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The Times
  • Three bus propositions to go before Fort Plain voters

  • Residents of the Fort Plain Central School District will vote on three separate transportation proposals on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The first proposal is to create a reserve called the bus and transportation reserve fund that would be used to buy buses, vehicles and other transportation equipment. The second is to tran...
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  • Residents of the Fort Plain Central School District will vote on three separate transportation proposals on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
    The first proposal is to create a reserve called the bus and transportation reserve fund that would be used to buy buses, vehicles and other transportation equipment. The second is to transfer $409,631 in capital reserve fund to the bus and transportation reserve fund and the third proposal is to spend no more than $245,000 in surplus fund balance to buy two full-sized buses.
    Voting will take place in the Harry Hoag Elementary School gymnasium from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    None of the propositions would require an increase in taxes, but district leaders need voter approval in order to create or change reserve funds or to purchase the buses.
    “These three propositions are part of the district’s short- and long-term transportation plan,” said Superintendent Douglas Burton in a news release. “They would save the district money and create a sensible vehicle replacement schedule without adding to the taxpayers’ burden.”
    The first proposition asks voters to approve the formation of a bus and transportation reserve fund not to exceed $2.3 million. This would not require additional taxes. Instead, the district would use surplus fund balance to partially fund the reserve which could only be used for the purchase of school buses, vehicles and transportation-related equipment, the release stated. The balance of funding for the bus and transportation reserve fund would come from voter approval of a second proposition that would allow the transfer of the remaining $409,631 in a capital reserve fund.
    In the third proposition, voters will be asked allow the purchase of two buses using money the district already has in reserve. That means the purchase would come at no cost to taxpayers.
    “This is money (in the capital reserve fund) that has been accrued from previous bus purchases that we want to roll over,” said Burton.
    The district — which currently manages transportation services for the newly-merged St. Johnsville Central School District — routinely replaces buses after a certain age to ensure student safety and to reduce the cost of repairs, according to the news release. Under the new plan, the district would move from a five-year to a 10-year replacement schedule.
    The referendum also helps the district address an Office of the State Comptroller’s finding that the district’s unappropriated fund balance exceeded the state limit of four percent.
    Designating surplus fund balance to the bus and transportation reserve fund brings the district into compliance and meets a growing concern of how to fund buses in the future, the release stated.
    “By using this plan, the fleet requirements of the district could be met for the next 10 years without affecting the local tax rate,” said Burton.

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