- Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 18:55
- Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 18:55
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The Westmoreland School Board and Board of Supervisors met in joint session this Monday afternoon and took the action necessary to make immediate application for a zero-interest loan that will help support the $2 million project.
On Monday morning the supervisors and county school superintendent Elaine Fogliani took care of other financial business. The student population had increased from the early projection of 1,692 to 1,722 and an additional $148,573 was needed from Westmoreland County.
The agenda item related that the “funds are needed so the locality can meet the required local effort due to an increase in the ADM [average daily membership] figure.”
District 5 Supervisor Larry Roberson was the only board member who voted against increasing the county school division’s budget by $148,573. Himself a retired educator, Roberson noted that the actual student population measurement governing the current operating budget will be conducted on March 31 and that the March 31, 2010, ADM may be lower than the currently reported 1,722.
“”I realize you’re entitled to the money, but the ADM can change quite a bit between now and March 31,” Roberson told Fogliani.
County Administrator Norm Risavi joined the discussion, explaining that the county’s student population and declined in recent years. He attributed the currently higher enrollment figure to the economy. Students previously enrolled in private schools have returned to the county school division, he explained.
The supervisors approved an appropriation increase for the county school division. Several federal grants had been awarded and $516,058 was added to the school budget at no cost to the locality. The additional funding will support a community learning center and a reading program at an elementary school.
The new Washington and Lee High School roof and replacement heating and air conditioning units were initially discussed four months ago, when it was believed that the improvements could be financed with a grant resulting from the Economic Recovery Act.
On Nov. 9 it appeared that the stimulus money would be allocated in the form of a zero-interest loan instead of a forgivable loan or grant. The projected cost of the improvements project was double the estimate suggested in July 2009.
During the intervening months consultants completed a preliminary architectural feasibility report that included a facility overview, recommendations and preliminary cost estimates.
Monday’s action allows the project to be moved forward, with the supervisors agreeing to contribute $120,000 that will be returned when the anticipated financing is in hand. Westmoreland County and the county’s Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates consultants are submitting an application for the project’s financing as quickly as Nov. 10.
According to the discussion, the high school roof is in a variety of stages of disrepair and some sections of roof will require more comprehensive levels of remediation that others. The consultants will complete work on the project’s drawings and bottom line costs will be known when the project is put out for bids.
Work will begin in Summer 2010 but no one anticipated that the project could be completed in a 10- to 12-week interval. The work will consequently continue during the early months of next year’s school session, but Superintendent Fogliani provided assurances that classroom activities will not be disrupted by the construction activity.