EducationGovernmentThe Putnam Examiner

Brewster School Board to Ask Voters to Approve $83M for Projects

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The Brewster School Board unanimously approved a resolution last week calling for a community vote in March for residents to consider more than $83 million in capital projects.

School officials maintained the two separate propositions voters will be presented with on Tues., March 21 will address needed infrastructure repairs and educational enhancements throughout the district and have been designed to secure maximum state aid.

“This is the result of a great deal of work and research over the past two years by our Facilities Committee and takes into consideration the results of a state mandated facilities review that was conducted in 2021,” Board President Kerry Cunningham said. “We believe our students deserve the best was can offer and the projects included in the two propositions will not only address infrastructure upgrades, but will enhance the learning experience for our students.”

Proposition 1, set at just under $60 million, would cover high priority infrastructure improvements across all four school buildings and campuses in the district, including roofs, boilers, paving repairs, replacing of the existing synthetic turf field at the high school, and replacement of the existing track and installation of a new synthetic turf field within it.

The project also features a security vestibule expansion and increased parking at Brewster High. At C.V. Starr Intermediate School, a new cafetorium, as well as the renovation of the existing cafeteria into new classroom spaces, are also planned.

School officials stressed Proposition 1 would be “entirely tax neutral,” meaning it would not lead to an increase in school taxes, since it is anticipated the district would be reimbursed by New York State for approximately $31.3 million and the projects would be further offset by expiring debt and funds “on-hand” earmarked for capital improvements. The remaining portion would be funded through the issuance of a tax-exempt serial bond to be repaid over 15 to 20 years.

Proposition 2, finalized at $23.1 million, has an estimated tax impact of approximately $20 annually, or $1.65 per month, per $100,000 of taxable assessed value. Proposition 2 can only be approved if Proposition 1 passes.

Included in Proposition 2 is the construction of an indoor field house and collegiate-style fitness center at Brewster High for use by interscholastic and youth sports programs, as well as the performing arts program, and other school and community groups in need of a spacious indoor facility.

The proposition would also cover indoor renovations that would create space for a state-of-the-art STEAM lab, allowing for experiential career and technical opportunities for students interesting in learning a trade.

Before settling on the propositions, the Board of Education solicited public input through the use of surveys and community forums, and continues to welcome comments and suggestions.

“The proposal supports the Brewster Vision 2026 Strategic Planning objective of a dynamic learning environment that is safe and allows for optimal learning conditions and opportunities to develop individual strengths that lead to post-secondary success,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Laurie Bandlow.

Informational sessions on the propositions are slated to be held Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Brewster High, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. at C.V.Starr Intermediate School, and March 14 at 9:15 a.m. at JFK Elementary School.

The last day for registration for residents to vote is March 15. Voting on March 21 will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Brewster High.

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