Educators OK $1 million for asbesos, power, AC, wi-fi

The school board approved its capital improvement plan  — a frequently updated, five-year list of prioritized repairs and upgrades to keep the district’s facilities up to snuff.

The stated goal for the plan is to keep the cost to roughly $1 to $1.2 million per year. Unlike the “operating” portion of the $80 million school budget, the capital projects are bonded and paid for over time. Items in the capital improvement plan are typically over $50,000 and expected to have a “useful life cycle” of five to 10 years.

The constantly evolving plan, which lists projects through 2017-18, totaling an $5.6 million worth of work over five years, includes $1,055,000 worth of work in the 2013-14 school year.

Like the rest of the school and town budgets, it ultimately has to be decided on by the voters.

The 2013-14 plan includes:

  • $125,000 for year one of a $350,000, three-year asbestos abatement at Scotland Elementary School;
  • $150,000 to re-engineer standby power systems at the high school, Scotts Ridge Middle School and Barlow Mountain Elementary;
  • $150,000 for the first year of a $350,000, two-year, district-wide upgrade to surveillance and security systems;
  • $75,000 for the first year of a $255,000, three-year roll-out of wireless networking at the elementary schools;
  • $85,000 to purchase and install 70 window air conditioner units at the elementary schools;
  • $205,000 to replace East Ridge Middle School auditorium seats;
  • $65,000 to replace house and stage lights at East Ridge;
  • $200,000 to improve energy efficiency of heating infrastructure at Barlow Mountain Elementary School and the high school as part of a five-year, $1.2 million host of energy efficiency improvements identified by consulting firm Johnson Controls.
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  • rdg-oldtimer

    IMO, TOO much fat built into these projects. Vote NO!

  • CMcQuilken

    Why would we spend $350,000 to remove asbestos at Scotland Elementary School if we are about to close the school?

  • George

    They’re going to spend $350K for asbestos abatement at Scotland, even though Scotland is one of the top two schools they’re considering closing?

    $255K to put wifi in the elementary schools? I would hope they push Farmingville and Scotland to the end of the list since they’re apparently going to close one of those schools (and even if they reopen a school in 10 years, that wifi network is going to be really old by then). Same concept for the window air conditioners.

  • CMcQuilken

    I’m a fan of education and making kids smarter. Lord knows I back that up by donating money and time and cookies to the schools…. endless cookies. But what in this list of $1 million of capital improvements will make kids smarter? I don’t see anything.

    As mentioned, paying $350,000 to renovate Scotland’s floor while it’s on the list of schools that might be closed makes no sense to me.

    But another thing I don’t understand is the East Ridge auditorium seats. The place has 700 seats. About half a dozen are broken. Why replace all the seating if only six are broken? Why not just repair the six seats? They are wooden seats. It would be easy and very inexpensive. I say this as the person in that exact auditorium building the wooden sets for the school play. It would be so easy.

    I’m not anti-education when I make this suggestion. Take the $205,000 allocated for the new seats and use it on something more meaningful. Buy books and computers, or give it back to the taxpayers. But don’t waste such a large amount of money because 6 out of 700 seats are broken. Let’s fix the six seats, you know, like we use to do in the “old” days.

  • CMcQuilken, on this topic you are making far too much sense. But to answer your questions, it’s easy. They do it because they can. “The wrong people will come out to vote”.

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