Thursday, February 2, 2023

Town Hall Meeting


 On Wednesday-1-February the Bogota Public School District hosted a town hall meeting to inform the residents about their planned referendum on a bond issue to improve the schools in Bogota. This was held in person and online with a viewership of estimated of over 130 people.
   Superintendent Mr. Damian Kennedy talked about how the district has been financially planning for this over the past several years. He then introduced Mr. Frank Messineo from Solutions Architecture to explain the details of the referendum. This will take place on Tuesday-14-March, two questions will be put forwarded to be voted on. 
-The first question will be to vote on approval of Capital and Educational Renovations for all Capital / Educational & Facilities Infrastructure Projects for the current and planned school buildings. 
-The second question will be to vote on approval to the Replacement and upgrading High School sports complex for the High School and Middle School sports programs.
  The Capital improvements would be for facilities infrastructure of the four current school building and to develop a new Career Technical Institute in the former Masonic Temple located at 390 Palisade Ave. This would house 5 Vocational Classrooms. All schools buildings would have classrooms upgraded, including a renovated Gymnasium at Bixby School. Along with renovations to the Auditorium, and Media Center at the High School, and other needed upgrades. These improvements would enable the District to re-align their grade structure. Bixby school would be used for Pre-School to second grade. Steen school would have classes from Third to Sixth grade. The Middle School would be for 6th & 7th grades. With the High School becoming a standard 9th to 12th grade High School.  The district predicts the tax impact for this question would be a 0% increase. Due to a paying off of the current bond issue from 2004 and a New Jersey State Debt service funding aid. This aid would cover up to 32% of eligible cost. Meaning the bond issue for question 1 would be just over 8.5 million dollars in cost to the district.
   The Multipurpose Sports Complex would involve building a new Fiegel Field, which will include a running track, and a refurbished Baseball Diamond. The baseball field would be moved to the North end of Olsen Park, which is currently the Little League Field. Because the new baseball field and part of Fiegel Field would need to use land controlled by the Borough, the District is seeking to have input on these projects by the Governing Body. Part of this project would need to have Enviromental improvement to the land it will sit on, this can also be eligible for New Jersey State Debt service funding aid. Because of this aid the sports complex would be just over 5 million dollars in cost to the district.  If the second question is passed, this part of the project would have a raise in the tax rate for the resident of the Borough. 
  Voters will have the choice to pass or reject both questions. If both the first question and second question are passed then work will start on final design and planning to have the least impact on the Students attending classes. If the first question is passed, but the second question is defeated then only the renovations to the school buildings will still take place. If both questions are defeated, then none of the projects will be able to take place at this time. 
  A recording of this meeting is now available at:  Video presentations are available at:   
Other meeting are planned for: Steen PTO on Monday-6-February at 7:00p., Bixby PTO on Wednesday-15-February, and the High School PTO on Thursday-2-March.
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