HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Two big votes are coming up that will affect all taxpayers living in the Herkimer School District.
One vote is on a multi-million dollar project for school renovations. The other is on the annual budget, which is $1 million higher than last year.
The superintendent says while it may seem contradictory to pour millions of dollars into the school while approving a budget that scales back teachers, he's doing his best to explain the two expenses come from different funding streams and aren't related.
More than 90 percent of the $10 million capital improvement project will come from the state. The project includes a new roof, a more secure front entrance, new security cameras, a new gym floor and LED lighting at the high school, as well as technology upgrades and improvements at the elementary school.
The other vote is on the budget for the 2014-2015 school year which aims to close a $250,000 budget gap by scaling five full-time teachers back to part time. Based on a home assessed at $100,000 dollars, taxpayers will pay $20 more a year if the capital improvement project passes. If the budget passes, taxes will go up $60. If both pass, that's $80 a year.
"I believe it's a reasonable amount to ask for from our community. I hate to raise taxes at all, but I think that the alternative are cuts that are too deep and will impact programs and will have a long term negative impact on the community bigger than the $80 per year," said Robert Miller, superintendent of Herkimer Schools.
If the capital project is voted down, Miller says they will have to prioritize and dip into their general fund to make necessary repairs. If the budget is voted down, the board has until June 17 to construct a new one or they will fall back on a contingency budget, meaning they will have to cut all sports, extracurricular activities and scale back one more teaching position.
Residents can vote on both the school budget and capital improvement plan at the Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School on May 20.
Voting is open from 1 p.m. To 9 p.m.
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