Details of $15 Million Possibilities

The Batavia school district has released a sample project list the $15 million bond referendum could fund. While their District E-news says, “The current plan is to divide the $15 million between capital improvements at several schools (end-of-life assets, such as boilers, roofs, lighting systems, parking lots, windows, etc.) and a portion of the athletic fields at Batavia High School,” don’t be fooled. The “portion” of the athletic fields includes everything in the $13.4+ million Athletic Fields Redevelopment Plan but the monument signs and the 2nd artificial turf field (compare the list with the documents from the 6/25/13 Board meeting, p. 115 of 193). It also means cutting down the trees in the arboretum.

Assistant Superintendent of Finance Kris Monn sometimes engages in creative accounting. Like his reports on registration fee comparisons and the Batavia Fine Arts Center, this sample project list leaves some important things out:

  • Part of the varsity baseball field has already been done and paid for (backstops), so the numbers here represent not part, but the whole of that field.
  • The cost of the annual lease for the maintenance building–If they stick with the current favored plan of buying former board president Ron Link’s building, that would amount to $144,000/yr for 10-20 yrs (depending on which month’s report you look at). That adds up to an additional $1.44-2.88 million over time, plus the loss of annual property tax revenue ($15,641 for the school district this year alone) as private property becomes public.
  • Proper labeling–The $423,125 “New Maintenance Garage/Storage Facility Construction Costs” is not labeled as “Athletic Fields” even though it is part of the athletic fields Master Plan. Proper labeling, plus adding in the building’s lease over 10 or 20 yrs, amounts to an “Athletic Fields” portion of $9.4-10.8 million out of the $15 million bonds.

Though they may try to emphasize that this referendum is not just about the athletic fields, the sample project list says that it largely is.

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