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Archive for Tuesday, November 28, 2006

School board looks to stretch ‘wish list’ funds

November 28, 2006

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Lawrence's school board received a few options Monday night on how to fund some of the wish lists from district principals.

And like a Christmas shopper finding extra funds from a cookie jar, an old mattress or even a piggy bank, the board learned it could stretch its capital outlay funds to pay for around $6 million in building maintenance projects next year - out of $30 million of requests.

"We need to make some decisions at our next meeting," said Sue Morgan, board president.

But first the board will have a study session at 5:30 p.m. Monday to narrow the long maintenance wish list put together by school principals and the district's facilities and operations staff.

Tom Bracciano, the district's director of facilities and operations planning, told board members they could made a sizable dent in the maintenance needs wish list this year if they tapped some revenue from various sources.

Normally, such maintenance projects come out of the capital outlay budget, which amounts to about $2.5 million for next year, Bracciano said.

However, some of the maintenance projects can be funded from revenue left from bond issues approved by voters in 1998 and 2005, he said.

He estimated there was about $500,000 left from the '98 bond of about $34 million that can be used for certain buildings covered in that ballot issue: Langston Hughes, Pinckney, Prairie Park and Woodlawn schools, the district's Educational Support and Distribution Center, and roofs, windows and lighting at various buildings.

Bracciano said there was about $2.5 million that will be left from the $62.8 million bond issue approved in 2005 that was dedicated to projects at the junior high and high schools and at Broken Arrow School.

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Another source of funds is through "performance contracting" for projects that involve energy conservation. The district can borrow money for such energy conservation projects as long as contractors show the energy-saving project is working.

Bracciano explained that parts of some projects, such as rest room renovation, could be funded with performance contracts if energy-saving fixtures were used.

"The point is allowing you to mix and match funds," Bracciano said.

During his presentation, he showed the board the priorities that the principals had listed and what his office was recommending.

He also showed the board some options they could have to pay for the variety of projects, most of which dealt with such items as roof repairs, new carpeting or new water pipes. Bracciano's top five picks for next year are:

¢ Door access to require the use of security cards at about 10 elementary schools.

¢ Rest room renovations.

¢ Fire alarms.

¢ Energy-efficient projects.

¢ Roofs.

Morgan said she wished the items were a little more exciting to discuss.

"It kills you when doing the domestic water supply (water pipes) into a building is going to cost about half a million dollars," she said.

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