FAQ Capital Project 2023


1.  What is the cost-per-pupil at Galway and student:teacher ratio? 
The most recent data available on data.nysed.gov for Galway Central School District is 2021-22. At that time, the average cost-per-pupil was $20,785, which is lower than the NYS average of $25,870.33. The student:teacher ratio was 9. 

2.  Lockdowns in the new spaces - how will students be secured? 
Galway CSD has district-wide and building safety plans to address all scenarios both inside and outside the buildings in order to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies. The district-wide school safety team is charged with the development and maintenance of the district-wide safety plan, which is responsive to the needs of the district and is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the building level. This plan is reviewed annually and made available for public comment 30 days prior to its adoption (typically in August). 

3.  How much larger was the original gymnasium design than the current design? 
The addition for the gymnasium and associated spaces including the locker room, fitness center and lobby initially was approx. 21,000sf which has been reduced to approx. 15,700sf. 

4.  Will community members be able to use the indoor walking track during the school day? How will students and community members mingle in the fitness center?
The indoor walking track will be open for community member use during school hours for at least one hour per day/three days per week. Community members will enter through the Fitness Center entrance on the Junior/Senior High School side of the building. We will look at the P.E. schedule to determine what hours the Fitness Center can be used by community members during school hours when it is not in use by students. Students and community members will use the facilities at different times; they will not overlap. Both the indoor walking track and fitness center will be available for community use outside of school hours also. 

5.  Some comments from the presentations have drawn a connection between the bus driver shortage and the Capital Project, insinuating that instead of improving the buildings and grounds, the district should focus on staff recruitment. 
Please know that the bus driver shortage and the Capital Project are two separate entities. Galway CSD has been recruiting for bus drivers for years - we have held Job Fairs for two summers in a row, and we are continuously recruiting and posting the position. The bus driver shortage is not just a challenge in Galway – school districts across the region, state, and country are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers. 

The district is in negotiations with CSEA to increase bus driver pay, and we are looking forward to a favorable outcome for all. 

Salaries and benefits for staff are in the regular school-year budget that taxpayers vote for every May. Capital Projects are in a separate budget line. Capital Projects are a benefit to the district’s tax cap formula. They are usually undertaken every five years to help the district maintain a tax levy that is stable and predictable while improving our buildings and grounds. 

The Transportation Department is doing a remarkable job with the resources it has. While neighboring districts tell parents they are unable to transport their children to school on certain days, some Galway bus drivers are making two runs in the morning in order to get students to school. Our Transportation Team is going above and beyond in very stressful circumstances to collaborate in real time with families, bus drivers, and dispatch, to ascertain which students need to be picked up and where. Often this occurs very early in the morning before most people are awake, and they don’t stop until every student is home in the afternoon or evening. Unfortunately, this is the current state of affairs until more individuals choose to become bus drivers. Whether or not the Capital Project passes will have no bearing on the number of bus drivers we have. 

6.  Who were the stakeholders who were involved in the planning process?

At the February 2023 Board of Education meeting, the Facilities Committee began discussing a potential capital improvement project based on the 2020 Building Condition Survey. In the March 2023 district newsletter, Galway community members were invited to participate in the process of developing this potential project.  

Individuals who were involved in the planning process consisted of:
3 BOE members
Business Administrator
Supervisor of Buildings
Building Maintenance Mechanic
Supervisor of Transportation and Grounds
3 Teachers
3 Coaches
3 Community Members
3 Community Members/Teachers/Coaches
1 Support Staff

Facilities Committee Members
Brita Donovan, Superintendent
Courtney Sayward, Business Administrator
Jay Anderson, BOE Member
David Page, BOE Member
Dennis Schaperjahn, Former BOE Member
Michelle Bombard, BOE Member
Mike Miller, Jr. Sr. High School Principal
Chris Cook, Supervisor of Operations and Maintenance
Jon Taggart, Building Maintenance Mechanic
Greg Perron, Supervisor of Transportation and Grounds
Greg Klokiw, CSArch, Architect
Elizabeth Brutsch, CSArch, Architect
Eric Roberts, Schoolhouse Construction, Construction Managers
Marc Rivers, Schoolhouse Construction, Construction Managers

7.  How did you arrive at the scope of work for this project? 

When the stakeholders took into consideration the recommendations in the 2020 Building Condition Survey, the work that was recommended for the 2016 project but not put out to voters due to cost, the work that was not completed in the 2021 Capital Project due to post-pandemic cost escalation, the capital outlay work that could not be completed due to bids that came in too high, and all the ideas and suggestions from the stakeholders, the project would have cost approximately $63 million. 

