Q: During presentations about the capital project, the District refers to program improvements, infrastructure, and sustainability. What is meant by program improvements?

The entire project consists of upgrades to our facilities, so we were trying to clarify that some of those upgrades more directly impact the daily learning experience (and we called those program improvements), while others are a little more behind the scenes, such as HVAC work. For clarity, we’ve started to call them learning space improvements (rather than program improvements) and these include renovated science classrooms, technology spaces, library maker spaces, for example.

Q. Why is this investment in the schools necessary?

We need schools that are designed for 21st century students. Teaching and learning styles have changed dramatically in the past 50 years, and many classrooms and shared spaces in our schools do not lend themselves to contemporary best practices such as student collaboration and active learning. Even computer labs, built 20 years ago, are no longer relevant.
There are many good reasons to invest in Katonah- Lewisboro Schools’ facilities, resulting in both direct and indirect positive impacts. These include improved air and water quality, better lighting and more comfortable classroom environments. Building upgrades realize operational efficiencies and financial savings, and better teaching conditions are good for teacher retention. High quality school district amenities result in increased property values.
Investing in schools goes further than improving educational outcomes. Strong schools create strong communities.

Q. Hasn’t the District been maintaining the buildings all along?

The District does ongoing, routine maintenance work every year. The proposed work includes medium- to large-scale projects that fall outside the definition of routine maintenance. Replacing big-ticket items that are approaching the end of their useful lives through the bond will avoid costly, emergency action in the future, achieve economies-of-scale and minimize disruption to the students.

Q: Can’t the District just pay for the work on this project through its regular budget?

It benefits taxpayers to do this type of work through a capital project, rather than the annual budget. This way much of the work will be eligible for state aid, saving the taxpayers money, and costs will be spread over a longer period of time (15 years) and therefore shared by more residents living in the community and using the schools. Similar to a home mortgage, this spreads the payment out over the useful life of the improvements and minimizes the impact on the taxpayer.

Q: What is the timeline of the proposed capital project?

Should the community approve the proposition in October, the state approval process will proceed immediately and construction will be completed in phases starting summer/fall 2023 through fall 2025. Work would be scheduled to minimize disruption to our students and learning.

Q: Will New York State provide any financial support for this project?

The Facilities Committee and School Board have been careful to design the project to maximize opportunities for state aid. Approximately 31% of all work proposed in the project scope would be eligible for New York. State building aid. Over time, as funds are expended, KLSD will be eligible for approximately $17.1 million in aid from NYS.

Q: What will be the tax impact of this proposition?

Throughout the process of the development of this proposition, both the Facilities Committee and Board of Education have been careful to consider the financial impact on the community. That is why the payments for this capital project have been timed to start in 2024, when existing debt is retiring. Even at its peak, payments on this project will be lower than those shouldered by the community in 2013-2016. The new debt will begin in 2024 and will begin to be paid off
in 2039.

Town Average Home Value  Monthly Tax Impact *
BEDFORD $728,871 $14.11
LEWISBORO  $597,130 $11.04
NORTH SALEM $496,770  $9.85
POUND RIDGE  $900,108  $16.78

*This figure reflects the monthly tax impact for a home of this value. NOTE: Average value determined by Estimated Average Assessed Value/Equalization Rate.