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Panel seeks more money for CIP

December 20, 2001

Panel seeks more money for CIP



By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


A community panel created by the Washington County Board of Education is asking for $5 million from the county for the school system's 2004 Capital Improvement Plan, an increase of $500,000 over what the county currently contributes.

Stephen L. Hummel, chairman of the Budget Advocacy and Review Committee, said at Tuesday night's School Board meeting that the increase is necessary to keep up with inflation and increased construction and renovation costs.

"They'd have to be more specific than that," County Commissioner Bert Iseminger said in a phone call after the meeting.

Iseminger said the Board of County Commissioners needs to hear more details about the 2004 CIP before it decides whether to grant the increase. The plan has not been released.

The county commissioners contribute about $4.5 million a year toward the School Board's capital budget. The state also contributes a portion of the budget.

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Hummel said many of Washington County's 45 schools are at least 30 years old and need renovations.

"Our schools will only continue to sink further into disrepair," Hummel said in a presentation to the School Board. "All of us want a strong county. How can we attract new businesses and continue to strengthen our community if we don't demonstrate with actions, not words, our priorities in education?"

The committee is made up of parents, business people and community leaders to examine, make recommendations and promote school budgets.

"I think this board takes committees like yours very much to heart," said School Board member Doris Nipps. "I do hope the county commissioners will also take it to heart when citizens come to them."

Nipps said the budget committee should present the request to the county commissioners.

"Let them know that you don't meet for five minutes before you make your recommendations," School Board member J. Herbert Hardin said.

The Board of Education's 2003 Capital Improvement Plan, released over the summer, lists five construction projects through 2007. The School Board has the authority to change the projects from year to year. The 2003 plan includes:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A $10.9 million addition and renovation to Salem Avenue Elementary School.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A new $11.1 million school to replace Maugansville Elementary School.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A $1.9 million addition to Fountain Rock Elementary School.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Construction of a new $12 million school to replace Bester Elementary School.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> An $11.5 million addition and renovations to Pangborn Elementary School.

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