road to referendum
Hillsdale will vote on Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Our aging middle school has been discussed for a long time.
Now a solution is proposed for our learners and community.
The Hillsdale Board of Education will ask voters on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 for permission to borrow $82.7 million to replace the century-old George G. White Middle School. Because there are more students, GW is out of space. Age has put GW out of date. Together, those factors mean Hillsdale is out of time to continue delaying action.
How can residents learn more?
Residents are invited to walk through GW, hear about the plan and ask questions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. In addition to seeing the classrooms, gym, cafeteria and other rooms designed for K-8 students in the 1920s, visitors will be able to see pictures of what a modern middle school looks like.
ReplacE The aging
MIDDLE SCHOOL ...
MIDDLE SCHOOL ...
George G. White Middle School has long shown its age. The building lacks the characteristics that form the foundation of a 21st century learning experience, which fosters innovation, a love of learning and space to support psychological and physical wellness.
Our middle school faces extensive challenges. It lacks the physical space needed for our students and programming. Our mechanical systems - HVAC, electric, plumbing - are ailing and are the victim of many years of piecemeal fixes driven by emergency circumstances.
The building's needs include: classrooms space of appropriate size for today's learners; new boilers, windows, doors and roofing; efficient and safe parent drop-off zones; staff and visitor parking; a gymnasium that meets the demands of our physical education learners and robust recreation/community athletics; and cafeteria space and service areas that can accommodate the student population of today and tomorrow.
... WITH a New middle school across the street
FOUR MAIN POINTS:
The option to do nothing is not realistic. Years of constant repairs and piecemeal fixes do not change the reality that GW has seen its share of wear and tear since being built 100 years ago. The learning environment is small and outdated. Inefficient mechanical systems strain the operating budget. The exterior of GW has deteriorated beyond major repair.
State aid will contribute up to $5.4 million to build a new school if voters agree to pay the rest with local taxes. Early discussions included state aid to pay “up to a third” of the costs, but that was only an estimate for rehabilitating the current building. Expanding it, which Hillsdale also needs, would have brought about the same aid percentage as the proposal on the ballot. In fact, the per-month tax impact of renovating and expanding was estimated at $72 per month including state aid – compared to the $95 per month cost of building a new school.
Voter approval would put into action the proposal that emerged from strategic planning in 2019, with cost estimates from 2022 and a new school in 2026. Voter rejection would re-start the process of concept development, new cost estimates and state approval, with a timeline of one to two years before a public referendum.
Community use of GW is strong beyond the school day. Recreational activities such as basketball and learning enrichment such as Winter Workshops take place there, and it is frequently used as one of the few large, indoor gathering spaces in the town. All residents benefit from quality schools.