Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Explanation (again) of what we currently spend on facilities and why...

For those who missed it when I wrote before (click here), it is true that a school district may budget to put money into a capital reserve account, creating a fund that is accumulated for a “rainy day.” Our District established a capital reserve fund in 2000. We have funded it and, most recently, we used money from this account last year to do repairs on the 1919 roof at RHS. But in recent years, we have not been able to budget additional funds for capital reserve, nor have we been able to end the year with as much surplus as in the past.

Also, yes we are allowed to spend more on capital projects and maintenance within our operating budget. The only thing stopping us is...everything else. After paying our contractual obligations for salaries and benefits, and dealing with cost increases in transportation and other expenses, and staying within the state's budget growth cap of 4.0% of the tax levy (approx. 3.6% budget), the most we've been able to put toward the facilities is $2 million per year. That's a significant amount of money -- except when you consider that we have 11 old buildings to maintain totaling one million square feet. $2 million doesn't go very far. If the community wants to spend more on facilities, we will have to take the money from somewhere else. It's as simple (and as complicated) as that.

(Added 12/4/09 @ 10:50 AM)
What kind of capital and maintenance projects does the District undertake as part of our regular budget? As I wrote previously, here's a partial list of projects from this past summer/fall:

Ridgewood High School
Renovation of Guidance Suite and Grade Advisor area; Rooms 207, 211 & 112. (Note, the Guidance area had water damage, crumbling plaster, dingy paint...now it's a great showcase for visiting college admissions folks and parents.)
Renovation of North Stair Tower (the one I used to say looked like a ghetto movie set)
Repair of Lockers in Boys' Locker Room
Installed flooring in ancillary weight room
Installed 600+ new lockers
Locker room showers, more roof replacement and bathroom renovations going out to bid

New fencing
New lighting in gym

New lighting in gym
Sidewalk (donated by HSA)

Renovation of art room
Outside lighting improvements

Gym renovation -- tile & lighting
Outside lighting improvement

Replaced 4 classroom carpets with tile floors
Refinished Gym and Band Room floors
Roof repairs
Bathroom renovations -- going to bid

Gym window wall replacement -- going to bid
Exterior door and electrical upgrades -- going to bid

Roof repairs
Improved electrical in library and computer labs
Roofing & door projects to be bid

Renovated gym (floor and lighting)
Drainage in front of building
Door project -- going to bid

Renovated cafeteria
Removed wall between 2 classrooms; replace with foldable wall
Partial roof replacement (over gym)

Any questions, please comment or email me directly lauriegood@mac.com.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't the Somerville Cafeteria renovations paid for by HSA or Dad's night funding? I'm pretty sure it was.

Laurie said...

The HSA paid for the mural and for new pads on the pillars. The district paid for (and completed the work of) removing the stage, removal of asbestos flooring, fabricating the sound proofing on the walls, painting, new floor and new drop ceiling.

We are extremely grateful of the donations from HSAs and other groups to help with various projects that those groups feel are important.