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Port Washington
District turns to budget, not ballot, for maintenance PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 18:11

PW-S school officials tap line item created after failed 2002 referendum to pay for building repairs


    The Port Washington-Saukville School Board’s Building and Grounds Committee took a break last week from overseeing the $45.6 million high school project to approve $200,000 in maintenance projects for the 2017-18 school year.
    The building maintenance fund that will be tapped to pay for the projects has nothing to do with the $49.4 million referendum approved by voters in 2015 but owes its existence to a failed 2002 referendum.
    In April of that year, voters rejected a district request to borrow $3.9 million for building maintenance and remodeling, as well as a plan to spend $2.3 million on technology.    
    Not long after that, Supt. Michael Weber announced a plan to create a $200,000 annual budget line item so the district would not have to rely on referendum borrowing to pay for routine maintenance.
    “We heard loud and clear from the community that we need to create a budget line item for general maintenance,” Weber said.
    It took a number of years, but the district reached that goal and since then has budgeted roughly $200,000 annually to maintain its facilities.
    “This is why we have gotten the life out of our buildings that we have,” board member Brenda Fritsch said.
    For the 2017-18 school year, the district has earmarked $38,000 for electronic message boards at its three elementary schools.
    “That money won’t cover the entire cost of the signs, so we’re working with our parent groups,” Director of Business Services Jim Froemming said.
    Among the other expenditures planned for next school year are $45,000 to repair the tennis courts at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, $20,000 to repair parking lots, sidewalks, doors and roofs and $15,000 to purchase a riding floor scrubber.
    During the 2016-17 school year, the district spent $223,000 from the maintenance fund for a number of projects, including $70,000 to replaster the swimming pool at the middle school.
    “It’s a 30-year-old pool,” Froemming said. “Usually when you fix one crack, another crack forms. You just hope it’s a smaller crack than the first one.”
    Other expenditures included $40,000 to purchase a 10-passenger van and minivan, $40,000 to replace the fire alarm system at Dunwiddie Elementary School, $25,000 to replace urinals at Lincoln Elementary School and $20,000 to renovate the district office.
    The maintenance fund has served its purpose well, but with increasing maintenance costs the district may have to rethink how much money it sets aside to take care of its buildings, Weber said.
    “At some point, we may need to discuss another plan to get the amount a little higher than $200,000,” he said.

 
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