continued Technology upgrades would address upgrading the district’s network, which does not have enough bandwidth to support forthcoming state-mandated online testing requirements.
Coffin said board members and district officials were “cautious” on how the proposed project was developed, along with setting aside some funds in its capital reserve account. The proposal going before voters was whittled down from one estimated at more than $11.48 million.
“We were looking at a much bigger project than this, and the board walked away from it because we can’t do these other things,” Coffin said. “It just became too expensive in very difficult times, and God knows what we are going to be facing down the road.”
Superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder previously said delaying several improvements and upgrades allows the district to monitor community demographics and not incur “massive” debt if enrollment significantly declines.
The enrollment this school year is 1,176 students, approximately 116 fewer than on the first day of school in the 2002-03 school year.
The district would receive state aid to cover 61.8 percent of the project’s cost, and $555,000 of the district’s building project reserve funds would be tapped. All of the project funding is eligible for state aid.
Using reserve funds will lower the burden on taxpayers, so the maximum amount of borrowed money would total $2,147,700.
“Utilizing the capital fund is prudent because the district does not have to borrow and pay interest on that portion,” Diefenbach said in a statement to Spotlight News. “In fact on the investment side, the interest being earned on the capital reserve is 0.04 percent, which makes it even more prudent to make the money work for the district.”
Building project reserve funds, also known as its capital reserves, are set aside to only be used on building projects. Over the years, the repair reserve has been used for smaller projects requiring immediate attention, but it cannot be used on larger projects such as roof renovations.