Will this project in any way contribute further to our state's debt load?

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Yes, New York state has an overwhelming amount of debt. However, for suburban districts, such as Rush-Henrietta, the state does not borrow to fund these types of building projects.  Rather, they allow the local school district to either borrow or self-fund the project (we will be self-funding) and then the state provides building aid (expense reimbursement) over the number of years that debt would be repaid (15 years for this project). This building aid is offered as an incentive for districts to undertake capital projects. We do not know the rationale for providing this incentive. Our best guess is that building projects like Phase III create jobs (economic development) and improve the quality of life by providing modern public facilities for educating students and community use. For a more definitive response, you will need to ask our state legislators.

Within the state budget is a line item for school district building aid where the annual payments to schools are budgeted. This line is a net of older projects expiring so no more state payments are necessary, current payments due for past projects within the 15-year payment schedule, and new payments for projects approved this year. The state takes a look at this budget line item and changes the terms of state aid so their obligations match their budgeted amounts. Therefore, if school districts build capital projects that qualify for more state aid than the legislature's budget, the state will revise the aid rules to reduce the aid amounts for future projects. In effect, if the state wants to limit the growth in this line item for building aid they will reduce the proportion of state aid for future projects so they live within their budget (i.e., building aid rate changes are prospective rather than retrospective). Therefore, it is our understanding that if we move forward with this project it will not increase the state's debt load.  Instead, we will secure a portion of the aid that the state budgets in future years for capital projects.