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School budget is presented to council

January 20, 2011

Details in the budget have emerged.

The school committee met with the town council Monday night to again discuss projected budget needs for fiscal year 2011-2012.
Superintended of schools Michael Convery and the school department’s finance director Robin Reasor presented on behalf of the schools.
In addition to a list of items cut from the schools over the last few years, salary projections, detailed student enrollment projections their presentation included a capital budget request fiscal year 2011-2012.

The items were sorted for the presentation to the council in priority order.
Number one on the list were fire code upgrades for Coventry High School.
This item, listed as required to open the school in August 2011, would cost an estimated $500,000.
The second item in order or importance is a boiler replacement for Hopkins Hill Elementary School. This would cost about $40,000.
Third, is a roof replacement for the Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School sixth grade. This is estimated at $475,000.
Fourth, would be technology infrastructure costing $75,000; fifth, high school athletic facilities costing $200,000; sixth, asphalt and or seal coating for sidewalks, driveways and grounds costing $80,000; seventh, asphalt removal costing $50,000 and eighth, floor replacement costing $75,000.
The high school athletic facilities include the bleachers at the high school, which are reportedly in need of a great deal of work and are not handicap accessible.
Councilman Thaddeus Jendzejec asked if there was a grant available to make them handicap accessible.
Reasor explained that the grants are often very small, as little as $2,000, but they most certainly do apply and she also said she would look further into it.
One councilman questioned the asbestos removal, asking which buildings still contained asbestos.
Director of the physical plant Brian Steverman said there is asbestos in most of the buildings, but that it is in good shape and not necessarily everything is removed, as dictated by the federal government.
The area that would be removed is a section of the floor at Coventry High School. It is showing a lot of wear spots, Steverman said.
He explained that the $50,000 would be to remove the section of floor and the $75,000 to replace it, but that it was a five year plan.
Town manager Thomas Hoover questioned how long the fire code upgrades would to complete.
Steverman said it would take most of the summer and the summer school classes would be moved probably to the middle school.
He also said that when he requests the bid he will also give a strict timeline that will include liquidated damages if the work is not done.
School committee member Nancy Sprengelmeyer raised concerns on behalf of parents of students at the high school.
Sprengelmeyer said that there are areas of the high school where they cannot teach when there is severe weather because of the condition of the roof.
She said they often receive phone calls after a storm asking when the high school’s roof will be repaired.
The list of eight items did not include work on the roof at the high school.
The total capital budget requested by the school department is $1,495,000.
During public comment following the town council meeting held after the budget workshop Sprengelmeyer spoke thanking town council president Gary Cote and the other members of the council for how the school committee was treated during the budget workshop.
“We know there is no money anywhere,” Sprengelmeyer said to the council, “we know that,” but she extended thanks just for the fact that they listened and gave the opportunity for future meetings and for the two groups to “truly be partners.”
Cote assured her that how they were treated Monday night would be how they are treated every time they meet together in the future.

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