School board OKs capital account

REGION 16 — The Region 16 Board of Education approved the creation of a capital non-recurring account last week.

State statute allows regional school districts to create the account, which can only be used to pay for one-time capital expenses. The funds in such an account could not be used to cover ongoing budgetary expenses.  

The creation of a capital non-recurring account was raised in January when the audit of the school board’s 2012-13 budget was presented. The audit showed the district, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, finished the fiscal year with an unreserved year-end balance of $744,191.

Historically, the board has tried to “carry over” about $500,000 from budget to budget and return that money to the towns of Beacon Falls and Prospect. That is expected to be the case again this year. The $500,000 will be divided up between Beacon Falls and Prospect and used to reduce the towns’ education expenses in the current fiscal year.

The remaining $244,191 of the unreserved year-end balance is eyed to start the capital non-recurring account.

The account was approved at the board’s Feb. 26 with little discussion, other than board member Robert Hiscox stating it was long overdue. 

Director of Finance and Business Operations Pamela Mangini said, following the meeting, she plans to ask for a supplemental appropriation to be made in order to move the $244,191 into the account. The appropriation will have to be approved by voters in Beacon Falls and Prospect, she added.  

If ultimately approved, school officials already have a project in mind for the money — replacing the roof over the art wing at Woodland Regional High School.

In November, the board learned that more than half of the roof at the 12-year-old school is in disarray, leaking in spots and will have to be replaced. The flat parts of the roof are fine, according to officials.   

The leaks and deterioration appear to be related to one or more installation errors, such as roofing nails being visible between slots of shingles, or nails that are rusted and loose, allowing water to enter.  About 65 percent of the roof, which is what needs to be replaced, is shingled. Greenwood Industries Inc., of Millbury, Mass., installed the shingles. The statute of limitations on the roof has expired.

Some temporary repairs, which were covered by insurance, were made late last year the roof over the art wing but that section is in the worst shape and will have to be replaced soon.

It was originally thought the overall project would have to be paid through bonds along with planned safety upgrades. However, officials are hopeful enough repairs can be made to the other damaged parts of the roof to hold off replacing it until the roof is 15 years old. Once the roof reaches 15 years old, the district will be eligible for some state reimbursement on the project.

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