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Board addresses community member’s project concerns

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CARTHAGE — The Carthage Central School District Board of Education is making good on its promise to better educate the community about the now $34,515,000 capital project.

However, at least one community member still is not happy with the way the project is being portrayed by the board. The project, whose cost is going up, would address maintenance problems in each district school and also would move the alternative education program and the administrative offices to the high school.

“There seems to be a fear factor being passed around here,” said Wilfred J. Deion, member of the facility committee, during Monday’s board meeting in the Carthage Middle School cafeteria.

Board member Brian K. Serota responded: “I’m not seeing it as a scare tactic by any means,”

Mr. Serota said the capital project, which includes items in each school building, is designed to address maintenance problems before they become hazards.

Mr. Deion, referring to the Building Condition Survey, said: “Unless something broke, it wouldn’t fall upon the taxpayers. The public has a right to know that the BCS items aren’t mandated to be fixed.”

When the Educational Planning Group put together the project, it was estimated at nearly $30 million.

Not only is the project getting more expensive, it now carries a 1.39 percent increase in the tax levy. This would mean an additional $16.33 for a home assessed at $100,000.

Board member Anne M. Rohr said additional language could be put in the pamphlets the board is creating to emphasize that some of the items are not necessarily broken and may just be not operating at optimal efficiency.

Board members spent much of the meeting revising mailer pamphlets and take-home fliers.

Additional language and larger lettering will be added to the final pamphlet before it is mailed out to the community.

The project’s public hearing is at 6 p.m. May 21 at the high school auditorium, but the board also plans to take the project to the Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce meetings as well as to village and town meetings before the community votes on the project in July.

Today, SEI Planning Group, Turner Construction and Educational Legacy Planning Group will meet with Carthage Elementary faculty to determine whether teachers prefer the three or four classroom groupings.

Although there have been many outspoken community members who disagreed with various aspects of the capital project, board President Michael P. Chevier is not worried about the proposed project passing.

“The biggest thing we can do is communicate,” he said. “They’re lacking information, so our job is to get that information out there to them.”

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