On May 19, 2015, the voters of Southern Cayuga approved a public referendum to use taxpayer funds to replace the planetarium roof, contingent on receipt of a matching gift of $100,000. The anticipated cost of the roof replacement was $200,000, of which the district would provide half the funds, while the donation would make up the difference. Unfortunately, the October 1 deadline has passed and the matching $100,000 has not been raised.
During the October 13, 2015, SCCS Board of Education meeting, the Board recommended the continued closure of the building, the potential removal of the heating & ventilation unit from the roof to alleviate structural stress, and to prepare the building for another winter. As we begin the second year of closure of the planetarium, we need to look at long-term options, beyond the cost of the initial roof repair, towards total repair costs estimated at $600,000. As the building remains ineligible for state aid, the cost of repair is prohibitive to the district as the impact on our debt service and operating budget would be significant.
As we look ahead to next year, the budget process may prove challenging even though we continue to make progress with repairs to our school buildings. Early indications point to a lower than average tax cap limit, which would significantly hamper the district’s ability to raise additional revenue. It is our firm belief that our limited financial resources must support student learning, operational costs, and our infrastructure priorities. As a result, there are no district plans to proceed with planetarium repairs.