When I think of our community, and the acts of kindness and generosity from our students, staff and families, especially around this special time of year, I am truly humbled. The spirit of “It Takes a Village” is demonstrated daily in our schools. Recently, we collected snow boots and jackets to provide to students who lack warm winter wear. In October, Spanish teacher Meg Fronczek started a Crocs and Socks campaign after noticing students coming into school on rainy days with wet sneakers and socks. Many of our teachers and support staff stepped up donating hundreds of pairs of socks and Crocs so now our students have access to dry socks and a pair of comfortable Crocs they can borrow during the school day, giving their socks and sneakers or shoes a chance to dry before the walk home.
I tweeted about the many good deeds performed by our students as they gave back to their community throughout December:
WES student ambassadors deliver holiday beauty to residents of Watervliet HousingCannoneer chorus was belting out holiday classics at the Senior Center today!🎤 pic.twitter.com/q78IXtXRb5— L Caplan (@SuptCaplan) December 13, 2019
WES students collect pajamas for Unity HouseOur student ambassadors from @vlietwebster @coachfoust WES deliver cheer to members in housing. pic.twitter.com/KqsIzdMDgX— L Caplan (@SuptCaplan) December 13, 2019
Ah-maze-ing!!😍👌🏼 https://t.co/sdtuFLU6W6— L Caplan (@SuptCaplan) December 12, 2019
Looking ahead to 2020: Capital Project VoteEarlier this month, the Board of Education voted on a resolution that would authorize $9.99 million in capital improvements for Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School and Watervliet Elementary School. District residents will have an opportunity to vote on the referendum Tuesday, February 4.
Unlike our last facilities improvements that included big-ticket, highly-visible improvements like the turf field and the track, the project we are proposing now is best described as “no-frills” because it addresses the district’s most immediate facilities needs, as identified in the latest building condition survey: aging infrastructure, and health and safety improvements.
A building condition survey is a thorough inspection conducted by a team made up of at least one architect or engineer and certain district staff. The State Education Department requires all school districts in the state to submit a building condition survey every five years to collect information on the district's infrastructure and prioritize facility needs district-wide. The data collected helps district officials assess current conditions of program spaces and major building systems to prioritize the most essential repairs and restorations.
From January through June, a Facilities Advisory Committee that included school leaders, teachers, maintenance staff, school board members, students and parents, met with our district’s architectural consultants to take a deeper dive into our facility and maintenance needs and make recommendations to present to the Board. Factors considered by the committee included protecting the health and safety of students, staff and school visitors; systems and equipment that have reached or are near the end-of-life expectancy; deteriorating building components; and the ability to service or repair outdated equipment.
The final project scope includes such items as roof replacement at both buildings; replacing elevators at the elementary school and renovating the high school elevator; heating and ventilation systems work; and drainage at the elementary school playground. Visit our website for more information on the project scope
State building aid would cover 95 percent of the cost of the proposed capital project. The remaining 5 percent of the project would be funded through a 1.06% increase in the overall property tax levy, based on the current tax cap data for the district.
We invite you to learn more about the proposed capital project at two presentations scheduled for January 7, 2020 and January 16, 2020 at Watervliet Elementary School. I encourage you to attend and ask questions to make an informed decision when you vote in February.