TROY – The school board is back to the drawing board to come up with a renovation and improvement plan with a price tag that will please voters enough to pass a bond. Earlier this month, voters rejected a $1.3 million bond. Earlier this year, voters rejected a $2.2 million bond.
School board members and Principal Chris Young have maintained the school faces code violations if nobody addresses problems at the facility.
During a telephone interview, Young said the board will review and revise the plan and bring it back to the voters as soon as possible. One option is before Town Meeting Day. If the bond passes, the school board would have time to prepare for summer construction. If the bond fails, the board would be able to discuss the issue at Town Meeting. The board will finalize the exact date of the vote at its December meeting.
Young said the board is pleased that more people said yes to the bond in November than they did in February. The board is trying to understand what it can do to address concerns of opponents. Young said some people were concerned about the cost of the project and the timing of the project.
”We have heard not as many concerns that it’s the wrong project,” said Young. “We’ve been hearing that it’s the right project; it's just the wrong time for folks.”
Troy property owners recently underwent a tax reappraisal and some feel that taxes are too high and it’s not a great time to bring a bond forward.
“As I understand it, with the reappraisal, the values were adjusted to reflect current market value, but there should be an accompanied decrease in the tax rate as a result of that,” said Young.
The school board will try to cut costs by being as creative as possible.
“We’re certainly going to have to make some changes to the project to reduce any significant amount,” said Young. “It was a pretty barebones project as it was. We’re going to continue working it at. It’s work that has to be done and we’ll keep bringing it back to the voters for their consideration.”
Until then, the school faces possible deficiency reports.
With the exception of the sprinkler system, the board has made improvements on issues that are subject to deadlines. So far, the state fire marshall has not given a strict deadline but he is aware the sprinkler system is deficient. If the system is not fixed, the school faces fines.
“The sprinkler system is so old that it’s really hard to maintain the pressure necessary to deliver water to the areas that might be having a fire,” said Young. “(T)here are so many leaks in it, the pressure will kick on and we’ll lose it before it gets to the area that needs it.”
So far, any improvement costs have come out of the school budget.