Superintendent's Message



November 14, 2017

Dear Families

We are writing to provide you with information about an upcoming repair/upgrade bond proposal for the Frontier Regional School facility. The last bond issued to the district was in 1998 for $22,350,000 for the renovation and additions to the Frontier Regional School building. The 2017 bond proposal will provide resources to address safety, repairs, upgrades, and ensure that our students have an environment that continues to support their learning at high levels.

Why did we propose a bond to repair/update the Frontier Regional School facility?

Currently, the facility needs maintenance and repairs that cannot be covered as part of the annual budget. Each year, when the budget is developed, there is a need to balance the maintenance of the facility and the needs of academics, technology, salaries and improvements that cannot wait. Over the years a system of deferred maintenance has developed where only the most serious improvements and repairs are addressed to keep the building and school programs running. Because so many items have been “put on the back burner,” we are at a point where many of our systems are breaking down or wearing out due to age and use.

The projects listed below will ensure safety, health, accessibility and suitability of learning environments for our current and future students while honoring our responsibility to preserve, protect and update our current facility. A short term, “band aid” approach is not effective and, in the long run, will cost taxpayers.

The priorities of this bond include repairs and upgrades for:

Safety and Security including Fire Safety and Life Safety Building and Systems Infrastructure including the Library Media Center roof, finishes, and mechanical systems Athletic Facilities including the track, equipment, tennis courts, basketball hoop mechanisms

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why do we need a bond to pay for these improvements?

Operational costs for schools are paid through a combination of state and local funding. Bonds are paid through property taxes that voters of individual school districts approve. The difference between the annual school budget and a bond is that the money from a bond may not be used for operational cost such as teacher salaries and other operational expenses.

With the bond set to pay out in 10 or 20 years, will the projects also take that long to accomplish?

No, we plan to complete many of the proposed projects simultaneously. Most school bond projects take between two and three years to complete but the due to the cost the repayment of the bond needs to be spread out over many years.

How is the increase in property tax determined?

Districts use Bond Advisors that calculate current tax rates, the amount of bond money requested, and then compute the increase that will be required to repay the borrowed improvement funds.

What are the next steps?

The bond proposal meeting took place on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. At the November 7th Frontier Regional School District School Committee meeting, members approved the formation of a Frontier Regional School Repair Subcommittee. The committee will be comprised of four members of the school committee, a member from each of the four towns chosen by the select board and the building principal.  The purpose of this Subcommittee will be to review the request for repairs by the Frontier administration, prioritize the needs, and develop a plan for bonding, capital funding, and explore alternative funding sources.

We are requesting this bond because it protects the taxpayers’ investment in our school by upgrading an aging infrastructure, provides safety and security enhancements, reduces maintenance and energy costs and corrects the “band aid” approach to save taxpayers money in the long run. If repairs are not made now, we need to recognize that even with great maintenance, a larger bond will be required in 5 to 7 years in order to overhaul the entire building.

I will continue to keep all stakeholders informed as the process unfolds. Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

 

Sincerely,

Lynn M. Carey Superintendent of Schools Frontier Regional and Union 38 School Districts




11/14/2017


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Frontier Regional and Union 38 School Districts | 113 North Main Street - Office C101 | South Deerfield, MA 01373
Phone: (413) 665-1155
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Fax: (413) 665-8506