Voters in the Johnstown district will decide on a referendum on a $15 million capital project

JOHNSTOWN— Taxpayers in the Greater Johnstown School District will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide the fate of a pair of referenda for a district-wide capital project and a new energy performance contract.

The $15 million capital project, if approved, would see the district undertake infrastructure renovations to five buildings in the district, including upgrades to the HVAC system and ventilation at the Johnstown Junior -Senior High School and new classroom windows at Warren Street Elementary School.

The multitude of proposed upgrades to buildings in the district were identified in a 2020 district building condition survey.

“The district’s reasons for developing a capital project in the first place are to maintain and improve facilities,” Superintendent Dr. William Crankshaw said Thursday. “The continuous improvements and ongoing attention to the learning environment and facilities we have in place just ensure that our buildings and grounds will meet the future needs of our students. This is just one step in the ongoing future planning for the improvement and maintenance of school buildings. »

Fulton, Montgomery Counties

Crankshaw said the district has been developing the proposed capital project over the past two years. Taxpayers previously approved a $39.6 million capital project for the district in 2017.

According to the district, there will be no increase in the district’s tax levy as a result of the $15 million capital project, which will use $1 million of the district’s reserves.

“We have a plan with this project to not only take care of our buildings and our campuses, but also to take care of our finances going forward,” Crankshaw said. “That way taxpayers won’t see a sudden spike in funding for a particular capital project. Everything is supposed to be very cohesive, from maintenance to funding the projects themselves.

A separate referendum will be on the ballot Thursday for a proposed 15-year energy performance contract (EPC) between the district and the John W. Danforth Company, not to exceed $3 million.

“That’s guaranteed energy savings for the next 18 years,” Crankshaw said. “The promise of the contract is 15 years of financing and 18 years of energy savings. So I don’t expect us to do another EPC before the end of that time frame.

According to the district, the EPC project is self-funding through guaranteed energy savings and is designed to pay for itself over an 18-year period.

The capital project and EPC are expected to receive 92% state aid funding if approved by residents.

“If we didn’t put the EPC to a vote, which we don’t legally have to, we would lose 10% of this state aid that would be ours,” Crankshaw said. “It’s not a sound financial decision, so we’re putting both to voters at the same time.”

Fulton, Montgomery Counties

The superintendent said that if the proposals are approved, the project timeline would see 2023 used for planning, with construction of the capital project due to begin in January 2025.

The scope of the capital project includes LED exterior lighting for the secondary school, new theater seating in the school’s lecture hall, new student lockers at Warren Street Elementary, and the installation of new kitchen equipment at Pleasant Avenue Elementary School, among other improvements.

Polls will be open Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the high school auditorium lobby, with a simple majority vote needed to pass each measure.

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