Huntington School Board members shared their ideas of possible capital projects during a discussion at a public meeting this past Monday night in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium.
The district expects to have several million dollars of surplus funds available. Residents would have to approve any project prior to work being undertaken. The district will get state aid on qualifying projects.
Huntington UFSD makes use of a capital reserve fund to cover costs associated with renovation and reconstruction projects By utilizing such a funding mechanism the district has saved millions of dollars in interest payments and allowed its debt to be reduced to less than $1 million, which will be completely paid off by June 2026.
Huntington UFSD hasn’t issued bonds for capital work since 2006. During that time, use of capital reserve fund monies has allowed the district to complete tens of millions of dollars in projects without having to raise taxes or incur debt.
Superintendent James W. Polansky said the district intends to continue to pursue a conservative budgeting and spending philosophy while also addressing its facility needs. Since the current capital reserve fund is nearing its capitalization limit, trustees are expected to ask residents to authorize creation of a new fund.
Monies in the capital reserve fund represent dollars already provided to the district by taxpayers that, because of stringent fiscal management and economizing through the years, weren’t needed to pay for regular school operations. The source of the funding is the annual transfer of surplus monies from the district’s general fund.
The district has been updating all eight of its school buildings, installing new boilers and roofs, replacing floor tiles and ceilings, renovated classrooms, labs and gymnasiums and upgrading its electrical, plumbing, ventilation, security and fire alarm systems, playgrounds, parking lots and sidewalks, windows, doors, locks and even its oil storage tanks. But there is more work to do and plenty of ideas to go around.
Mr. Polansky said a list of capital needs is being developed and will be prioritized and presented to trustees for their consideration during the public 2022/23 budget process, which is set to kickoff soon. Presentations will be posted on the district website along with audio of the meetings.