On April 4, 2017, Shenendehowa district residents will be asked to vote on a permissive referendum to sell 34.334 acres of vacant, district-owned land for $2,050,001 to BBL who will donate half of the land to the town of Clifton Park. The vote will be held in the gymnasium at Gowana Middle School and polls will be open from 7am to 9pm. Click here to view the newsletter about the referendum.
Absentee Ballot Misinformation
Due to misinformation being shared regarding the upcoming permissive referendum on April 4th , it is imperative for voters to know the strict conditions for completing an absentee ballot. The absentee ballot is available only if one expects, in good faith, that one will be out of town or unable to come to the polls for one of the reasons given on the application, which are very specific and don’t include bad weather. Please be reminded that providing false information about the reason one is asking for a ballot is a misdemeanor.
On December 6, 2016, the Board of Education voted to accept a Request for Proposal (RFP) submitted by BBL to purchase 34.334 acres of vacant, district-owned land for $2,050,001 ($550,001 above asking price). Included in the RFP was the commitment to donate half of the land (approximately 17.5-19 acres) to the town of Clifton Park.
On January 6, 2017, petitions were delivered to the district to require a permissive referendum on the action taken by the Board of Education to sell the land to BBL. Under NYS Education Law §1804 regarding permissive referendums on the sale of land, there must be 10% of qualified voters signing the petition, they must be original signatures (no on-line signatures allowed) and all petitions (submitted and notarized as being true and accurate) must be submitted 30 calendar days after the BOE took action.
School district staff members spent the past few weeks verifying signatures for residency (address) and eligibility to vote using multiple sources including tax roll data, county voter registration and Student Information System data, as well as ensuring that there are no duplicate signatures. A total of 7,028 petitions were submitted. The district has been able to confirm 5,588 signatures with a high degree of confidence, satisfying the conditions to hold a referendum.
On January 24, 2017, the Board of Education voted to hold the permissive referendum on April 4, 2017. The Board also approved the following resolution language for the vote:
PERMISSIVE REFERENDUM PROPOSITION
RESOLVED: That the Board of Education of the Shenendehowa Central School District is hereby authorized to sell to BBL, LLC (BBL), or its wholly owned affiliate, in accordance with and as more particularly described in the Board of Education’s Resolution adopted on December 6, 2016, 34.3 acres of surplus land in the Town of Clifton Park designated by tax map number 271.-3-39.1 for a purchase price of Two Million Fifty Thousand One Dollars ($2,050,001.00), without any contingencies reserved on the part of purchaser BBL, and subject to BBL’s agreement to donate not less than seventeen and one-half (17.5) and no more than nineteen (19) acres of said land, in its original condition, to the Town of Clifton Park for the Town’s use.
What was the process for selling the land?
The Board of Education issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in August to sell the land and received four proposals:
BBL – $2,050,001 (BBL Schematic);
DCG – $1,529,000;
United Group – $1,125,00; and,
Town of Clifton Park – $1,000,000.
The Board of Education voted to award the RFP to BBL based on two factors:
A $2 million sale price. The minimum appraised sales price by the district was $1.5 million. The BBL proposal is $500,000 above the minimum bid amount.
Donation of approximately half of the land (17.5-19 acres) to the town of Clifton Park.
Why did the district decide to sell the property?
The district has already constructed two schools on the original parcel. Arongen was built in 1992. In 2004, the district proposed building Shatekon on this land because it owned the property and state aid reimbursement to the district was maximized (saving taxpayers money)by attaching it to an existing school (Arongen). After completing Shatekon, the surplus property was deemed to be too expensive to construct a third facility.
When did the district decide to sell the property?
Ten years ago, the district’s Futures Committee recognized Halfmoon as the fastest growing town within the district. Based on this, it recommended selling this property and using the proceeds to purchase land in Halfmoon to possibly build the next school based on growth patterns.
Was this the first RFP to sell the property?
The district had two separate RFP processes which were advertised in the newspapers, the website and social media. In 2015, the board issued the first RFP and received one proposal from DCG for $1.7 million for the 34 acres. However, DCG rescinded their offer before the Board could vote on their proposal. The second RFP was issued in August 2016. Four proposals were submitted and the Board accepted the proposal submitted by BBL on December 6.
Is there a designated buffer between the property slated to be sold and the Shatekon playground?
