The Putnam Examiner

Carmel BOE Re-Considers Bond Referendum

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In looking back on the bond referendum it held as a standalone vote this past October, the Carmel Board of Education admits that it took some wrong turns. The $5 million proposal was defeated 739 to 368 and the board must consider the options as to what to do now.

At the school board meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 27, the board discussed some of the things that did not work out in the proposal’s favor.

“We put forth the bond referendum to try to do work that is necessary for the district and it is not necessarily for a select group of students… group of parents… group of board members,” said School Board President Richard Kreps. “It is necessary to maintain our facilities for a community as a whole.”

The first issue that was identified was changing the voting to only being held at the high school, which at the time was considered a centralized location.

“I thought it was a great idea when we came up with it,” admitted Board Member William Shilling. “Looking back in hindsight I think it was a terrible idea.”

The board unanimously agreed to go back to the previous voting districts –at Kent Elementary, Matthew Paterson Elementary and Carmel High School that were in place prior to the October vote.

“People who take the train in Patterson, do not mind stopping by Mathew Paterson to vote, but they do not want to get in their car and drive all the over to the high school,” said Board Member Jennifer Dougherty.

The October bond proposal included 11 projects that were chosen from a longer list of items amassed during a review of district facilities. They included the replacement of the turf field and the resurfacing of the track, both of which were done eight years ago; a reconstruction of the D-Zone; replacement of 30-year-old boilers; replacement of uni-ventilators and replacement of an electrical switch gear, both of which are 50 years old; replacement of corridor lighting, upgrade of a telephone system, replacement of the home side bleachers that are 30 years old, renovation of two bathrooms near the guidance department and the expansion of the student fitness center.

Feedback from the community will assist the board in determining what to do now.

Board Member James Reese said that when he sat in on the community forum he heard the residents loud and clear.

“What really came through at the forum for me were trust, transparency and process,” he said.

The board members want to revisit the items included on the bond, especially the fitness center that several people in the community spoke out about.

The projects referred to in the bond will be open topics at the school board’s monthly Facilities & Transportation Committee meetings.

“The meeting is open to the public,” said Board Member Eric Mittelstadt. “People can come to it and give us feedback.”

The board has not determined when it will put up a referendum again.

The next Facilities and Transportation meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Carmel High School Library.


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