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9 W.Va. counties receive school renovation grants
Associated Press, Times Leader Online
December 10, 2013
-- he West Virginia School Building Authority has awarded more than $4 million for school renovation projects in nine counties.
The Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/19eCUeJ ) reports that the SBA approved grants on Monday for projects in Grant, Harrison, Marshall, Mason, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Raleigh and Ritchie counties.
The SBA also awarded more than $2 million to seven projects that are regional or statewide in scope. The funding includes $234,950 awarded to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind for a new roof, gutter replacement and other renovations.
Berkshire, Newbury school districts make move toward consolidatio
Jean Bonchak, The News-Herald News
December 10, 2013
-- The consolidation of two Geauga County School Districts may take place as early as the 2014-15 school year.
Berkshire and Newbury school boards both passed resolutions of intent seeking consolidation at meetings on Monday.
The next step is to gather information determining whether the move would be financially beneficial to the communities.
“The goal is to provide better education as well as save money,” Berkshire Superintendent Doug DeLong said.
Public Finance Resources Inc. will provide financial data analysis, profile data comparison, and in-depth operating cost analysis to inform and assist in the process of consolidation.
Newbury Superintendent Richard Wagner said the report could be ready sometime in January.
He said Newbury Schools was fortunate to have joined forces with a district in such close proximity as Berkshire.
DeLong said benefits of a larger enrollment in a newly created district could be more course offerings, including advanced placement, for students.
Wagner said that consolidation was preferable to merging because each district would retain some decision-making abilities.
County offers funding for new elementary school in western Rowan
Nathan Hardin, Salisburypost.com
December 10, 2013
-- Rowan County leaders will offer to fund up to $22 million for a new consolidated elementary school in the western part of the county after the board voted 3-2 on Monday.
Vice Chairman Craig Pierce added the plan to fund the once-controversial school to Monday’s special meeting agenda. Commissioners Chad Mitchell and Mike Caskey approved the idea.
The new school would serve the students of Woodleaf and Cleveland communities.
Pierce called the conditions at Woodleaf Elementary “horrendous” and said the school is currently providing water for school facilities by truck and dealing with ongoing septic troubles.
Both elementary schools, he said, are very old and need to be replaced.
But Chairman Jim Sides and Commissioner Jon Barber voted against the measure.
Barber said community members were adamant?against a consolidated school when the plan cropped up more than five years ago.
“If we had put community input in before the proposal, I would feel much more satisfied,” Barber said.
Sides said he would not vote for the school because the county has several offers on the table with the school system and would like to see some of the matters resolved in case the board overextends itself financially.
“My argument all along has been I’m willing to meet any capital needs the schools have or identify, but with funding streams that we have. I see no reason to raise taxes in order to do that.”
Sides pointed out two revenue streams for the project: lottery funds and state-generated sales tax money that is allocated for the county to use on capital needs.
Uxbridge seeks state money to fix school roofs
Susan Spencer, www.telegram.com
December 9, 2013
-- With Selectman Joe Frisk joining Monday's meeting by Skype because he was out of town, selectmen unanimously voted to authorize the superintendent of schools to ask the state to help fund roof repairs at three schools.
Superintendent Kevin Carney and Business Manager Donald Sawyer told selectmen a statement of interest, signed by the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee, needed to be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority by the end of January for replacement of aging, leaky roofs to be potentially eligible for roughly 52 percent reimbursement through the MSBA's accelerated repair program.
The roofs at McCloskey Middle School, Whitin Elementary School and Taft Early Learning Center date to 1997.
Mr. Carney said, "We have roofs that leak, water gets in, and carpets in 73 classrooms that are breeding ground for mold."
Asbestos in McCloskey Middle School ceilings may also be removed as part of the reimbursable roof repairs, but floor asbestos costs would not be covered.
Under the accelerated repair program, the state would authorize engineers to analyze the damage and recommend repairs during an 18-month period.
Related to the School Department request, selectmen voted 4-1 to adopt amendments to the town's financial policy to set aside money for capital expenditures. Selectman Peter Baghdasarian opposed the vote because he didn't see the policy as falling within the board's purview.
School Construction Authority faces $140M insurance debt
Staff Writer, The Real Deal
December 9, 2013
-- The city’s School Construction Authority is set to lose $140 million from its budget by the end of the year due to rising costs related to the so-called scaffold law, which requires the agency to carry hefty accident insurance.
The SCA is required to cover the costs of workers’ possible injuries, the estimated price of which has spiked in recent years. Under the roughly 100-year-old Labor Law 240, often deemed the scaffold law, developers are responsible for all liability for accidents on a building site. And similar budget shortfalls could affect other city agencies that deal with construction costs.
Two years from now, the SCA will shoulder a $260 million cut, bringing the three-year total loss to $400 million, which officials told Crain’s is on par with the cost of building 10 new schools.
The SCA is allotting $650 million for insurance coverage through 2016 – almost three times what it currently pays, Crain’s said. Its current insurance policy expires later this month. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are also expected to be hit with similar cuts.
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