Please visit SES Study information for details regarding upcoming events, including a Program Implemenation Findings meeting, May 29, and the application process to be a participant in a Community Focus Group. Check the left navigation for a meeting announcement, information brochure, and participant application: www.lancasterschools.org/SES_study. (new window)
Please take a moment to view NY State's plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (new window).
The buildings that comprise the Lancaster school system reflect the homes and buildings that make up our community. Some are stately, ornate, and traditional, like the buildings that line our village. On the cusp of celebrating its 100th year (2022), Lancaster Middle School stands as a steadfast example of that early era. Others represent the mid-century - capes, ranches, post-war subdivisions that reflect the economic boom when people began to move out to the suburbs and build the “American Dream.” Hillview, Court Street, and Como Park schools represent those times.
Post-war expansion of our community brought the need for Lancaster High School and John A. Sciole Elementary, in the mid-century era. The opening of William Street School in 1998 was the culmination of the scores of subdivisions that cropped up at a record pace. A diversity of housing stock helped our enrollment to increase and stabilize, as older homes turned over to new ownership, new homes were constructed at a record rate, and Lancaster gained a reputation as one of the best places in Western New York to educate one’s children.
No matter the age of your home, whether it is a historic Victorian, or a well-appointed new-build, little time goes by without needing home improvements. Sometimes, it’s as simple as routine maintenance—painting a room, replacing a few worn tiles, changing a fixture here or there. Other times, more extensive repairs are required, like a new roof, repairing a furnace or upgrading to a new boiler, or replacing windows.
The decision on when to make these investments often is dependent on timing: Is there sufficient money available, either in the budget, or with favorable borrowing rates; are there incentives available for things like energy efficiency?
No matter the scale of your own dwelling, property maintenance is a fact of every day life. The only variables are timing and financing.
On a much larger scale, long-term maintenance and facility improvements are the same issues the district must continually consider. As Western New York’s fourth largest school district, Lancaster is home to the largest single campus high school and largest elementary school in the region, William Street School. It is our responsibility to maintain safe and sound properties, make improvements that keep pace with changing instructional needs, and utilize the space that we have in the students’ best interests. Within that scope of responsibility falls more than one million square feet of brick and mortar as well as more than 200 acres of land currently in use. While the district has undertaken two improvement projects over the past six years, there are still significant needs in each of our aging facilities.
While our oldest building is nearing its centennial year, our newest, William Street School is just ‘coming of age,’ in that it has finally hit the 20-year mark when it becomes eligible, according to state guidelines, for building aid on necessary repairs and renovations. On one hand, we have our oldest building, which has been well-maintained and seen significant benefit from recent bond issues, still in need of infrastructure improvements. On the other hand, our newest building has not been eligible for enhancements, repairs, or improvements over the last two decades, due to state aid guidelines.
On Tuesday, December 11, from 7am until 9pm in the high school Java Gym, residents will have the opportunity to vote on a $77.1 million capital project focusing on preserving the community’s assets and prioritizing items identified by a state-mandated building condition survey. By maximizing state aid, applying $5 million from the district’s capital reserve fund, and a $500,000 contribution from the Lancaster Educational and Alumni Foundation (LEAF), we will be able to realize all of this at zero tax impact to homeowners.
The time has come to fix up and improve many of the systems that make our facilities run, with the largest portion of the project going to our stately oldest building and our twenty-year-old “new” building. The timing is right, because as old debt is retired and we have maintained an excellent credit rating, we are able take advantage of state aid, reserve funds, and a contribution from LEAF, thus maximizing the scope and minimizing the financial impact to taxpayers—to zero.
Materials detailing the project will be distributed to homeowners and information will be posted to the district’s website shortly. A presentation will be given on December 3 at 7pm at John A. Sciole Elementary. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the project and make sure to cast an informed vote on December 11.
Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
One of only four in the nation