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Reserves Available to Offset Cost of Auditorium Renovations at Scarsdale High School

auditoriumseatingHow much is needed to renovate the Scarsdale High School auditorium --and if approved -- where will the funds come from? At the February 10 2020 meeting of the Board of Education the Board reviewed a proposed allocation of $2.3 million to fully renovate the SHS auditorium, which has not been updated in over 40 years.

The list of proposed updates includes the following:

-Remove and replace seating
-Remove and replace carpeting
-Repair concrete below seating
-Replace and improve sound system
-Replace and improve lighting control systems
-Replace and improve stage lights
-Improve stage rigging
-Replace and improve electric wiring

A parent reminded us that the 2014 bond had included $800,000 in funding for auditorium updates, including new seating, lighting and sound equipment.

Though the bond passed, the work was never done.

We were curious what became of those funds – and we questioned Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey.

We learned that $736,000 in the debt service reserves are available for this project, meaning that additional funding of $1,563,000 will be needed to do the work, not the $2.3 million indicated at the Board meeting.

Below find our email and his response.

Hi Stuart et al:
A parent asked me a question about the auditorium renovation that I was not able to answer and hope you can refresh my memory.

I remember that the renovation of the SHS auditorium - including new seats - was included in the 2014 bond.

Here is the copy of Insight that includes the information.

And here are the details from the FAQ at that time:
"Auditorium renovations that include replacement of seats, new LED house lights and aisle lighting, and new sound equipment. "

Question - where are those funds? Are they in reserves - and if so will that reduce the $2.3 million now needed for the renovation of the auditorium?

If the funds are no longer available, where did they go - and is it okay for the district to bond projects and not proceed with the work?

Please help me remember the sequence of events.

Joanne Wallenstein from Scarsdale10583

Response from Assistant Superintendent of Facilities Stuart Mattey:

Unfortunately, due to the 2014 bond work bids coming in higher than the original pre-referendum budgets, the proposed work at the HS Auditorium was not awarded. This, of course, is not desirable but sometimes necessary due to the everchanging bid climate. All 2014 bond funds were needed to complete the awarded projects. In fact, additional funds were allocated in two successive general budgets in anticipation of costs that exceeded those Bond funds. Now that all projects related to that Bond are closed we have $736,431 remaining from those particular funds (now in the Debt Service Reserve) which we have proposed using in our 2020-21 preliminary draft budget to offset the $2.3MM related to the HS Auditorium work thus lowering the overall tax impact of that work to $1,563,569.

I hope this helps your understanding of these events and please, to provide for the most efficient form of communication direct parents to contact us directly when possible. Thanks-

Sincerely,
Stuart

Stuart P.G. Mattey
Assistant Superintendent for Business
Scarsdale Public Schools
2 Brewster Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914)721-2420

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