Region 16 board makes money moves

REGION 16 — The Region 16 Board of Education last week approved transfers — one of which voters will have to approve — totaling $579,039 to pay for capital items.

Voters in the region, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, will have the final say on a transfer of $179,982 from the 2014-15 school budget surplus into the board’s capital non-recurring account.

State law allows the board to transfer up to 1 percent of its budget into a capital non-recurring account, which can only be used for one-time capital expenses. The roughly $39.7 million 2014-15 budget finished with a surplus of about $1.44 million. The board can transfer up to $397,350 of the surplus into the account.

Of the $179,982 sought for the transfer, $150,000 is planned to be used to mill and repave the parking lot for the new district office. The new office, which is the final part of a three-part building project, is being built on Coer Road in Prospect where the former Algonquin School stood. The work on the parking lot isn’t included in the building project’s budget.

The additional $29,982 will be used for one-time repairs at Woodland Regional High School and Laurel Ledge, including a partition for the coaches’ room at Woodland as well as replacing ceiling and floor tiles at Laurel Ledge.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin proposed transferring just the money for the parking lot. However, the board approved the additional work at Woodland and Laurel Ledge as part of the transfer at the behest of board member David Rybinski.

Rybinski described the work as little things that need to be done.

“We’re doing it for things that are used for the schools not just wishful things,” he said.

Rybinski added that transferring the funds won’t have a great impact on the money returned to the towns.

Surpluses in the school budget are returned to Beacon Falls and Prospect based on the student population ratio of roughly 60 percent for Prospect and 40 percent for Beacon Falls. If the transfer is approved, the $179,982 would go into the capital account rather than being returned to the towns.

The transfer will be voted on at the same time as the 2016-17 budget in early May.

The school board also unanimously approved transferring a total of $399,054 within the current budget. These transfers do not require voter approval.

The money, which mostly stems from projected surpluses within the salaries and medical benefits accounts, will be used for capital projects at Long River Middle School, Laurel Ledge and Woodland.

The largest projects are roughly $150,000 to renovate bathrooms at Long River and $99,000 to replace two boilers at Laurel Ledge that are about 25 years old. Other work includes repairing the gym floor and stage pads at Laurel Ledge; replacing tiles in two classrooms at Long River; repairing the gym floor, upgrading the backboards and fixing parts of the track at Woodland.

Director of Finance and Business Operations Pamela Mangini said last week the current budget is projected to finish with a roughly $600,000 surplus before the transfer was approved. After factoring in the transfer, the budget is projected to finish with a balance of a little more $200,000.