The Bradley County Board of Education’s Capital Outlay Committee met Friday to discuss the improvements local school principals feel need to be made to schools.
Before the subcommittee discussed each school’s requests for improvements around school properties, Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel and administrative staff had already narrowed the choices down for them.
Business Office Manager Rick Smith said there were more requests than could really be included in this year’s budget. Out of projects that could have required millions of dollars of funding if included, the recommendations to the committee totaled $1,400,000.
“We try to take the money and do what is best for all concerned,” he said.
All school principals are invited to submit requests. While they are not guaranteed to have those requests met, McDaniel said the school system does try to distribute funds for building improvements as evenly as possible. However, using Bradley County’s high schools as examples, he said larger buildings require more work and more money to fund the work.
After discussing the merits of each funding request, the committee ultimately approved a list of recommendations to be approved by the school board at its next meeting.
The recommendations presented to the committee included:
- Black Fox Elementary: $2,100 for counters in older classrooms;
- Bradley Central High: $40,000 for replacing gym seating, refurbishing gym floors, repairing curbs outside and replacing flooring in the main office;
- Goal Academy: $5,000 for sealing a parking lot;
- Hopewell Elementary: $15,300 for new flooring in classrooms and the library;
- Michigan Avenue Elementary: $7,000 for flooring in classrooms;
- North Lee Elementary: $17,000 for replacing windows and patching the front driveway;
- Ocoee Middle: $22,500 for renovating a computer room and replacing flooring in the library;
- Prospect Elementary: $8,500 for renovating student restrooms;
- Taylor Elementary: $17,000 for purchasing new doors and building walls for classroom renovations;
- Walker Valley High: $10,000 for purchasing and installing new bathroom stalls; and
- