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Gladbrook school to close next fall to cut costs
Andrew Wind, WCF Courier
February 25, 2015
-- GLADBROOK | Only two of the three Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community Schools' buildings will remain open next fall.
The Board of Education Wednesday voted 5-2 to close Gladbrook's elementary and middle school building during an emotional meeting that lasted more than two hours.
All students in the district will go to the two remaining schools in Reinbeck. They will attend Reinbeck Elementary until sixth grade and what is now the district's high school starting in seventh grade.
Despite snowy weather that caused the district to dismiss students early Wednesday, the community came out in force for the meeting, largely filling the bleachers on one side of the Gladbrook school's gym. Four different school closing and grade configuration options had been presented to the board, which is striving to balance the 2015-16 budget.
Closing the school in Gladbrook was one option while the three others included various configurations of students on the Gladbrook campus and at the high school in Reinbeck. Reinbeck Elementary School would have been closed in those scenarios.
Moving all students to Reinbeck is projected to save the most -- about $402,000 through staff, transportation and utility cost reductions. That's between $100,000 and $150,000 more than the other options. Declining enrollment -- and the accompanying drop in state funds -- caused the district to look at cutting budgets.
Schools across county need HVAC fixes
Sarah Plummer, The Montgomery Herald
February 25, 2015
-- The general indoor air quality review of all Fayette County schools by the state Office of School Facilities outlines the district’s desperate need for funds to upgrade HVAC systems in nearly all schools.
Michael Pickens, executive director of the West Virginia Department of Education Office of School Facilities, wrote, “It will take a substantial capital investment to bring all of the mechanical systems up to current standards and improve indoor environmental conditions. In addition to the IAQ (indoor air quality) concerns, due to the age and exceeding life cycle of the equipment, some of the mechanical systems have the potential to experience a failure that would result in the building being without heating and cooling.”
Gatewood Elementary and Ansted Middle schools have already experienced boiler issues and are being heated with temporary electric units in each classroom.
Pickens said space heaters “are less than desirable and require the county to expend funds that only provide a temporary fix. Those funds would be better utilized toward permanent solutions,” and planning these upgrades should be a priority for Fayette.
Ansted has received funding for a replacement boiler from the School Building Authority, and the installation is expected to go out for bid soon, said David Keffer, director of operations.
Planning a countywide HVAC upgrade would be cost-prohibitive as the district only has an annual facility repair and upgrade budget of $1.2 million. As an example of cost, the Ansted boiler replacement is expected to cost more than $700,000. In December the School Building Authority allocated $630,000 toward the project.
School system Treasurer Paula Fridley explained the district has an overall maintenance budget of $7.2 million, but that includes all operational funds like custodial salaries ($2.2 million), utilities ($1.8 million), energy management loan payments ($800,000), and cleaning supplies ($400,000).
D.C. schools chancellor recommends overhaul of capital planning process
Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post
District of Columbia:
February 25, 2015
-- D.C. Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson is calling for an overhaul of the process for mapping out school modernizations in the coming years, saying that the renovations have become overly political and prohibitively expensive.
“My very honest assessment is that the whole CIP process is jacked up,” she said, referring to the Capital Improvement Plan, a six-year capital budget and construction plan that outlines the timing for school modernizations.
The queue for renovations is included in the mayor’s budget and submitted to the D.C. Council each spring. It gets rearranged annually, with some projects moving up or back or growing in scale and price tag. It also typically gets adjusted again halfway through the year.
The city has invested more than $1 billion in school renovations in recent years, turning old buildings marked by decades of neglect into state-of-the-art facilities. But many communities are frustrated about schools that have had partial renovations or none at all.
Henderson said she "can’t bear” to go through another spring" fielding reactions to changes in the timeline for construction.
She proposed developing a task force within the next year that would come up with a way to develop the capital plan according to some “very transparent” and “logical” criteria rather than “how loudly your community screams.”
School Facilities Committee to seek $15 million for health and safety
JESSICA BOISCLAIR, The Valley Breeze
February 24, 2015
-- NORTH PROVIDENCE - With time running out to submit enabling legislation for the $76.3 million school district facilities overhaul, the North Providence Facilities Committee decided to move forward on $15 million in immediate health and safety needs, which does not include renovations for the three 1930s-era schools set to be demolished under the master plan.
The motion to delay the main project came after committee members learned of the March 1 deadline for new legislation.
State Rep. William O'Brien, of District 54 in North Providence, told the committee at the Feb. 19 meeting it would have to wait until January to seek enabling legislation for the $76.3 million bond.
But, he said, "You still have time to put forward the health and safety bill and get that money."
Finance Director John McNamee said because the money is being sought for immediate health and safety at the schools, the legislation for that could be introduced at the Statehouse anytime before May.
Last Gasp? Demolition already begun as residents plead to keep school building
FRANK BUMB, hickoryrecord.com
February 24, 2015
-- HILDEBRAN, N.C. – Hundreds turned out to save the Hildebran Graded School.
They may be too late.
Monday evening, Hildebran Town Council rejected calls from 26 speakers and at least 200 supporters asking – in some cases, demanding – Council to reconsider its Jan. 26 vote to tear down the 98-year-old schoolhouse.
But Mayor Virginia Cook said demolition on the building began “about two weeks ago” and is slated for completion in July.
A motion by Town Council member Wendell Hildebrand for Council to rescind its vote was deemed out of order by Town Attorney Redmond Dill Jr. because Hildebrand was the only member to vote against the Jan. 26 motion to demolish the schoolhouse and iconic tower.
“A motion to rescind must come from a member who originally supported the motion,” Dill said.
That drew a raucous, negative response from assembled residents and non-residents, many sporting blue “Save Our Heritage” shirts.
Of the 26 speakers, the majority were residents and no speaker voiced support for Council’s Jan. 26 decision to demolish the building.
Speakers included former students from graduating classes as far back as 1948 all the way until the school’s last graduating class in 1974. All them told the five members of Council and Cook they were making a mistake.
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