Woodside and Marcy Elementary Schools One Step Closer to Expansion
The school board authorized over $200,000 to get the process started.
While each project is expected to cost $2 million, taxes won’t increase for residents. According to Denise Lindberg, the district’s spokesperson, Hamilton has been planning for the possible expansion and started budgeting accordingly.
“Presuming the bids come in where we think they will, we will take money from the fund balance over a two year period,” Lindberg explained. “Every year we have a year-end budget for things like asphalt and roof repair or replacement boilers and HVAC units. Each year we budget between $500,000 - $1 million for those items, but we’ve prepared and gotten caught up on maintenance. Now we can use that budget for two years to fund our additions.”
By using that budget, along with $2 million from the fund balance, Lindberg said the district can take care of enrollment issues without going to referendum and without increasing taxes.
And enrollment at Woodside and Marcy is currently overflowing. Woodside is built to house 600 students but currently has 674 children enrolled. In addition, Marcy is exceeding its 500-student capacity with 525 students enrolled.
However, Hamilton isn’t planning to go overboard. By choosing not to build another school the district can avoid costs of hiring additional staff like custodians, principals and teachers aids. Instead, Woodside will get a five-classroom addition, and Marcy will grow by four classrooms.
“These additions are about existing, not projected enrollment,” said Lindberg. “The economy isn’t great right now in terms of housing development, so while we’re still growing, growth has slowed down. We have always been a conservative district in terms of building, and we need to know if this growth we’re having isn’t just a bubble, but something more permanent.”
Residents from different areas of the community even got a say in the decision to move forward. The School Board put together a Facilities Advisory Committee comprised of parents, local business owners, staff and municipal representatives. They showed their full support for the additions.
However, there’s one final step before construction teams can break ground.
“The board still hasn’t made a final decision on the additions,” Lindburg said. “If the bids come back and they’re not as favorable as we thought, the board can rethink it. First they need to see if the prices are appropriate.”
The School Board will take final action on the expansion project when the bids come in this spring.