BY TOM FONTANA
Facing a possible $3.8 million deficit for the 2015-16 school year, the Mt. View board has declined some site improvements suggested by maintenance director Robert Taylor.
District budget director Joseph Patchcoski told the directors at their meeting Monday night, May 11, that his proposed 2015-16 budget predicts about $21.4 million in expenditures.
“Everything is pretty lean in this budget,” Patchcoski told the board. “It’s really flat, with few department expenses either up or down from this year.”
Not included in the proposed budget was a “wish list” suggested a few months ago by Taylor. His list consisted of infrastructure items he felt the district needs to address, especially improvements to the district’s buildings and property.
On Monday night, the board reviewed that list to decide what items could be folded into the proposed budget, and which ones could be put on hold.
Items rejected included new carpeting, installing new first floor high school lockers, replacing tubing for the wood boiler, purchasing a 12-passenger field trip van, fixing the bump in the elementary school lobby floor, and repaving the elementary school parking lot.
The board asked Taylor to check the condition of the 344 lockers in the main hallway at the high school to see if some can be retained, and replace only those in the worst shape.
When questioned about the reliability of the 50 boiler tubes (some of which Taylor reported have leaked), he stated, “It’s a roll of the dice. We might be able to go another year. I can’t imagine all of them going, maybe one or two.”
Taylor said the condition of the 8-passenger van, which is mostly used to transport students on field trips, is in poor condition. “When they get the golf team and their golf clubs in it,” he said, “it can’t make it up the hills.”
It was determined that a 12-passenger van would require a driver with a school bus license, so the board agreed to purchase a new 8-passenger vehicle.
Taylor said he would “hit the really bad spots” of the parking lot when the board preferred to deny a complete repaving. The board did approve the replacement of the 10 elementary school parking lot lights with 5 double-head lights on the existing poles, although the board asked him to get a revised cost estimate for the project.
The board decided to delay a decision on improvements to the high school ball fields until the next board meeting on May 18 so Taylor could also offer revised costs. The current estimate was $353,000, which would pay for improvements to the infield only.
Although a section of the elementary lobby floor has a history of rising rising and falling since the building was completed in the early 1990s, the board decided against providing funds in the 2015-16 budget to repair it. It has been determined that the problem depends on weather conditions due to a water source under the floor that was not addressed when the structure was built.
“Are students ever tripping over it and getting hurt?” asked director Michael Barhite.
“No,” Taylor answered. “I just bought a longer cast iron park bench to put over it which the students aren’t going to be able to move.”
Taylor said the bump extends slightly into the gym/cafeteria, but is only detected with the partition is opened and closed, causing the door to scrape on the rise.
During the public comment section of the meeting, there were several questions concerning the elementary school playground, including public access to the playground, providing shady areas and a water fountain, the lack of baskets on the basketball hoops, a bee infestation on the wooden structures, and the possible future replacement of the wooden structures.
A few board members indicated that some of these issues have been discussed by past boards, but no action had been taken. However, it was announced that the playground will be open for public use when school is not in session.