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Property purchase vote set for Jan. 23

MORE Information

 Jan. 23 public vote graphic

 
Read the Land Purchase Proposal Newsletter:

Graphic of newsletter front page

Watch the video to see why the land is needed:

Video: Why do we need the land?

All meetings are open to the public.

December 11, 2017:
  • Board of Education meeting and PUBLIC HEARING on the property purchase vote -- 7 p.m. @ District Office, 15 Quade Street

graphic: public hearing

December 14, 2017—January 16, 2018:
  • Absentee ballots mailed to any qualified voter who requests one at the District Office.
January 3, 2018:
  • Voter Registration at District Office: 9-11am & 2-4pm
January 8, 2018:
  • Board of Education meeting and PUBLIC HEARING on the property purchase vote -- 7 p.m. @ District Office, 15 Quade Street

graphic: public hearing

January 23, 2018
  • PROPOSITION VOTE DAY: District Special Meeting and proposition vote, noon—9 p.m. at Sanford Street School
  • Deadline (5 p.m.) for receipt of all Absentee Ballots in order to be counted in the proposition vote
  • Board of Education meets at 9:00 P.M. to tabulate votes and declare results
  • Press notified of vote results

 

 

Glens Falls residents vote “Yes” on land purchase plan

 

January 23, 2018—Glens Falls City School District residents approved a plan to purchase property adjacent to the schools’ bus garage today by a margin of 314 "yes" votes to 127 “no” votes – a 71.2 percent approval rate. The proposition allows the Board of Education to buy the land and structures at 35 Glenwood Avenue, which is the parcel immediately north of the bus garage facility at 31 Glenwood. The district will acquire the land at its appraised value of $240,000, plus reasonable and customary closing costs and expenses.

“Our next step is to begin the closing process with the property owners,” said Superintendent Paul Jenkins. “We appreciate the community’s support to move ahead with the plan to improve safety and meet our growing transportation needs.”

The district will buy the property with savings already on hand—meaning there will be no additional cost to the taxpayer, and no debt incurred. “We’re able to make this purchase without raising taxes, and without sacrificing any programming,” said Mr. Jenkins.

The property owners approached Facilities and Transportation Director Ken Chester in September, asking if the district would be interested in purchasing the property before they formally listed it. “We really appreciated their consideration in letting us know they were looking to sell the property, as we’ve always been interested in the land on either side of the bus garage,” said Mr. Chester.

Discussions began in October, an appraisal was conducted, a vote-contingent offer was made, and on November 13, 2017, the Board of Education passed a resolution to complete the purchase, pending voter approval. Education law calls for a 45-day public notice period before any public vote, and the vote was scheduled for Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

“We wanted to move quickly out of consideration for the owners,” said Mr. Jenkins, “because if the purchase fails, they are several months behind in listing and selling their property to another buyer. Although we could’ve waited until May (to correspond with budget vote), in addition to the consideration of the owners, we felt it was also prudent to move quickly because of the safety of our students and staff as well.”

“Even as a ‘non-busing’ district, virtually all of our students use our district vehicles in one way or another,” said Mr. Jenkins. “Our commitment to student experiences in the form of off-site education, sports, extra-curricular activities, and field trips means that every student rides in one of our vehicles—be it daily, monthly, or a few times a semester.”

“That educational commitment, coupled with transportation mandates for students with differing abilities, or special circumstances such as homelessness,” he continued, “that’s what is driving the need for transportation and the growth of our fleet.”

“We’re in a unique position right now, in that the property is available, and we have enough savings within our unassigned fund balance, to be able to buy the property without incurring any debt or asking taxpayers for additional money,” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Bobby Yusko. “We are at a point within our transportation services where we must address our situation proactively and have the foresight to address potential problems, before those future problems become a reality.”

 

land purchase plan quick links

Need and opportunity drives plan to add land at bus garage

No additional cost to taxpayers; no debt to be incurred

 
Have a look around the cramped parking lot of the GFSD bus garage on Glenwood Avenue.... A special vote on Jan. 23 would allow the school district to purchase land next door to the facility, alleviating safety risks + providing for student transport needs. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA <

 

December 7, 2017—At the school district’s bus garage on Glenwood Avenue, drivers slowly squeeze buses and vans into tight parking spaces. Vehicles are parked right up to—and sometimes a bit over—the property line. And getting the right-sized bus or van out of the driveway for mid-day science field trips, sports teams’ away games, or afternoon BOCES courses could look like the old game of Tetris from above.

graphic of lot lines around current bus garage facility and land to be purchased under the proposal“We’re doing all we can to manage and maintain our fleet,” says Transportation and Facilities Director Ken Chester. “But we’re simply running out of room to safely maneuver our school buses around the property.”

On January 23, Glens Falls City School District residents will consider a plan to mitigate these safety concerns and position the district to meet the growing and future needs of our students by purchasing property adjacent to the District’s bus garage and warehouse facility.

“Even as a ‘non-busing’ district, virtually all of our students use our district vehicles in one way or another,” says Superintendent Paul Jenkins. “Our commitment to student experiences in the form of off-site education, sports, extra-curricular activities, and field trips means that every student rides in one of our vehicles—be it daily, monthly, or a few times a semester.”

buses parked over the pavement into hte trees

Buses are quadruple-parked next to the District's warehouse building at the 31 Glenwood Avenue transportation facility.

