- Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 18:38
- Published on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 03:38
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The King George School Board this week unanimously approved a motion as recommended by Superintendent Rob Benson to direct him to request the Board of Supervisors that if they have any funds remaining in their 2012-13 fund balance to fund the purchase of a dishwasher at Potomac Elementary School.
Benson said the suggestion for the action was the result of a brainstorming session he had with county administrator Travis Quesenberry and county director of finance Robyn Shugart on ways to try to fund a dishwasher.
During the brief discussion leading up to the motion, School Board chairman John Davis asked for the correct estimated price of such a dishwasher. Benson said he had two new estimates, both of which were upwards of $40,000.
Earlier this year, Benson and the School Board had submitted 15 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) requested projects to the county, one of which contained a dishwasher for Potomac as part of some other bundled projects for “supplemental renovations” at the school that is currently undergoing a $5 million renovation.
The dishwasher cost had been listed in the CIP request at $30,000. But Benson told the Board of Supervisors at a meeting on Aug. 6 that a current cost estimate for the dishwasher would be $20,000. Now that price has more than doubled.
PRESSURE BEING APPLIED
PTA reps from Potomac and other parents have been putting pressure on school and county elected officials to buy a dishwasher for Potomac, including three who tried begging and shaming Supervisors to fund the dishwasher purchase at last week’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 20.
Why the school does not have a dishwasher has yet to be publicly explained. And why the need for one has only surfaced in the last year is likewise a mystery.
TRAYS AND UTENSILS
Davis asked if there were non-disposable trays that could be used, if a dishwasher is purchased.
Benson said trays would also need to be bought, estimated at about $2,000. He added that some flatware could be used that is leftover at the former middle school building.
School Board member Rick Randall asked what the expected life of the commercial dishwasher would be, with Benson saying, “I’m thinking 25 years at least.”
School Board member Mike Rose inquired about the amount of any fund balance from the 2012-13 Cafeteria Fund, but no answer was available at this time, with Davis saying details from an audit of county, school and Cafeteria funds is ongoing and expected in mid-September.
Supervisors had not approved the purchase of a dishwasher for Potomac in its current year’s capital budget for several reasons, the biggest being that there is little money for new projects this year, and the county is not planning to incur additional debt for new capital projects at this time.
In addition, the cost of the dishwasher did not meet the $50,000 threshold for a CIP project and bundling it with concrete repairs and casework for the school could not be construed as a single project with such mixed items.
Another reason is that projects requested in the CIP are usually not immediately funded, but have to work their way to the top of the funding list. The bundled projects list for Potomac was new this year.
There are also other important and worthy projects in addition to those from the School Board that must be weighed when making decisions to spend public funds.
COUNTY FUND BALANCE
The county fund balance from the end of the last fiscal year, 2012-13 is already being tapped.
When the last budget projections were provided in June, the county was projecting a surplus of about $500,000.
At the same time, the School Board was projecting a deficit of just under $180,000, said to be due to a miscalculation of a new formula for figuring costs for the Virginia Retirement System. Supervisors have pledged to cover that School Board deficit.
Supervisors have also already earmarked $184,969 expected from part of that surplus for other CIP projects in this current fiscal year.