Board authorizes special bond issue for school improvements

Oneonta City Board of Education

The Oneonta City Board of Education Thursday adopted a resolution to authorize the issuance and sale of the Board’s Special Tax School Warrants, Series 2019. The 20-year issue, at an interest rate of 2.63 percent, is expected to produce $7.9 million, with just over $4 million net to the school system to use for capital projects.

The purpose of the issue is threefold: (1) to refund the existing loan – held by the City of Oneonta for the school system; (2) to provide funds for various public school capital projects benefitting the city, its citizens, and its students; (3) to pay the costs of issuing the warrants. The second item is the driving force behind the bond issue.

Four major capital improvement projects – all already begun or to begin and be substantially completed in 2020 – will absorb a substantial part of the net proceeds generated. Those four projects, as listed on the school’s 2019-2020 Capital Plan Layout Report, are: (1) building addition and renovations to the auxiliary gymnasium and weight room; (2) major building addition to house a new high school fine arts facility and new band room; (3) upgrades and renovations to the football/soccer field and track; (4) construction of new baseball field and associated facilities.

Superintendent Daniel Smith released the following statement concerning the bond issue:

“There is a plan for making improvements to the existing facilities for the Oneonta City School system. Changes are necessary to meet the growing needs of our school system and because of the age of the facilities. I commend the board members for their vision and work to fund the projects needed to make the necessary changes.

“Funding capital projects is very expensive. Without the current plan that the board recently approved to secure additional funding, none of these projects would be possible. There have been many planning sessions to decide the objectives of a strategic capital plan for our schools.

“There is a need to construct a fine arts wing that includes a band/music facility, to renovate the auxiliary gym for middle school physical exercise classes, and to upgrade athletic facilities for baseball, football, and track. At present, classroom space is adequate, but I foresee that in the near future additional classrooms will be a priority as well.

“I look forward to the coming months and years as we grow our school system. Oneonta City School is a vital part of the city and community. These construction plans are being made to better serve students and families for years to come. Our schools do an excellent job of educating and preparing our students for the future. The strategic plan for improving facilities will further enhance learning experiences for our students.”