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School Board gets cash transfer from commissioners

August 10, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

The County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to move $250,000 forward three years in the Washington County Board of Education's capital improvement plan.

The capital program adjustment transfers the money from fiscal year 2003 to fiscal 2001, allowing the School Board to spend it sooner in its budget schedule. Fiscal year 2001 begins July 1, 2000.

The money was originally allotted for renovation of Maugansville Elementary School, part of which is 63 years old. Two of the commissioners said Tuesday they support a plan to build a new school.

Last month, the School Board asked the commissioners for $250,000 to cover cost overruns for Clear Spring Elementary School renovation. Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee said bids for the project came in above budget.

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The commissioners denied the request for additional funds. They suggested the School Board use money from a future project by "forward funding," or transferring money within the budget.

During a joint meeting with the School Board at Maugansville Elementary Tuesday, they approved the adjustment.

"What this really does is postpone for a year (renovating) Salem Avenue and Maugansville," McGee said, explaining the impact of the move. He promoted a plan to build a new school in Maugansville on a different site.

"I really doubt whether renovating this kind of building is the best way to spend our money," he said. "I've been questioning whether this site is the best site."

McGee described the wood-trussed building's disrepair. The original structure was built in 1936 and served kindergarten through 12th grade until the 1950s, he said. The creek behind the school has flooded it and the roof in the cafeteria has collapsed.

McGee suggested the county buy another 20 acres in the vicinity for a new school site. The property should lie between the existing school and the Conococheague Elementary School district, he said.

The renovation isn't scheduled to start until fiscal 2004, but McGee said he wanted to start a discussion. "This at least will put it on the table to be talking about," he said.

"I concur with you looking for a new site here in Maugansville," said Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger. "I think it makes sense."

Commissioner John L. Schnebly agreed, saying a new facility is needed. "I'm like Bert, I'm open-minded," he said.

"This is a good dialogue, but the purpose today is not to make that decision," said Commissioners' President Gregory I. Snook. He asked the School Board to review possible property acquisition for future discussion.

School Board President Edwin Hayes said the board's facilities enrollment committee and the board itself will investigate.

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