Fred Stabbert III | Democrat
Sullivan West Superintendent Nancy Hackett, fourth from left, against the wall, met with the Callicoon Kiwanis on Monday evening to give a presentation about Tuesday’s upcoming vote to complete the athletic fields at the high school in Lake Huntington and elementary school in Jeffersonville. For opinions on the subject, read former Superintendent Ken Hilton’s letter to the editor on page 7A (printed edition) and Sports Editor Ken Cohen’s “Further Review” column on page 10B (available online).
Sullivan West vote coming
Story by Dan Hust
LAKE HUNTINGTON Voters in the Sullivan West school district will be asked this Tuesday to approve or reject a renewed effort to complete the athletic fields at the Lake Huntington high school and Jeffersonville elementary school.
Scaled down from a failed March 2011 vote, this proposal puts forth seven projects:
• Resurface the elementary school’s track
• Repair the nature/cross country trail in Jeff
• Replace the roof on the 1961 addition at Jeff
• Replace Jeff’s underground fuel oil tank
• Commence construction at the elementary school of one baseball, one soccer, and one softball field by conducting all environmental remediation, including construction of a stormwater retention pond that’s expected to help alleviate flooding in the Kohlertown area
• Complete construction of one baseball field, one softball field and one soccer field at Lake Huntington
• Construct and acquire the necessary equipment for the operation of a television broadcast system at the high school.
Originally envisioned when the high school was built a decade ago, the TV studio initially was not part of this proposal, but on advice from the NYS Education Department, officials added it because it would be eligible for state aid and as a result, it could make other parts of the project aidable.
Currently, the project’s price tag stands at $2.698 million none of which will result in increased taxes, as an existing capital reserve fund will cover the costs.
Athletic Director Dave Franskevicz added that the completion of the fields would likely reduce transportation costs for SW, which currently has to bus students between the campuses for various sports practices and events.
At a recent public hearing, Narrowsburg resident Star Hesse wondered if the $91,000 for the TV studio might not be better invested in math or reading materials.
Supt. Nancy Hackett replied that the studio could be “an unbelievable opportunity” for students to learn valuable career skills, echoed by board members.
“Students would have to write copy,” board member Kathy Meckle explained. “It would require them to do research ... so it certainly can integrate academics into the classroom.”
“It’s professional equipment,” added board member Joan Glase. “It is state-of-the-art. I think $91,000 is, for what we’re getting, a bargain.”
Hackett said the studio could also be used as a regular classroom when not engaged in broadcasting education, with room for 18-20 students per period.
Hesse nevertheless felt the various projects should be broken down into separate votes. However, this vote itself is a scaled-down version of what was proposed nearly two years ago.
For example, tennis and basketball fields that were envisioned in 2011 are not part of this vote but may be part of up to two more votes SW is considering scheduling in 2013 and 2014.
That work, too, would come out of the district’s capital reserve fund, which if voters approve Tuesday’s proposal will still have $3.7 million left over.
That money can’t be spent on anything other than capital projects, and only with voter approval though officials did say that if it’s not touched for 10 years (in this case, that would be 2018), per state law voters can choose to either keep it for another decade in the capital reserve fund or return it to the district’s fund balance.
Voting locations include:
• The elementary school in Jeffersonville
• The Tusten-Cochecton branch of the Western Sullivan Public Library in Narrowsburg
• The Hortonville Firehouse in Hortonville (moved from the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon, near which a bridge is closed for reconstruction)
For more information, contact the district at 482-4610, ext. 3000 or www.swcsd.org.