As illustrated on the map (BBL Schematic), there is a designated, wooded buffer between the Shatekon field and the property to be sold.
BBL has not disclosed its intended use for the land other than to say that it will be in compliance with what the land is zoned for by the Town of Clifton Park.
When the town of Clifton Park began the process to rezone the property to what is now TC3-Commercial, the district had two independent appraisals conducted (September 2014 and January 2015) to render an opinion of market value in connection with future negotiations of marketing the property to potential buyers. Both appraisers concluded the site is functional for development. Click here for the two (2) Appraisal Reports.
The permissive referendum is only to authorize the specific sale of the property to BBL. If the land is not sold, it remains the school district’s land.
Excerpt from Appraisal Report – Click here for the two (2) Appraisal Reports.
The subject site appears to be functional for development. It is generally a level parcel and wooded. There appears to be minimal wetlands on the property primarily along the south central boundary.
Excerpt from Independent Auditors Financial Report of June 30, 2016 – Click here for full report
“SHENENDEHOWA CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT AT CLIFTON PARK MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS JUNE 30, 2016 FACTORS BEARING ON THE DISTRICT’S FUTURE
The District has been contracting with Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC) each year to prepare enrollment projections as a basis for budget planning. Prior to the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the CDRPC’s reports indicated growth over the next 5 years of almost 300 students. The report dated November 2016 projected modest reductions in the District’s enrollment through 2020-21 due to the downturn in the economy and an increase in private full-day kindergarten enrollments. The District currently provides a half- day kindergarten program. However, CDPRC also noted that the recent and ongoing construction and expansion of the Global Foundries Semiconductor Manufacturing Facility in Malta, as well as the supporting industries that are expected to build in the area, will likely drive increases in enrollments at some point in the future. During the summer of 2007, the District completed construction of a new 550 pupil elementary school and an addition of 11 classrooms to the middle schools to address enrollment growth.
The District also utilizes a Futures Committee to further monitor the growth of the area and its anticipated impact on District enrollment. The Committee continues to meet with officials of the three largest towns in the District as well as other community leaders to project growth in the District and make recommendations to the Board of Education for long-range planning purposes.
See independent auditor’s report. 13
The committee last reported to the Board of Education in January 2012. Their report concluded that growth within the District would continue for the next 15 to 20 years and would result in significant increases in student population. The Committee strongly recommended that the Board of Education take steps to secure land to provide for future growth. In addition, a grant of $350,000 was set aside for this purpose.
During the last year, the town of Clifton Park approved a rezoning plan to address current and future growth issues in the town. As a result, interest has emerged in the town to further enhance and develop commercial areas. The District has received approval on an application to the town to subdivide and rezone a portion of unused land near the Shatekon facility that is adjacent to areas of interest to developers. The District has currently issued a Request for Proposal to sell the unused portion of land for commercial use. The RFP’s are due to the District in October 2016. The District anticipates using proceeds of the sale to purchase more suitable land for the purpose of erecting another school building when it becomes necessary to do so.”
Excerpt from 2011 – 12 Futures Committee Report – Click here for full report
• “The greatest potential for growth in residential housing during the next 15 years continues to be in the eastern part of the district, primarily in the Town of Halfmoon.
• The school enrollment projections prepared by CDRPC indicate a stabilization of enrollments in the short and mid-term, largely due to lower birth rates and kindergarten age students, However, the potential for in-migration growth is unknown and could be significant
• Shenendehowa is centrally located in the region and has a positive academic reputation, sizable housing stock and developable land capacity, hence, attractive for new families to consider living here.
Each of these projections indicated continued and significant growth within the district and communities that make up the district over both the near future and the next 20 to 30 years (potential full build – out).”
Excerpt from 2016 – 17 School Enrollment Projections for SCSD by Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC) – Click here for full report
“More immediately, the District should prepare for an overall increase in enrollment, especially in K-5 where more than 300 additional students are projected by 2021-22. Grades 6-8 are projected to endure a period of depressed enrollment before rebounding in 2020-21and 2121-22. Finally, grades 9-12, the most insulated from changes in the younger cohorts, will see enrollment begin to decline by the end of the projection period.
Overall, Shenendehowa continues to be an attractive school district as is evident by the nearly unbroken trend of increasing enrollment for more than 20 years. There is no reason to expect that any major reversal of this trend should occur in the immediate future.”