Dear DCS Community:
As was released on Friday (July 8), Schenectady County is considering a purchase of the YMCA building and donating the facility back to the school district. Among other things, the school district would use the facility to expand its prekindergarten programming and enhance its athletic programs while reopening for community wellness use and continuing education opportunities.
As with any project, there are undoubtedly questions regarding the financial viability of this project. While the County will be donating the facility, the operations of the building including its maintenance will still certainly have ongoing costs.
Planning is still very much in the beginning stages for this project. The Board of Education has not accepted this donation yet and there are many steps that need to occur before the facility is able to open its doors once again. I did, however, want to share several ways the district plans to offset operational expenses that would mitigate significant tax impacts:
- First, a public process would be used to select a community gym operator to lease space. This operator would essentially rent facility space and act in a similar manner as the YMCA by using membership dues to pay for staffing and programming.
- Second, the district would earn additional ongoing state aid for the expansion of its UPK program. Due to our program’s current waiting list, we do know that there is a need for this expansion. We have also confirmed that the building, once approved by NYSED, will be eligible for aid on future renovations.
- Finally, the district would seek grant funding opportunities available for projects such as this. Though the district has confirmed its eligibility for some large grants and will allocate some of its remaining American Rescue Plan grant allocation toward this project, it is important to remember that grant money is typically for one time (and not ongoing) use. These funds will be helpful for start-up.
We understand that there is considerable interest in this project and want to assure you that we are clear-eyed about both its risks and rewards. I will continue to share details as we enter into this endeavor. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions you might have about this or any other issue.
Dr. James Niedermeier
Superintendent of Schools
Duanesburg Central School District