Report by Paula Antolini
September 19, 2017 2:50PM EDT
Town of Bethel Public Hearing for Renovations of Johnson and Rockwell Schools is Sept. 25th
Message from Christine Carver, Ed. D., Superintendent of Schools Bethel Public Schools:
The Public Hearing for the Renovations of Johnson and Rockwell is set for Monday, September 25th at 7:00 PM at Bethel High School. Childcare will be provided. I would really appreciate you helping get the word out on social media. It is an important community decision and requires input.
With the ongoing debate over the state budget, you might wonder why the town leadership made the decision to move the project forward to a public hearing?
Completely separate from the Excess Cost Sharing Grant (ECS), which has been widely discussed in the media, the state offers local municipalities reimbursement for school construction projects. Unlike the ECS grant, this funding has never been in jeopardy of being cut. There has been talk at the state level of lowering the reimbursement rates to municipalities and changes to guidelines which might affect reimbursement. Put simply, if Bethel does not move forward now, it is highly likely that future state reimbursement will go down, placing an increased burden on local property taxes. Construction cost escalation is 4.5% each year with any type of delay. Quite simply, the Town of Bethel will never have a better chance to maximize reimbursement from the grant. In addition, we are spending a significant amount of money annually to keep the buildings operational (particularly with HVAC systems) and have many major systems that are failing due to age, which will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. If the projects do not move forward, we will need to begin replacement without state reimbursement. Bethel’s current rate of reimbursement, in the form of school construction grants, is 45% of eligible costs.
Let me know if you have any questions! As always – I appreciate your support!
Christine Carver, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
Bethel Public Schools