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Schools' Proposed Capital Budget Comes in Right On Target

$1.85 million is requested to pay for building maintenance, repairs and new equipment as interim business manager is hired to fill Berdell's position.

The schools are looking at a proposed $1.85 million capital budget for the coming fiscal year to pay for maintenance projects at all of the elementary schools and , new computers and laptops and cleaning equipment, among other things.

The proposed capital budget came in $212 under the figure contained in the five-year spending plan viewed by the annual Town Meeting last spring, containing no unexpected or last-minute expenditures.

With Business Manager Ruth Quinn Berdell on , the capital plan was presented to School Committee Nov. 29 by Joe McDonough, director of facilities and Rob Ford, director, technology. The pair, both relatively new to the school system, scrambled to catch up on the process and said they finished the powerpoint presentation just hours before last Tuesday’s meeting.

Yesterday interim business manager Peter DeRoeve started on the job to fill in for Berdell, who was placed on the leave Nov. 21. Officials have refused comment on how long Berdell’s paid leave will continue.

DeRoeve is a retired school administrator who has served as an interim school business manager in a number of communities including Wakefield, Wilmington and the Triton Regional School District.

DeRoeve comes in to the process just as the budget season begins. The School Committee is expected to vote on the proposed capital budget tomorrow, and the proposed operating budget for the coming year is expected to be presented to the School Committee at its meeting on Dec. 20.

The proposed capital budget includes requests for:

  • $20,267 to pay for a new saxophone and marimba for the Performing Arts Department, new electric hot plates and two table saws with safety stops for the Science Department, among other things.
  • $263,044 to pay for new equipment including a copier for the production center, gym mats among other items, and facilities maintenance equipment including a floor scrubber, wax applicator, carpet extractor, leaf blower and lawn mower.
  • $77,032 for new furniture to replace broken chairs and desks and to accommodate new enrollment, area rugs, shades for classrooms at the middle school, walk-off mats to keep dirt out of schools and other items.
  • $440,000 for infrastructure repairs including necessary repairs to the modulars at Hardy and Upham, roof repairs at Hunnewell, smoke detector replacement, light replacement at Upham, a kiln room at Hardy and an number of other projects at the elementary and middle schools.
  • $176,975 for building maintenance with includes repairs to doors, stairs, windows and parking lots at the various elementary schools, and new intercom systems at Hardy and Schofield.
  • $288,849 to pay for safety improvements including security cameras for the middle school that will be similar to what is being installed at the new high school, exterior lighting at Bates and Fiske, among other things.
  • $583,053 for technology including replacement, system maintenance and new equipment. The schools cyclically replace desktop computers every seven years, and this year it is requesting funds to pay for 72 new ones, and 242 new laptops which are replaced every five years. In addition, the list includes 13 new printers, memory upgrades for current versions of Microsoft Office, and replacement lamps for the SMART boards being used in virtually every classroom in town.

The schools are also in the midst of a $200,000 condition assessment of all the school buildings and grounds which will be used to formulate a 10 year capital plan to be used from year to year.

The assessment is expected to include a study of the modular classrooms at several elementary schools which are old and in need of repair. This year’s proposed capital budget includes funds to make only essential repairs.

Also expected to be a large expense down the road will be a decision on whether to replace the slate roof at , or move to a less expensive option.

“Sprague was built in 1924,” School Committee Chairman Suzy Littlefield said. “Slate tends to last about 100 years, and here we are in 2012.” 

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