Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the role of the School Board’s Capital Improvement Committee?
    • The CIP Committee role is to review yearly the facility and major project needs of the District and to make recommendations to the full school board as to how and when they should be addressed.
  • What are the space and safety concerns associated with our current district facilities
    that we are trying to address?
    • At the Jr./Sr. High School we are looking to address the following needs:
      • Update science labs & Family Consumer Science lab
      • Develop a larger community space with a stage for performing arts
      • Individual program spaces for reading, Life Skills, speech, occupational therapy, autism
      • Repurpose use of space (administration, office, guidance, nurse)
      • Redesign cafeteria and kitchen space
      • Mechanical, HVAC, and electrical systems and replacement of existing boilers
      • Lack of storage
    • At the Elementary School we are looking to address the following needs:
      • Develop adequate classrooms that allow flexibility for more current teaching practices
      • Individual program spaces for reading, STEAM, Life Skills, speech, occupational therapy, autism
      • Create a small intervention room for testing, remediation, small groups
      • Remove the portable classrooms
      • Traffic flow/safety
      • Second egress, parking
      • More secure main entrance into the building
      • Meet current state fire and building codes
      • Life safety issue (stairwell…)
      • Updated ADA restroom and other ADA code issues
      • Lack of storage (currently equipment is stored in the hallway and outdoor sheds)
      • Mechanical systems are at the end of useful life
      • Playgrounds
    • In addition, we are looking to address the following needs with our Fields:
      • Playing fields for school and community use
    • Why is the new design call for two preschool rooms and universal preschool?
      • Every school district under IDEA is responsible for Child Find. Child Find is a legal requirement that schools “find” all children who have disabilities and who may be entitled to special education services. A process must be in place for identifying and evaluating these students. This covers children ages birth to 21 years old. In NH, our early supports and services agency addresses the birth to 3 population and the school district’s obligations begin in the months leading up to a child’s third birthday.  Since 2010, we have had families inquire about full-day programming nearly annually. Over the past few years, we have seen a decrease in preschool providers in town and increased inquiries into full-day PK. Based on birth records, we have twenty-seven 4-year-olds, twenty 3-year-olds, twenty-three 2-year-olds and sixteen 1-year-olds currently residing in our district. Universal pre-K refers to locally/government-funded preschool programs. Many studies show the long term economic benefits of implementing universal preschool. The Center for American Progress indicates a net benefit of $83 billion a year with high-quality universal preschool nationwide. Brain science also shows that children are learning long before they enter kindergarten. When students attend quality pre-school programs they are better prepared to start kindergarten, they have more positive educational performance in later years, lower rates of special education needs, a lower need for retention, and less contact with the justice system.
  • How will the lunches run using only one cafeteria?
    • Currently, we serve all our students in the same time period in two buildings. We will have four lunch periods, which will now be 25 minutes with a 5-minute passing time longer lunchtimes them we currently have. Lunch will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the four lunches currently holding the following grades: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. The serving area is also being redesigned to accommodate more students.
  • Why are we not considering closing the high school and moving our students to a
    regional/choice high school?
    • The CIP committee asks the Superintendent to run the *scenario of changing SMHS into a K-8 school and giving high school student’s choice. Based on calculating per a choice model and not an area agreement with one school, factoring in that some special education students would have to be sent to special schools based on need and transportation costs for students. He projected that the total cost just for high school tuition would be $3.2M and the PreK-8 budget would be $9.67M based on current proposed budget. The current budget for the District is $12.6M. This means it would cost almost another $1M to tuition.
      NH State Avg. Cost per Pupil (17-18): $16,214
      # of Sunapee Students 9-12: 155
      Special Education Students State Avg. Cost $ x2 (10)
      Total Cost for all 9-12 at State Avg. Cost Per Pupil: $2,675,310
      Out of District Tuition Cost (9-12): $500,000
      Transportation(9-12) $75,000
      Total Tuition/choice Cost for 1 year: $3,250,310
      Estimated Budget PK - 8 (budget numbers from 20-21 proposed budget): $9,790,000.00
      (without grades 9-12)
      Estimated Cost for Tuition/choice grades 9-12: $3,250,310
      2020-2021 proposed budget: $12,622,206 (*Scenario projected) K-8 proposed budget with tuition would be $13,040.310.00
  • Sunapee has seen declining student enrollment, so why are we considering such costly
    renovations and/or new construction to expand our facilities as a result?
