Friday, February 13, 2015

SCATS' FAQs On CIP Vote


Out-of-Town March 24th? 

You can still vote "NO"

GET YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT HERE


Q. 1 - Why is GCSD holding a separate vote to approve three propositions in March, instead of combining it with the annual Budget Vote in May?

A. 1 - The "official" answer is because GCSD believes we are too stupid to understand the difference between the budget & the Capital Improvements Projects ... "Holding a separate vote limits confusion and supports clear communication."  The truthful answer is they are hoping too few will show up or know about a Special Vote (many senior citizens are away in March) to vote things down & keep them from getting EVERYTHING they seek!

Q. 2 - What is the annual cost to maintain the turf field, lights and Stadium?

A. 2 -  GCSD has no idea! They want you to believe obtaining a $2500 grooming machine is all that's needed for maintenance. They also claim it costs just $15/hour to have the lights on, but fail to estimate any total annual cost. If they fail to routinely sanitize the turf, they can keep costs low at the expense of the athletes ... "FieldTurf Scrub is formulated to remove bodily fluids (blood, vomit, etc.) from synthetic turf surfaces." They must work to prevent growth of weeds and moss, clean-up any oil spots as they occur and ensure that the turf be kept free from food, gum, sunflower seeds, glass, cigarettes, fireworks, driving stakes and any sharp objects that will risk damage to the field and injury to players, as well as  debris, leaves, paper and other windblown materials.


Q. 3 - What is the life expectancy of artificial turf? 

A. 3 - SCATS' research shows the industry "standard" is an 8 year warranty. GCSD claims they are requesting a 15 year warranty "to protect the taxpayer investment throughout the life of the bond."  Requesting it and actually obtaining it are two VERY DIFFERENT scenarios! We won't know the outcome of their "request" until long AFTER the vote!


Q. 4 - Is artificial turf safe? 

A. 4 - Literally dozens of studies (over 40) have been done due to the potential risks. The industry claims it is safe. However, there are numerous controversies and claims over whether or not turf fields cause everything from greater incidence of heat-related illnesses to spreading MRSA and other pathogens to causing cancer. The literature is filled with examples. Bottom line: Do you want YOUR KID to possibly risk his/her health by playing on crumb rubber that can be ingested, inhaled or become lodged in injured skin?

Q. 5 - Why is $415,000 in Proposition 1 targeted for playground renovations?

A. 5 - GCSD's answer is all over the map claiming age of equipment, the need to make equipment handi-capped accessible and reconfiguration of grade levels at schools as reasons. They still have NOT explained why the Pine Brook playground will cost $225,000 - as much as it costs to build a nice, new home! Over the last 25+ years, this is the FIRST TIME funds were specified for any playgrounds WHY IS THAT??
  
Q. 6 - What are the plans for the land GCSD wants to purchase?

A. 6 - They hope they can get us to approve buying the property now and then get us to approve construction of a bus wash facility and storage in the future. The pricetag for that project alone will be quite large, so they decided to NOT ask for it now. They didn't want to risk a resounding "NO" vote.
  
Q. 7 - Aren't many of the Capital Projects in Proposition 1 largely related to safety, accessibility, etc? In other words, aren't they urgent?

A. 6 - No, they are largely the "extras" leftover from the huge $100+ million "wish list" (as is the stadium proposal) created prior to the votes held  for the first & second CIP (Excel) projects voted on in recent years. This group of projects includes: $415,000 for playgrounds; $ 600,000 for storage buildings at several  schools; $ 3.3+ million for repaving/expanding/reconfiguring parking lots, bus loops, driveways, etc.

Q. 8 - I heard there was a large committee that met to decide the details of the $8.5 million stadium/turf field proposal. I also heard there was not even one voice of dissent on that committee. Is this true?