“That educational commitment, coupled with transportation mandates for students with differing abilities, or special circumstances such as homelessness,” he continued, “that’s what is driving the need for transportation and the growth of our fleet.”

In a land-locked small city, the district has limited options to address the physical space problem at the transportation facility. But a time-sensitive opportunity emerged when a piece of adjacent property became available for purchase earlier this fall.

“We’re in a unique position right now, in that the property is available, and we have enough savings within our unassigned fund balance, to be able to buy the property without incurring any debt or asking taxpayers for additional money,” says Assistant Superintendent for Business Bobby Yusko. “We are at a point within our transportation services where we must address our situation proactively and have the foresight to address potential problems, before those future problems become a reality.”

A school district’s purchase or sale of land requires a public vote, which has been set for Tuesday, January 23, between noon and 9 p.m. at Sanford Street School.

Responsibility and obligation growing

While Glens Falls is a ‘non-busing’ district, the District’s commitment to its families and students—and the academic, athletic, and extra-curricular opportunities available to them—propels the growth of the transportation operation.

“Beyond our responsibility to our educational mission lies our obligation to those students requiring state-mandated transportation services,” Mr. Jenkins says. “The need for requisite services may pop up at any time, and the district has very little control over this reality. In some cases, the district must transport students up to 50 miles, one-way.”

As of December 2017, every vehicle in the Glens Falls fleet is out on the road making daily runs to fulfill the needs of students—leaving no spare vehicles in case of emergency.

“Last year, we tried to anticipate the levels of service we’d need to provide this year,” says Mr. Chester. “We’ve already exceeded our plan, and we’re only halfway through the school year.”

“This is an important consideration when evaluating the potential need for purchasing the neighboring property,” says Mr. Yusko. “Growth in the transportation fleet undoubtedly requires additional space to safely store, maintain, and maneuver our vehicles, so that we may continue to meet the needs of our school community.”

The proposition on the January 23 ballot asks voters to approve the purchase of property at 35 Glenwood Avenue, which is the parcel immediately north of the bus garage facility at 31 Glenwood. The proposal would allow the district to buy the property at its appraised value of $240,000, plus reasonable and customary closing costs and expenses. This authorization is the only item on the ballot.

The district would purchase the property with savings already on hand—meaning there would be no additional cost to the taxpayer, and no debt incurred. “We’re able to make this purchase without raising taxes, and without sacrificing any programming,” says Mr. Jenkins.

To vote on the property purchase, a resident must have lived in the school district for at least 30 days prior to the January 23 vote, be a citizen of the United States, be at least 18 years of age, and be registered to vote with the school district.

Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. at Sanford Street School on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

Bus Garage Land Purchase Plan from Glens Falls City Schools on Vimeo.

 

What's actually on the ballot?

Voters will be deciding on one item on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. The actual ballot language is as follows:

RESOLVED, that the Board of Education of the Glens Falls City School District, Warren County, New York, is hereby authorized to purchase the real property located at 35 Glenwood Avenue, Town of Queensbury, New York, within the boundaries of the Glens Falls City School District, from its owner, Susan E. MacDonald, at the appraised price of $240,000, plus reasonable and customary closing costs and expenses.

When and where are the public hearings on the ballot proposal?

Two public hearings will be held in conjunction with the regular Board of Education meetings on Monday, December 11, 2017, and Monday, January 8, 2018. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the district office conference room, 15 Quade Street, Glens Falls.

What if I can't get to the polls on January 23?

Residents who will not be able to go to the polls on January 23 may apply for an
absentee ballot at the District Office (15 Quade Street). If the absentee ballot is to  be mailed to the voter, the application must be submitted at least seven days prior to the vote. If the absentee ballot is to be picked up by the voter in person, applications will be accepted until January 22. Absentee ballots must be received by the district clerk by 5 p.m. on January 23.

Why does this seem like a “quick” timetable for a public vote?

The property owners approached Facilities and Transportation Director Ken Chester in September, asking if the district would be interested in purchasing the property before they formally listed it. “We really appreciated their consideration in letting us know they were looking to sell the property, as we’ve always been interested in the land on either side of the bus garage,” says Mr. Chester. Discussions began in October, an appraisal was conducted, a vote-contingent offer was made, and on November 13, the Board of Education passed a resolution to complete the purchase, pending voter approval. Education law calls for a 45-day public notice period before any public vote, and the vote was scheduled for Tuesday, January 23, 2018. “We wanted to move quickly out of consideration for the owners,” says Superintendent Paul Jenkins, “because if the purchase fails, they are several months behind in listing and selling their property to another buyer. Although we could’ve waited until May (to correspond with budget vote), in addition to the consideration of the owners, we felt it was also prudent to move quickly because of the safety of our students and staff as well.”

What happens if the proposition fails?

If the proposition doesn’t get 51% agreement at the polls on Jan. 23, necessary safety improvements could not be made as planned, and a specific agreement with the property owner to allow our buses to park several feet beyond the district’s property line may be in jeopardy. “The property line technically runs about five feet into the pavement of our current driveway,” explains Mr. Chester. “We’ve been fortunate to have an agreement with previous property owners going back more than a decade. They allowed us to pave over a strip of their property to widen our driveway. We would always be at the mercy of any new owner to keep honoring that agreement.”