District officers delay efforts to improve highschool soccer stadium | information
Washington County’s Budgets Committee on Wednesday postponed, at the request of the district’s education committee, to pull $ 4.5 million from its educational capital fund to help upgrade the district’s two high school football stadiums.
Committee members said they needed more information on how to use capital dollars to replace the home stands at Daniel Boone and David Crockett high schools, estimated to cost between $ 3.25 and $ 3.5 million wish lists could affect other projects in the school system.
Jerry Boyd, the county school principal, told commissioners that $ 1.5 million of the requested $ 4.5 million will be used to install artificial turf at both schools. He told committee members that the stadium upgrades should not be completed in the current calendar year.
Use of federal funds
Boyd also noted that a plan to replace heating and cooling controls in the two high schools will cost an estimated $ 4.4 million, in addition to another $ 750,000 earmarked for other schools in the system.
He said the school system hopes to fund these HVAC upgrades with emergency aid for elementary and secondary schools.
The director said federal regulations require the school system to use at least 20% of the $ 6 million it is slated to receive in the latest ESSER funding round to help address student learning loss during the pandemic.
He said Washington County has decided to dedicate half of its federal aid to problems with learning loss, with the remaining dollars going to projects like HVAC improvements.
Fund balance concerns
Even so, Commissioner Jim Wheeler said he was concerned about how the school’s capital fund is being used. He said the county’s increasingly limited overall fund balance made it more difficult to deal with emergencies like replacing a school roof or heating / cooling unit.
“That makes it very difficult for us,” he said. “We have no room to move. I don’t understand why HVAC spares were not included in the capital improvement plan. “
Boyd said such items of capital would actually be reflected in this plan in the future.
He also agreed with Commissioner Freddie Malone, who suggested that the county Health, Education and Welfare Committee review the stadium upgrades before the Budget Committee takes action.
The school principal said he understood “working with the HEW committee” as part of “teamwork” between schools and the district government.
Review of the system plan
Other concerns about the school system’s investment plan emerged later in the session when the Budget Committee postponed measures to transfer an additional $ 417,000 from educational capital funds to replace doors and hardware at Fall Branch and Sulfur Springs Elementary Schools.
The County Commission has already approved spending $ 280,000 on replacing the doors. The additional money was requested by the Education Committee after the bid for the project was $ 697,000.
“This amount is twice what the budget has foreseen,” said Malone, who told his colleagues he wanted to postpone the project until the HEW committee reviews the door replacement in the context of an investigation into the facilities that make up the school system as part of its strategic Plan will carry out.
On other matters, the Budgets Committee on Wednesday agreed to approve “the concept” of the school system, which includes a $ 2.337 million soft loan from the Tennessee Energy Efficient Schools Initiative Program for LED lighting updates across Washington County schools requested.