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Clymer Improvements Still Needed After ‘No’ Vote

Clymer Central School officials continue to deal with infrastructure issues, such as the water damage in its main office building, despite voters rejecting a $3.75 million capital improvement project in June. Photo by Clymer Central School

The Clymer Central School Board of Education has remained focused on achieving necessary facility repairs and upgrades after its capital improvement project was rejected by voters in early June.

The board had put forth a $3.75 million project aimed at a number of overdue infrastructure improvements, including a roof replacement; applying sealant to exterior walls that have been breached with moisture; upgrades to bathrooms; refinishing the gymnasium floor; replacement of the temperature control system; installation and upgrade of security cameras; and an upgrade to the phone system.

State aid was expected to cover 83% of the costs for the capital project, with voters covering 17% in the form of a tax levy. In addition to the capital project, voters also rejected another proposition covering the purchase of two new buses at a cost of $175,000, but did approve the school budget.

“It didn’t pass but we’re going to run it back up the flag pole; we’re going to make some adjustments,” Board President Ed Mulkearn said of the capital improvements project. “We have some deferred maintenance issues on the building that we really have to address.”

Mulkearn said there are plans to issue an informational mailer to district residents explaining the need for infrastructure improvements.

“We may remove a couple of items off there that aren’t absolutely critical,” Mulkearn said. “I just can’t bring myself to not do everything possible to ensure the safety of the kids in our care.”

While there are some parts of the capital improvement project that can be put on hold, such as resurfacing and maintenance of athletic areas, Mulkearn noted that there are still improvements that ought to be made due to safety concerns.

“There were probably three dozen things that we were going to do. There might be a couple of items that we can remove that aren’t necessarily an issue,” Mulkearn said. “Our roof is 20 years old. We’ve got leaks and we’ve patched it a few times, but it has come to the end of its useful life — it needs to be replaced.

“We have a lot of security issues around our building that we want to address so that we have a nice tight building that we don’t have to worry about people getting in when we don’t want them in.”

Mulkearn noted the water damage issue as one area of pressing need. School districts around New York are anxiously awaiting more information on budget cuts in state funding due to COVID-19 revenue shortfalls. More information on that is expected this month after the New York State Board of Regents meeting.

“We haven’t heard that there are going to be any changes to building aid, there are a number of ways we get aid from the state,” Mulkearn said.

“We’re kind of in a holding pattern. What we did is we prepared three different budget scenarios, and we put the one up to the people. That is the one with what we would expect under normal circumstances to receive from the state. But we have two fallback scenarios that we can draw back to in the event that our aid is cut. If we fall back to those, those are going to mean staff and programming cuts for the school, there won’t be any way around that.”

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