LANSING, N.Y.—On Tuesday, 18% of the active voting population in Lansing turned out to vote on the Lansing Central School District’s (LCSD) two proposed 2022 capital projects which would have cost $25.8 million.

The two projects are the Non-Pipeline Alternative (NPA) project, which addresses the moratorium on generating any new natural gas that has existed in Lansing since 2017. Because of the moratorium, New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) issued a proposal request for non-pipeline alternatives that would reduce the current natural gas in Lansing, according to the LCSD.

The Lansing Middle School is the district’s largest natural gas user, and updating the HVAC will reduce the need for natural gas to heat and cool the school.

The prosed timeline includes designs to be submitted to NYSEG in April 2023, and approval in August ahead of construction bidding awards in October. Plans include a construction start date in June 2024.

The project’s draft budget totals $3.1 million, with a NYSEG award of $710,437 toward the project.

The NPA project passed with 509 “Yes” votes and 495 votes “No.”

The second and much larger of the proposed capital projects was the BOBCAT Project, which failed with 634 votes “No” and 368 “Yes.” The project included updates to athletic facilities, roof replacements and infrastructure updates to the elementary, middle and high schools.

Details were presented at a school board meeting on Oct. 24 detailing the specifics, which included replacement of baseball field dugouts, replacement of the track plus the addition of two lanes, new synthetic turf to replace the current natural turf on the track, expansion of a parking lot, new lighting fixtures on the fields, refinishing floors, replacing roofs from 1997, reconstructing the high school’s courtyard walls, replacing the electronic message board and updating branding, among a few other things.

Following Tuesday’s vote, LCSD posted an update to Facebook with results, saying that “There seem to be misconceptions regarding the actual condition of our athletic facilities as well as the process of capital projects. In addition, we will provide the community with greater details regarding the financial impact of the BOBCAT project.” Further discussion could be coming at the next Board of Education meeting this month.

Additionally, the post went on to say that the district was “experiencing very low levels of engagement,” and that it is grateful for the “renewed involvement” as capital improvement planning moves forward.

Aside from the capital projects, the 2022–23 proposed budget estimates a tax rate of $20.98 per $1,000 assessed value, which is down .42% from the 2021-22 school year, and a $34,048,725 budget overall.

Of that $34 million, federal and state aid contribute $30,000 (.09%) and $10.6 million (31.22%), respectively. Miscellaneous and reserves/fund balance account for 2.87% with a total of $975,500, leaving the remaining $22.4 million (65.83%) for the tax levy.

For comparison’s sake, the 2020–21 and 2021–22 budgets totaled $31,554,110 and $32,408,881, respectively.

Despite the big ask for the 2022–23 capital project, the budgeted amount in the draft budget’s spending summary lists $4,938,184, or 14.50%, which was similar to the previous two school years that landed somewhere between 14.05 to 14.61%.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...