FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grand Island, NY November 21, 2006 – The New York State Department of Education has assured school districts around the state including Grand Island Central School District that they will receive the additional State Aid in the form of EXCEL aid. For Grand Island that means $1,037,008 to help reduce the local share of any new building project approved by the Commissioner and with contracts signed after April 1, 2006, thereby allowing the district to maintain its facilities at no cost to the taxpayer. "This is a clear investment in the future," said Grand Island’s Assistant Superintendent Loraine Ingrasci. "We are trying to maximize the use of EXCEL aid to do more capital work."
The additional monies are being made available to school districts across the state through the Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning initiative (EXCEL), which was approved as part of the 2006 New York State Budget. Now that the use of EXCEL is more defined, it means that if Grand Island Central School District residents pass the $3.9 million school facilities project in December, they will not only receive 71.5% in state aid, but an additional $1,037,008 of EXCEL to pay the 28.5% local share. This would result in $3.9 million in repairs, etc at no cost to the taxpayer. Voters will decide on December 12, 2006.
“The timing of the school facilities project allows Grand Island Schools the opportunity to use the EXCEL funding.” Grand Island Central School District Assistant Superintendent Loraine A. Ingrasci said, “Excel funding is a time limited opportunity to receive this additional state aid.” School District officials said such projects are an important part of keeping buildings in good working order by taking care of basic things such as the roofs and heating and ventilation systems. Standards of what an acceptable school building looks like varies from community to community, there are certain standards that everyone insist are met, such as safety.
The District is committed to continuing to provide up to date and accurate details of the scope of the school facilities project including costs and tax impact. That information is available and will continue to be for residents through a variety of information opportunities that will happen in the up coming months including:
•New roof for 30 year old middle school roof
•Fixing masonry on all buildings.
•Providing new phone system with caller ID for the district.
Basically, EXCEL works like this: When a school district does a building project, state building aid covers most of the cost, sometimes as high as 90 percent or more. But there is always a share that local taxpayers must pay. Districts can use EXCEL aid to help cover this local share, in effect leveraging one aid category with another.
Public Vote Information Presentations informing Grand Island Residents about the Building Renovations Project will be held:
11/27/06 Board of Education Meeting: 7:00 pm Sidway Fitness Center
11/28/06 Public Information Presentations: 6:00 pm High School Auditorium
(presentations run consecutively) 7:00 pm
12/4/06 Grand Island Town Board Meeting 8:00 pm Grand Island Town Court Room
The Building Renovations Project Vote will be held on Tuesday, December 12, 2006. Polls are located at the Grand Island High School Foyer and will be open from 7:00 am – 9:00 pm. For absentee voter information, please call the District Clerk at 773-8801.