The Facilities Committee met every other week to pare down the project because the projected cost was prohibitive. This included a complete design change of the proposed enlarged gymnasium and fitness center, which is significantly smaller than what the stakeholders originally requested and the architects originally proposed. The footprint of the current proposed gymnasium is as small as we can make it. 

8.  Is our enrollment growing or declining?

2023-2024 – 852

2022-2023 – 814

2021-2022 – 832

2020-2021 – 806

2019-2020 – 837

2018-2019 – 787

9.  Will our insurance costs increase due to the Fitness Center?

Our insurance carrier has informed us that the fitness center would not have an impact on the insurance cost.

10.  What kind of glass in on the greenhouse?

Double paned, insulating, laminated safety glass. The glass will break, but remain in place.  When not in use, the classroom door would be secured.

11.  Why do we need a larger gym?

A larger gymnasium is needed for three reasons: safety, size, and programming. 

First and foremost is safety. There is not sufficient space around the basketball court. High School Court guidelines recommend 10 feet of unobstructed space outside a basketball court for safety; 3 feet is minimum. Our current gym only has 15 inches. Athletes are running into bleachers and spectators. There is not a safe space for our cheerleaders on the sidelines. Additionally, the playing surface gets wet and dangerous due to foot traffic. 

Number two is the size of the gym. The clear height to the underside of the existing structure is too low for volleyball and basketball and interferes with plays. The ceiling requires a 3-foot minimum increase in height to be compliant with volleyball court minimum standards. The current seating capacity is approximately 315. During games, chairs for the athletes are pushed up against the bleachers, which further reduces seating. We have had to ask JV parents of our home team and visitors to leave to accommodate varsity parents. There is no room for a pep band. 

Number three is programming. Our current gym is the correct size for physical education classes for our current student population, however, it is challenging to accommodate all the practices and games for all the sports we offer after school and on weekends, even with the Middle School gym and Elementary gym. Our gyms get a lot of usage! A larger gym will enable all students to participate in all activities at the same time. The proposed plan includes two full-size practice courts that will be side-by-side and a regulation court with safe run-out space. This design will double our capacity for practices, give our boys and girls teams of all sports equal access to practice and compete in that space, accommodate more spectators, and possibly host sectional games/tournaments. From a scheduling perspective, it may also get our student athletes home earlier from practice. 

Our students are engaged in our school and we are starting to see increased interest in sports. More students are trying out for basketball, we have enough wrestlers to have our own team again (we had to merge with Scotia-Glenville for the last two years), and we have enough athletes to score points as a team in cross-country again. As the numbers increase, and excitement is building, space will continue to be an issue that will need to be addressed sooner or later. 

As a matter of fact, a renovation of the gymnasium was proposed in 2009 as part of an EXCEL Capital Project but was rejected by voters. At that time, enlarging the gym would have cost $1.6 million. 

Athletics is a huge part of our culture. We are one of the few districts of our size in our area that fields varsity, JV, and modified teams for baseball and softball. Track had the largest number of students participate in a number of years. They would benefit from the elevated track and fitness room. We’re building a cheerleading program and can host cheerleading events. 

12. Will there be a divider in the new gym?

Yes, the divider will be in the middle of the space horizontally and separate the two practice courts from the bleachers to the wall adjoining the school.  

13.  Will the courts be marked for sports other than basketball and volleyball? 

Yes, the courts will have lines for badminton and pickleball to go along with our P.E. curriculum. 

14.  Why do we have 800 seats in the gymnasium?

The footprint of the proposed gym and the placement of the courts helped determine the number of seats that could be accommodated in a larger space. As part of the planning process, we surveyed similar league and neighboring school gymnasiums (some in-person) to help decide how many seats we should have. The current gym was built in 1964 and opened in April 1965. We are mindful of planning for seating capacity for the next 60 years and beyond.

15. What is the size of the Fitness Room?

50 feet X 50 55 feet

16.  How are you going to pay for a person to oversee the Fitness Room?

The school district posts for the position of Fitness Room Supervisor per the GTA contract. This is an hourly position that is only paid during the hours the fitness center is open. 

