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Bay school officials mull what to do with leftover funds

Several projects targeted for $155,000 of referendum money

Dec. 17, 2012

Whitefish Bay - It's not every day school districts have extra money.

Whitefish Bay recently found itself in a rare situation, with $155,051 of capital project referendum dollars leftover. The question for the School District Finance Committee last week was what to do with those funds. Director of Business Services Shawn Yde recommended spending the money on:

univent/controls and replacement totaling $20,000

middle school asphalt reconstruction totaling $105,000

boiler linkage replacement for $14,000

and a Department of Public Instruction civil rights compliance audit that requires the district to make certain changes, such as modifying the middle school locker room, estimated at $11,000.

Finance Committee members agreed the money should be directed toward those four items. The School Board will make the final decision in January.

The district has three options for the referendum money: spend the balance on improving school facilities, transfer it to the debt service, or apply it to the financing of referendum debt. Transferring the money to the debt service fund would result in a one-time reduction to the debt levy and using it in a refinance would take the savings and spread the levy reduction over the life of the debt issue. Yde said there are 10 to 15 univents throughout the district that aren't controlling the temperatures as they should, saying some classrooms become excessively warm, while others were as cold as 50 degrees. Fixing them could also save the district money in the long run.

Reconstruction of the asphalt at the middle school is on the district's long range maintenance plan for the 2013-14 school year.

"We have some significant issues with back asphalt areas, both with stormwater and fall areas," Yde said. "It's our worst area with outdoor asphalt and causes snow removal issues."

In addition, he said it is a highly traveled area and two people have fallen because of the rough asphalt.

The district boilers are old, but well maintained, Yde said, and two at the high school could use new controls.

"That would increase energy efficiency tremendously," he said.

Lastly, there are distinct things the district must do as a result of a civil rights audit, including repairs to the middle school lockers and restrooms. DPI conducts these audits at various school districts every year.

In total, these items are estimated to cost $150,000. Any additional money leftover would be transferred to the debt services fund.

The Finance Committee members all agreed this was a good use of the money.

"I think I can make a good case to the community of why this is a good use of the funds, for savings or good management on the project," committee member Pamela Woodard said.

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