ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Albany voters must decide whether or not to rebuild and renovate the high school in the city.
If the majority votes yes to city Proposition 1, Albany taxpayers would have to pay an extra $42 per year in taxes to rebuild and renovate the high school. The project would cost around $200 million.
Albany High School was built in the 1970s. People agree the school needs work, but some don’t believe now is the time to do it. School Board President Ginnie Farrell said it’s time to fix the school for good.
“And after 40 years, you can patch a roof as much as you want, you can replace different parts on a heating ventilation air conditioning unit, you can caulk around windows as much as you want, but at a certain point, they fail,” Farrell said.
The most notable problem in the school is the heating and air conditioning ventilation system.
“So you can see where there’s these different leaks throughout the entire ceiling,” Farrell pointed out.
If voters say yes to the proposed tax, they’d be agreeing to two phases, nearly 10 years, and almost $200 million worth of construction.
“Every year the taxes will be about $42, which bring that down, is $3.50 a month or 12 cents a day,” Farrell said.
Local business owner Joe Bonilla said he plans to vote yes.
“If we’re going to give our children and our students an opportunity to make this happen and actually provide them that infrastructure, let’s make it happen now while the costs are going to be lower,” he said.
Ellen Roach has a son in second grade in the district, but she said she’s voting no. She said the renovations are needed, but they shouldn’t be the main priority right now.
Roach said if test scores and graduation rates don’t increase, they city could lose control of the school to the state, and then a new building won’t matter.
“It means we’re all going to have to do the work of building this building, maintaining it, fixing it, getting it where it should be,” she said. “But we won’t have control over who’s hired to teach there, what they teach, what the standards are, any of that.”
Taxpayers wouldn’t be fronting the whole bill for the renovations. State aid would pay for more than half of the cost leaving $72 million of the burden on taxpayers.