District reviews Meagher options
Former elementary school could house pre-K, offices
KINGSTON >> The Board of Education is looking into the cost of using the former Frank L. Meagher Elementary School for both prekindergarten classes and administrative offices, or for district offices alone.
At a recent board meeting, district Superintendent Paul Padalino said renovation costs are estimated at $4.23 million for both classrooms and offices and $3.34 million for offices only.
“Our goal is to have zero impact on local taxpayers,” he said. “We’d have ... no change in our taxpayers’ tax bills based on this project, which is completely reachable with what we have.”
If classrooms are included in the project, the district estimates
it would fund the renovation with $527,198 in state aid, $1 million from the anticipated sale of the Cioni Building on Crown Street, and $2.68 million from a district capital reserve account. Alternatively, trustees could choose to use $882,578 from the state Smart Schools Bond Act and $2.34 million from its
reserve account, but would not be able to receive additional building aid for the project under that option.
If the renovation were limited to administrative offices, the board would use proceeds from the Cioni Building sale as well as $2.34 million in the capital reserve account to finance the project.
Under the classroom plan, there would be four classrooms, two playrooms, and a story area for up to 76 students.
District officials say there are currently 245 students enrolled and 293 available slots in pre-kindergarten programs at six private providers and two public schools. Padalino said state funding for the programs has not kept up with promises from lawmakers to support classroom improvements.
“We always hear at budget time (they’re) going to increase UPK (universal prekindergarten),” he said. “They talked about it last
year, they talked about the year before, but it continues to remain flat. From 2006 to 2016, there’s been a nominal increase in pre-K in spite of all the political rhetoric around this topic.”
Officials reported that Kingston received $598,396 in state aid for prekindergarten in 2006 and $785,700 in 2016. Padalino said prekindergarten classes would cost $1.49 million annually at Meagher and $2 million if two classrooms were added in other buildings.
Board of Education trustees plan further discussion during their Oct. 19 meeting, and expect to vote on setting a public referendum in December over whether to use capital reserve funds for the project. Bids would be sought in 2017 and renovations would be done the following year.
Meagher Elementary School, which last had classes in June 2012, occupies a 3.6-acre site at 21 Wynkoop Place in Kingston. According to Ulster
County records, it comprises 31,600 square feet and its assessed value decreased from $2,336,000 in 2012 to $540,000 in 2013 and 2014.
School officials say building dates to 1874, with additions in 1917, 1961, and 1996.
District officials were previously close to selling the Meagher building, but in January 2014 rejected a $220,000 bid from Apollon Group LLC after saying they wanted to consider options to reuse the site.
The former Frank L. Meagher Elementary School is on Wynkoop Place in Kingston.