A. 8 - Yes, that is true. The committee had 28 members comprised of GCSD employees of various sorts (Admin. to athletic directors), parents involved in sports and a few "community members," including athletic supporters like Bill "Light Up Greece" Selke! There was not a single voice of dissent represented on the committee to address neighborhood or other community concerns.
  
Q. 9 - Is GCSD holding any informational meetings about these proposals?

A. 9 - Yes, they already held an illegal (not posted or advertised in advance - they did NOT want any outsiders attending.) BOE study session on the stadium project on Jan. 6th and two poorly advertised community meetings about the three Propositions and stadium proposals.
   

22 comments:

SCATS said...

WARNING: We will NOT be posting from those who are trying to sell us something we know better about. We are tired of arguing facts that are clearly known by our research.

Anonymous said...

The added buss parking is adjacent to stadium which has limited parking at Arcadia site.

How many busses does GCSD own?

What has been the history?

SCATS said...

To 1:46PM ~~ They claim they have plenty of parking, but that seems improbable for crowds of 2600 without adding more. They currently claim to have 217 buses & expect us to OK buying 26 more in May.

Anonymous said...

I have questions with the bus purchase program. What exactly is the criteria (checklist) for decommissioning a school bus? I remember that a number of new buses were purchased last year. What happens to the old buses, is there any residual value at auction/sale? 26 new bus equal 2 or 3 million dollars? I know that the buses represent only a portion of the proposed 2015 expenditures but the town/school district still must demonstrate due-diligence regarding the proposal.

Anonymous said...

Where can I get one of those ballots your talking about.I'mi currently
In Hilton Head South Carolina at our winter residence

SCATS said...

To 5:33PM ~~ You can print it out by going online to this web address: http://www.greececsd.org/files/50413/absentee%20voter%20application%20for%20ballot.pdf

SCATS said...

To 5:28PM ~~ Just to be clear, the bus purchases are a SEPARATE Proposition that will be voted on in the May 19th vote when the budget is also presented for voter approval. They use money from a voter approved reserve fund to pay for them. It is not part of the budget.

Anonymous said...

This sound like one unfunded mandate after another. I though these people complained to Albany about unfunded mandates all the time. HYPOCRITES!

Anonymous said...

I can see why you would be interested in an absentee ballot. Another $ 20 a year would have devastating effect on you ability to afford to have winter residence in Hilton Head SC. That is unless you intend to vote in favor of the proposition of course which I seriously doubt.

SCATS said...

To 7:21AM ~~ Don't forget, this is for "Santa's Wish List" type stuff, for the most part. AND the rest of your tax hit comes in May ;)

GREECE CENTRAL SHOULD BE DOWN-SIZING AGAIN!! Enrollment losses have taken a toll. Why build storage sheds at $60K each at schools that will ultimately need to be closed??

Anonymous said...

Hilton head winter resident you have every right to be concerned about a $20 increase in your tax bill. This would no doubt translate into a $20 out of pocket expense for your first round of golf next winter.

Joe M said...

Scats I agree with your comment on declining population and down sizing. This troubled me back when I was on the board. Declining enrollment figures back then proved to be right on the mark. With today's enrollment and the number of buses in service now as compared to the 80's when we had over 15,000 students and 165 buses.makes no sense what so ever.

Until the district stops the obscene door to door and Day Care pickups and go back to State guidelines on walking distances, this excessive , costly insanity will continue .
Regarding the storage sheds there might be some justification for those items. It's my understanding, that prior to the sale of Barnard School, the district used it as a storage facility

SCATS said...

To Joe M ~~ Re: Barnard: Before they closed it, WHERE did they store things? It's my understanding based upon the little I know that these are for storage outdoors, not in a shelter with heat, etc. Will we be buying equipment 10 times over to "store" in each, too? My point is, these are NOT Earth-shattering or "urgent" needs. They are truly WANTS, as is the stadium. I'm not sure we live in an economy that can support the "want" of a $225,000 playground, especially when we MUST APPROVE IT FIRST before we can even think about OK'ing the "want" of a turfed field.

