By now you have probably heard about Webster CSD’s proposed capital improvement project that will touch all 11 of our schools and our bus garage. With nearly 8,400 students and thousands of people that make up our community, we are all One Webster, and this project will affect us all. So here are the facts for taxpayers to consider before heading to the polls on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
This capital improvement project centers on three pillars: community wellness, safety and security, and infrastructure integrity. State aid will cover 70-75 percent of the estimated $69.5 million initiative which translates to an expected impact of $25 on the average Webster homeowner over the 15-year timeframe of the bond.
As part of the community wellness theme, our district will partner with the town of Webster to create an outdoor education center for our children at the new Sandbar Park on Irondequoit Bay. Through a one-time payment of $324,000 to the town — equal to the value of the land surrounding the Basket Road stadium — our students will gain the opportunity to learn about environmental stewardship in a format that inspires curiosity, critical thinking, and collaboration with nature. Our community will also see proposed upgrades to Webster Schroeder and Webster Thomas high schools’ fields that will provide better conditions for youth sports and more opportunities for adult leagues, encouraging use by every resident.
Safety and security are always top of mind at our district, and part of this project will be dedicated to improving communication with the Webster Police Department and first responders across the county. Upgraded parking and traffic flow at many buildings across the district will also be addressed.
Maintaining our infrastructure is important to ensuring a safe and productive learning environment for our kids and community members. In that spirit, this project will allow us to proactively maintain and upkeep our pipes, HVAC, lighting, bus garage and all of our buildings and grounds, avoiding costly future repairs.
Every school district’s budget includes a debt service, which comes from borrowing and bonding for major projects vital to maintaining and enhancing facilities, buildings, and infrastructure. Webster’s current debt service is among the lowest in the area at approximately 6 percent of our total operating budget. We continually look five to 10 years out in order to predict and plan for any major project in our community which helps us maintain a stable tax rate that is below the New York State tax cap.
Over the past 12 years, our budget strategies have resulted in an average tax increase of less than 1 percent on homes in Webster. Taking into consideration all of the towns included in our district, the true full-value tax rate of change is negative 0.03 percent — the second lowest in Monroe County.
In approximately three years, the 18-year debt service from the construction of Willink Middle School will end. This new capital project debt will take its place, allowing us to adhere to sound fiscal practices and keep our debt service at recommended levels.
Our district maintains stable tax rates below the tax cap, and that means our community’s taxpayers will continue to qualify for the New York State tax rebate programs that mitigate any potential increase in school taxes.
The community vote will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Webster Schroeder High School gym, located at 875 Ridge Road. Please remember to exercise your right to vote.
The enhancements highlighted above represent a portion of what will be included in this capital improvement project so please refer to websterschools.org for more information on any of the proposed initiatives.