    • The Sunapee School District utilized the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) to complete an enrollment study in 2019 (follow the link below to review full details):
      While our district has seen some decline in student enrollment since the early 2000’s, current projections indicate that our enrollment numbers are expected to remain stable for the foreseeable future. As the School Choice conversation continues at both the national and state level, Sunapee is also positioned to benefit from this legislative change which could translate into an increase of our enrollment projection.
  • Why has the School Board hired an architectural firm and a project manager to conduct a full evaluation of our district needs?
    • The Elementary School is 92 years old and does not have adequate space to house the existing student programs or meet core needs with respect to space such as adequate classroom size, flexible areas, individual programs space, nurse areas and cafeteria. In addition, most mechanical systems are at the end of their useful lives and are in need of replacement. The Middle/ High School was originally constructed in 1973 and, despite the addition in 1998 and some life safety issues having been addressed, it also has instructional and mechanical needs.
  • Why are tuition students factored into our student enrollment numbers?
    • The Sunapee school district has had a long history of accepting tuition students. Sunapee established itself as a single school district in 2008. From that point to today the District has raised 2 million dollars from tuition student revenues which has been used to lower the yearly tax rate. Tuition students enrich our classroom and learning experiences and bring value to Sunapee students. While small can be better at the elementary level, small can have a negative impact in middle or high school level classes where more student voices to hold discussions and debates or to share different perspectives enriches the educational experience. Tuition students also contribute to this dynamic by keeping current classes and programs accessible to Sunapee students. An example is, we may have 4 students who would like to take a pre-engineering class but the administration, because of the low number of students enrolled, may determine not to run that program. The addition of 2 tuition
      students making it a class of 6, however, would certainly allow us to run that pre-
      engineering program. Education is where our children learn about the differences of other children’s perspectives, values and outlook. Experiences without a variety from which our students can learn would only allow them to experience like-minded people which certainly would not help prepare them for the world beyond Sunapee schools.
  • What are the differences between this project and the failed March, 2019 proposed
    warrant article?
    • The March 2019 warrant article was based on a new construction/remodel plan to address the Elementary School needs only. We are starting with a different firm, Banwell Architects, and looking holistically at our full district needs. Banwell has significant experience working with school districts across the state to help evaluate their immediate and future needs and has in-depth knowledge and expertise as it
      relates to state educational requirements, guidelines, and best practices. Our current solution will allow for services to be all located in one place for pre-k-12 students, in a safer environment, that allows for better 21-century teaching while improving culture, learning opportunities for all students, mentoring, and increased interdisciplinary learning opportunists.
  • Why are we not selling the current SAU building in placing the SAU is the new
    school proposal?
    • The current SAU building is fully paid off and the estimated cost to run the building is between $3000-$4000 a year. To recreate this space in the new proposal estimated cost from our architects would be close to $800,000 or more. Selling the current SAU would not bring a return to cover the cost to build new. Also, the current SAU is set up as a commercial property and would need major renovation to be used for residential use.
  • Will the proposals incorporate green designs?
    • Yes, proposed projects at both schools incorporate sustainable designs to the extent possible.
  • What are the consequences if we do not do something to address our facility needs?
    • The school district has major infrastructure and safety issues to address, particularly in the Elementary School. Continuing to delay investing in a long-term solution means that we continue to spend money on expensive short-term fixes without addressing our major problems. In the meantime, construction and bonding costs will likely continue to rise making future repairs more expensive.
  • What is the tax impact for this project?
    • The proposed project will include a new elementary school addition, renovation to the current middle/high school and improvements to the upper field and new offsite fields which would be a bond for $25,600,000.
      • All amounts are estimated calculations to assist in tax setting
      • Level Principal Bond $25,600M for 15 Years
      • Debt Service Payment, Principal and Interest First Payment: $2,576,075 at 3.5% Interest Rate
      • Tax Effect: $2.07/$1000 for the first full payment (tax rate declines each year after)
        •  **Annual Estimated Tax Effect on $100K home: $207 per year; $200K home: $414 per year; $300K home $621 per year
          **To calculate your own tax impact, multiply the estimated tax ($2.07) by your own home assessment value** Home Value/1000 X$2.07

Tax impact chart