17.  What happens if the Project does not pass?

As infrastructure deteriorates and breaks down, repairs would be made using funds from the annual budget. The money would either be taken from another area of the budget, or the work would not get done. 

18.  Why is athletics so important to a school district?

From college readiness to health and wellness, here are three reasons why athletics is important to a school district. First, participation in athletics accelerates college readiness. Whether a student participates in a team sport like volleyball or soccer or an individual sport like golf, an athletic program fosters the development of integral problem-solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills that will help students in college and throughout their personal lives.  Student-athletes develop leadership skills as they grow to understand that other people depend on them. They learn self-discipline as they grow to understand their choices have consequences. Ask any varsity athlete, and they’ll tell you the consequences of missing a practice or showing up late. This lesson in accountability is invaluable and will help your child succeed later in life as they enter the job force. Our student-athletes are accepted at universities including Harvard and military academies such as the Air Force Academy and West Point.

Participation in athletics also enhances academic performance. Student-athletes develop intrinsic motivation and strong work ethics that enhance academic performance in the classroom. Research indicates that students who participate in athletics receive higher grades, better test scores, and higher educational achievements. Through athletic participation, student athletes learn the importance of preparation and practice. Unwavering dedication to their craft is the difference between home runs and base hits, starting on the field or coming in off the bench. Student-athletes often see their efforts translate into better athletic performance. And this relationship between performance and practice transfers into the classroom. From their experience as student-athletes, our students will approach tests the same way they approach an important playoff game: with focus, preparation, and practice.  As proof of increased academic performance due to athletic involvement, Galway Junior/Senior High School has been a NYSPHSAA SCHOOL OF DISTINCTION for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 (one of only four schools in Section 2 to claim this achievement). This award is based on the grade point average of all of the student athletes in every sport. The district also has a robust Academic Eligibility Policy which is outlined in our Student Handbook.

Lastly, participation in athletics improves health and wellness, which is a core value of our district. Participation in athletics helps create a strong foundation for fitness habits that last beyond graduation. When active lifestyle values are emphasized at an early age, students will likely continue to exercise and adopt healthy habits as they grow. Athletics provide students with regular exercise, which lowers blood pressure and stress levels and increases self-esteem. Physically active children have a reduced risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

19. How did you pare down the proposed gymnasium? 

The original plan (that the public did not see) had a larger footprint for the main court, two practice courts, and fitness center in the front along Sacandaga Road. To reduce the square footage, the Facilities Committee worked with district architects to move the fitness center to the side of the building and make efficient use of the main court and two practice courts. Please see the schematics below (imagine them with the bleachers collapsed)

The proposed plan includes two full-size practice courts that will be side-by-side and a regulation court with safe run-out space. This design will double our capacity for practices while making the footprint as small as possible.
enlarged gym

gym interior

gym interior

20. How can I estimate what the impact will be on my school taxes? 

The district will finance the proposed 2023 Capital Project using capital reserve funds, NYS Aid, and local tax dollars. 

To estimate your tax impact, divide your Taxable Value by 1,000 then multiply by the rate for your municipality (see the table below). 

How Do I Find the Taxable Value of My Home? 

It is important to note that the Taxable Value of your home is different from a “Zestimate” that you might find on Zillow. It is also different from Full Market Value. It is typically lower. 

To find the Taxable Value of your home, “search your tax” bill by using the Quick Link on the homepage of the Galway CSD website. In case the form doesn’t populate, the district code is 212. 

Once you access your tax bill, look under the “Property Information” section. There you will see the Full Market Value, Assessed Value, and Taxable Value, which takes into consideration the equalization rate of the municipality in which you live. 

Example of a school tax bill:

For assistance, please click the following link to a Google Spreadsheet that you can personalize with your Taxable Value and municipality: Tax Impact Estimator

In the example above, the tax impact for the home in Galway for Proposition 1 would be $22.65/month, and Proposition 2 would be $3.23/month. 

Tax Impact


Proposition #1

Proposition #2

Rate per $1,000 taxable value

Rate per $1,000 taxable value

























*These tax rates are for the proposed capital project only and do not include current taxes. 

*These tax rates are estimates based on State Aid approval assumptions and current interest rates.

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