Public Vote To Determine Sherman Central School Construction Projects

SHERMAN — A public vote on Dec. 18 will determine the future of Sherman Central School District, and superintendent Michael Ginestre is doing all he can to make sure voters are well informed about it.

Ginestre has been attending meetings in the town and village making presentations on the vote, which sets two propositions for capital building projects before voters. The first proposition concerns repairs and improvements to the current facility. The second proposition involves new construction consisting of a gymnasium and classrooms.

“We are trying to go to a place where our students are competitive and have the same opportunities as any student in the state,” Ginestre said. “We are not going to sit on our hands and watch the world go by us.”

On Oct. 22, the Sherman Board of Education members voted unanimously to move forward with the propositions by holding a public vote. A public hearing on the vote is scheduled for today.

Proposition No. 1, which is based on the current condition of the building, carries an approximate cost of $3.6 million. By far, the “biggest ticket item” of this is the roof, Ginestre said. The roof is more than 20 years old, he said, and has several leaks which the maintenance department has been continually patching. The projected cost to replace the roof is $2.2 million, he said.

Other aspects of the proposition include creating a secure entrance, where visitors are not admitted until they have been checked out; moving the main office to the entrance where the library is currently located; moving the library to where the current office is located; replacing sidewalks that have been crumbling; replacing catch basins, as well as the chimney; and replacing worn plumbing fixtures.

Proposition No. 1 can pass on its own, Ginestre said. However proposition No. 2 can only be passed if the first is passed as well. Proposition No. 2 involves new construction, including a new gymnasium, a special education classroom, a STEAM room and a secure entrance in the back of the building at an estimated cost of $2.2 million.

Much of the cost of both propositions can be funded through the New York State Building Aid, Ginestre said. The district’s local share of $400,000 will come from the capital reserve and general reserve, he said.

Should Proposition No. 1 be passed by itself, the tax levy would be increase by .067 percent, Ginestre said. Based on a home assessed at $100,000, this translates into $4 a year for residents without the STAR exemption; $3 a year for those with the exemption and $1 a year for those with the senior STAR exemption.

If both propositions are passed, taxes are estimated to increase by 5.17 percent, Ginestre said. This translates into $46 per year for no STAR exemption; $32 per year for those with STAR; and $15 per year for those with senior STAR.

Ginestre has presented information on the propositions at least four meetings of municipal organizations. At these meetings, he has stressed that Sherman is the only district in the county that has only one gymnasium. Because of New York State requirements that each student must have at least 40 minutes of physical education per day, the entire school schedule has to be built around the gymnasium schedule, he said.

Furthermore, it is very difficult to schedule extra-curricular sports and activities, Ginestre said. Some students have scheduled practices that end as late as 10:30 p.m., he said.

“There are students in the gym every moment of the day. We have one of the longest days in the county because of the gym,” Ginestre said. “The addition of classrooms and a gymnasium will not only provide our students with opportunities in emerging fields, but will be used by the entire community to enhance the education, health, and well being of us all.”

Security is a main issue in both propositions. Secure entrances in the front and back of the school would establish a double-door in which the visitor would pass the first door, but could not enter the school until signed in and approved.

Voting on the two propositions will take place in the school Dec. 18 from noon-9 p.m.