Story by Shelley R. Clapper
At the Warwick Valley Central School District Board of Education meeting on Mon., Oct. 17, Superintendent Dr. David Leach reported that the Board is considering a $10.8 million capital project, which will include repairs and renovations to all of the District schools with no additional cost to taxpayers. If approved by voters, the capital project would have no direct tax impact. State aid will pay for 63.8 percent of the cost or $6.9 million and money set aside in the Districts capital reserve fund will cover the balance.
Dr. Leach explained that the Districts fiscal approach is to fund capital projects without any additional cost to local taxpayers and this will be accomplished by leveraging state aid. The state reimburses principal and interest costs for eligible capital improvement projects at about 64 percent.
Dr. Leach said that the average increase in taxes over the past three years is 1.06 percent and the average increase in taxes over the past five years is 1.66 percent. “This approach will be important to maintain,” said Leach.
Highlights of the District Capital Project
Dr. Leach went over some of the highlights of the capital project. At Park Ave Elementary School the plan is to install building-wide air conditioning, upgrade the 1929 water system and replace classroom flooring that is failing.
At Sanfordville Elementary School, the project will include repaving the student drop-off parking lot, replacing the floor in the cafeteria and converting water heaters from oil to natural gas.
At the Warwick Middle School, the library/media center, instructional and office space will be renovated.
At the High School, the capital projects include repaving the parking lot, resurfacing the track, upgrading instructional space, repairing the greenhouse, updating bathrooms, replacing the central electrical system, and replacing a small generator.
A public hearing on the project will be held on Mon., Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. and the vote on the Capital Project will take place on Thurs., Dec. 7.
Vision Screening at Elementary Schools
On Thurs., Oct. 12, 70 kindergarten students at Park Ave Elementary School participated in Kidsight, a Lions Club community service program that provides a simple, non-invasive and cost-free vision screening test for young children. Dr. Leach said that parents were notified of their child’s results and, based on financial need, the Lion’s Club has arranged for participating physicians to provide free follow-up exams and eyeglasses. Dr. Leach said that Sanfordville Elementary School will take advantage of this as well.
Mental Health Panel at Middle School
Dr. Leach reported that at the middle school seventh grade health classes assembled a series of questions for a mental health panel consisting of middle school guidance counselors, school psychologists and administrators. He said that questions from students addressed a variety of topics regarding mental health and advice on staying mentally and physically healthy during the middle school years.
College Kick-Off Night
College Kick-Off Night was held on Thurs., Sept. 28 in the high school auditorium and it was very well attended. The evening, presented by the Guidance Department, provided an opportunity for parents and students to learn about the college application and admissions process.
Uncommon Athlete Program
Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler introduced the Uncommon Athlete Program to Orange County schools last year, a program led by former Texas Tech and Tennessee Titans quarterback Cody Hodges. The goal is to help student athletes excel at their sports and to realize their potential as future leaders. The Uncommon Athlete Program was presented to varsity athletes in Warwick on Thurs., Oct. 12 and Dr. Leach reported that it was well received.
The District’s independent auditor, Ray Preusser, presented the annual audit report to the Board. Preusser said that overall the District’s financial situation is strong. He also said that the asset/liability ratio continues to increase with the assets growing much greater than the liabilities.
Board President Lynn Lillian thanked him saying, “We appreciate the work you have done in the last couple of years.”
Open House for Greenwood Lake Students
Dr. Leach said that Greenwood Lake parents, guardians and students are invited to attend an open house on Wed., Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Warwick Valley High School. The evening will provide an opportunity to tour the building, meet administrators, faculty and students, learn about classes and programs, and have any questions answered.
Dr. Leach said that Warwick H.S. offers 14 Advanced Placement courses, 20 honors courses, eight college courses, a senior project, 45 student clubs, over 55 athletic teams, student drama, art and music, job shadowing, student government, a leadership academy, and in-house CTE courses in Cosmetology, Law Enforcement and Video Production. This year 165 students from Greenwood Lake are attending Warwick High School.
Exemplary Music Student
Board President Lynn Lillian introduced WVHS senior Chloe Borthwick as an exemplary music student during the performing arts moment. Chloe played the piano and sang her own composition, which she referred to as an “angsty teen ballad.” Besides being an award winning singer, songwriter and a pianist, Chloe is also a talented oboe player.
Next Board Meeting – Nov. 13
The next regular Board meeting will be held on Mon., Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, located at 225 West St. Ext. in Warwick.