I'm hearing considerable rumblings of "NO" unlike I've heard in a number of years. Should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Who does the scheduling for shared stadium?

How do they get paid... and how much?

Sounds like they will be busy?

george hubbard said...

To: SCATS 8:57PM

1. Answer to 5:28PM not quite correct.

2. Yes, bus purchases are a SEPARATE Proposition...

3. No, 'They [do not] use money from a voter approved reserve fund to pay for them.

4. The fund is BOE approved... and uses FUND BALANCE... and therefore redirects money from operating budget surplus... to another purpose - buy busses...
for which money was not originally collected.

5. If voters approved to put money in... and voters approved to spend out... there would be no infidelity.

6. You may be thinking back to days of 3651 Cap Reserve for busses... GCSD improperly used for 20+yrs. Ended with Kackmeister Appeal 2001.

george hubbard said...

I have received the email reply to my open letter 1/21/15 to BOE Re: why vote in March.

It turns out the content of my reply has already been posted on the GCSD web page... you can read "2015 Capital Vote Information", FAQ.

Based upon my firsthand knowledge of content and events, there are discrepancies and omissions.

I fear there has been either a cyber attack... or a Brian Williams moment!

More to come.

Anonymous said...

To: SCATS

FAQ

GCSD continually cites ‘sticker costs’ like a car ad:
CIP= $35M...
Stadium= $8.5M

And then tell voters how affordable these are at 5 cents, or 12 cents/$1,000 val.

What are the corresponding fully-financed figures?
CIP= xx
Stadium= yy

SCATS said...

To 1:22PM ~~ I'm not aware that they've told us.

george hubbard said...

To: SCATS

1. I have divided the reply (2/13) to my open letter (1/21) into 10 segments for easy reference. Here is segment [6] followed by my comments:

Segment [6]: "The projects were thoroughly reviewed by the Capital Projects Committee, Finance Committee, and District Cabinet during October, November, and December 2014 with final recommendations to the Board of Education in January 2015."

2. I attended FiComm meetings. To say porjects were “thoroughly reviewed” with FiComm is thoroughly disingenuous. I have no knowledge of CIP Comm. or Cabinet.

2a. There was no discussion on pros/cons of Mar vote... or cost of holding vote.

2b. FiComm did receive cost info CIP= $35M and Stadium= $8.5M... but no dollar amounts for S.A. or local share cost... all SA discussions were in terms of PERCENTAGES - see below.

2c. FiComm did not receive financing costs for CIP or Stadium.

2d. FiComm mtg/Jan20 (after BOE vote Jan13) received handout pg9, reporting “% of Project Aidable” for CIP= 92.9%, Stadium= 78.4%.


2e. Analysis/group discussion concluded S.A. for CIP was not/could not be 92.8% (probably 15% too high)... and Stadium was not/could not be 78.4% (probably 15% too high). I have received no revised figures since - though assured our findings were holding up.

Questions/comments invited.

SCATS said...

To George H. ~~ VERY interesting, to say the least. But I'm not surprised! The shell games continue. Please share if you receive any revised/updated figures. TY.

geo H. said...

To: SCATS 1:36PM
said...
To 1:22PM ~~ I'm not aware that they've told us.
2/15/2015 1:36 PM

GCSD data on website - if you know where to look:

A____________B_________C________D______E__
__________Sticker___Full-Finan____State____State_
Proj_______Cost______Cost_______Aid_$___Aid_%_

CIP________$35.0M___$48.6M_____$39.0M____80%_

Prop#1&#2__$43.5M___$61.1M_____$41.8M____68%_

By calc
Prop2_______$8.5M___$12.5M______$2.8M ___23%_

Col C, D, E data not distrib. to FiComm.


Questions/comments/corrections invited.

SCATS said...

To George ~~ What is your belief about why that info wasn't given to the Finance Committee?