was submitted to the Board of Education for consideration. 

Wantagh UFSD Capital Improvement Committee Report to the Board of Education

At its meeting on April 26, 2022, the Board of Education had its first opportunity to review the committee report and discuss its contents along with input from the district's architect and construction manager. 

April 26, 2022 Presentation

 

FINANCING

School districts have a few options available when it comes to financing capital improvements. The most common are to borrow funds, save and expend from a capital reserve, or the budget. The Board of Education engages the services of a fiscal advisor and bond counsel who are experts in municipal finance transactions to guide them through the process. Dollars needed, debt service payments, state aid implications and estimated cost to district residents are among the items considered during this process. A community referendum, on any proposed capital project is required regardless of the funding source(s) chosen.

This Capital Project Funding Options document provides some relevant details for each funding method. 

Throughout the spring and summer months, the Board of Education and District continued to receive input from its fiscal advisor to evaluate the full project list and potential financing sources. Very early in the process, the Board of Education concluded that while all of the proposed renovations and repairs were necessary, and the recommended improvements would be beneficial to the entire Wantagh community, they wanted to structure any referendum in a manner that gave the community a choice as to the financing of such projects.

In addition, the Board of Education set a target to complete as much of the renovations and repairs as could be accomplished in a manner that was as close to budget neutral as possible. Budget neutral is defined as replacing expiring debt service payments included in the current budget with new debt service payments, net of state aid, at roughly the same level.  

With budget neutrality as the target, the entire project list (with consideration given to the prioritization assigned by the Capital Improvement Committee), was grouped into categories as follows:

Potential Proposition #1:      New debt of $39.5 million             

                                                            Budget neutral

Potential Proposition #2:    Athletic Fields, Playgrounds and District Auditorium totaling $16 million 

$11 per month/$130 annually for average homeowner

Potential Proposition #3: High School Library and Cafeteria, Bathrooms and Kitchens $14 million

$9 per month/$106 annually for average homeowner 

Remaining projects to be financed through the annual budget and/or Capital Reserve.

The specific project details in each category can be found by clicking here.

 

Capital Reserve

Education Law allows a district to establish a capital reserve, fund it and expend funds from this reserve for capital projects. Both the establishment and expenditure of funds from a capital reserve require community approval. When a capital reserve is established it is required to include the following components: maximum amount of money to be deposited, source of the funding, length of time the reserve is permitted to be funded and types of projects the reserve will be used for. 

Wantagh has been using capital reserves since 2014. The first was completely funded and all funds expended and the second is still active. A summary of each is listed below. 

Capital Reserve #1 March 2014

Capital Reserve #2 May 2018

Bonds

Financing capital improvement and repairs through the sale of capital bonds is a financing method used by many municipalities. In the case of a school district, community approval must be secured through a referendum in order to sell municipal bonds. Bonds are sold competitively in the open market and are awarded to the respondent with the lowest net interest cost to the district. There are a host of interrelated events that make the actual financing complex. For example, from the receipt of a building permit to actual construction, length of time the money can be borrowed and held, market conditions and interest rates at the time of borrowing, structuring level repayments in a timeline that closely matches receipt of state aid, are all items to be considered. Most items and the timing of such are outside the control of the Board of Education or the District. As such, the professionals that guide the District through the process, and the decisions that the Board of Education and District make are based on ready available information at the time the decision is made.