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School Board planning fund for capital costs

By Briana Barker Reporter Published: March 1, 2017 12:00 AM

NORTHFIELD CENTER -- The School Board is considering establishing a permanent improvement fund to set aside money to be used strictly for capital expenditures such as roof repairs, boilers, HVAC and parking lot repairs.

Treasurer Karen Obratil said there is a working schedule for repairs and many of the district's boilers are due to be replaced, among other things. She presented to the Board a five-year plan outlining capital expenditures for operations and education costs PI funds can be used to cover. Fiscal year 2018 could see as much as $1.3 million in costs that could come from a PI fund alone. While salaries cannot be covered by this fund, educational costs such as technology, band instruments, textbooks and copy machines could be.

Obratil said it is up to the Board to determine how much money to place in the PI fund, but she suggests whatever amount they choose, the Board see how fiscal year 2018 goes before deciding on an amount to place in the fund for the future years.

"Currently we're in the process of doing the budgets for fiscal year 2018, those will be input into the computer in either April or May, so timing wise this works out well to get the budgets in for this at the same time we do all the other budgets," Obratil said.

Berchtold reiterated the once the money comes out of the general fund it cannot go back and must stay in the PI fund for capital expenses.

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"We want to be careful because we want to be able to track our actual expenditures, we don't want to put too much money into that account because again, once we put it in we can't get it out," he said. "I would rather put in less than we need and then refill it at a later point."

He said he would like to consider putting in $500,000 initially. No decision was made during the meeting but is under consideration by the Board.

Clark said he wanted to remind the Board the fund is necessary due to the PI levy that expired in 2011 and the district has been without PI funds since.

"The community told us last year when they voted against a PI levy they were not going to be supportive of that, but roofs still leak, parking lots still need paved and we still need books, trucks and lawnmowers and those kinds of things. This would put money into this account to ensure if a boiler goes down or we get a leak we can maintain these things."

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432

Email: bbarker@recordpub.com


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