ROACHDALE -- The North Putnam School Board gave the go-ahead to begin the renovation process within the school district Thursday night, with plans to receive bids by August 24 and hopes to start projects in October.
Jim Thompson of Gibraltar Design outlined the scope of the project, which highlighted roof replacement at North Putnam High School and window replacement at both North Putnam Middle School and Roachdale Elementary School.
The roof and window replacement project comes as a result of a $1.95 million Qualified School Construction Bond the school received in July.
As outlined in his presentation, part of the project "will replace components that are beyond useful life expectancy and provide a 'dry' building eliminating disruptions to the learning environment due to their current condition."
Additional projects include a replacement of the kitchen drain and flooring at Roachdale gymnasium and needed roof repair work at the middle school.
"This will save money to avoid ongoing emergency repairs," Thompson said.
With trashcans collecting water from the leaking roof at the high school and gushing water in the Roachdale gymnasium after heavy rain, Superintendent Mary Sugg-Lovejoy said in their current state, the buildings are losing heat from windows and water damage is a problem after every major rainfall.
Under stipulations of the bond, funds are used only for school construction projects and not for the general fund to pay staff salaries, Tom Mandon of Educational Services Consultants explained.
Mandon also explained the financial implications of the project, noting that under this plan, the district would make annual payments of $177,250.
With a 2 percent interest rate to pay back the bond over the course of 15 years, the annual tax rate for taxpayers with a gross assessed value of $100,000 would increase $9.20; taxpayers with a gross assessed value of $150,000 would see a $18.34 increase in annual fees, he said.
Mandon explained that if the district had not received the bond to aid with repairs, the interest rate would be around 5.5 to 6 percent; with the bond, the district is paying roughly 0.5 percent.
"The interest savings are going to be significant over the 15 years of the bond," he said.
Lovejoy also presented the proposed budget to the board, noting that while the district is still working to pay off debts, it is improving.
"One of my goals is to have all the funds in the black with the exception of the general fund," Lovejoy said.
As part of her presentation, Lovejoy showed the budget for the 2009 school year ended at around -$1.9 million and that it's on track to be -$1.29 million for the 2010 school year.
"We're not there yet, but we're making improvements," she said.
The board also addressed the issue of attendance centers at Roachdale and Bainbridge elementary schools and announced it is looking into putting together a committee comprised of a superintendent, two board members, the principal of each school, two teachers and one parent representative from each school to work to devise a plan of action.
Under the attendance center plan, all preschool to second grade students would attend Bainbridge and third to fifth graders would all attend school at Roachdale.
Board member Debbie Sillery also suggested an online survey for community members to express their concerns on the issue be put in place.
A meeting time for this committee was not determined.
"We said in the spring when we first proposed the idea want to take our time with this because it's a sensitive issue," Lovejoy said.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the NPCSC Board of Trustees will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2.