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Scotia-Glenville School District eyes EXCEL expenses

At the Monday, Jan.12, Scotia-Glenville Board of Education meeting, board members came together for the first time since the defeat of a building project that would have covered improvements to the district's six schools and athletic fields.

The board agreed to look at how to best stretch the more than $900,000 the district is expecting in EXCEL funding. The Expanding Our Children's Education and Learning Grant from the state will allow the district to make needed maintenance and building infrastructure improvements. The building project that was voted down in December would have used some of the funding for a number of improvements, including the installation of artificial turf fields.

Superintendent Susan Swartz told the board that EXCEL funding alone will not cover any improvements to the track, which, if not repaired, will not be in any condition to be used by the track team.

Board member Ben Conlon, who was often critical of the building project, said that repairing the track must be a priority because if it is not fixed, it will send the wrong message.

If we as a board want the district to have a track team, then it will be essential that we resurface the track so the team and physical education classes can utilize it, said Conlon.

Board member Pam Carbone echoed Conlon, saying she wants to repair the track, as well as look at how to use the EXCEL funding at its optimum.

"The public spoke clearly that they do not have the money to help with a capital project. I am in favor of looking at using the EXCEL, which is at no cost to our taxpayers. I do not want to lose the EXCEL," said Carbone.

The EXCEL funding is a grant from the state that allows districts to improve on building infrastructure and safety. The grant has no expiration date, however, the state can take it away at any time. Swartz also told the board there are currently no building aid changes in Gov. David Paterson's proposed budget, although that could change before April.

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