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Local News

June 26, 2014

School district to vote on pool work, reserve fund

A public hearing about an upcoming vote on pool renovations and a separate building reserve fund was held before Wednesday’s regularly scheduled board of education meeting.

About 15 people were in the audience of the session held at Greater Plains Elementary School, and two people spoke in favor of the project at the meeting that followed.

The vote is scheduled for July 8 from noon to 9 p.m. at the district office on Center Street. Absentee ballots are available.

During the hearing, Oneonta City School District Superintendent Joseph Yelich discussed both propositions. The need for the $1.4 million pool project was established following a report on the pool condition by school architect Keystone Associates before he started with the district this school year, he said. In acknowledging the need for repairs or replacement of such items as piping, tiles and a dehumidifier, the board decided the work can only be done at no added expense to the taxpayers.

A community group, the Committee to Restore the OHS Pool, was formed earlier this school year to raise the approximately $400,000 needed for the local share after state aid is included.

The project was designed in increments, so if the total is not raised, the scope can be reduced. The approximately $72,000 the committee has raised, and all other funds, are being deposited in an account with the Community Foundation for South Central New York to earn a better rate of interest.

The pool was built in 1976 and last renovated in 1995, Yelich said. A lack of regular maintenance has led to its current condition, which has it closed for much of the year.

If voters approve the project and the funds are raised, it will not only be used for instruction — a boys and girls swim team — but the community as well, he said.

The board will also commit to regular maintenance through the general fund. The proposition that’s on the ballot to establish a building and maintenance reserve fund is for district-wide purposes, and is not part of the pool plan, he said.

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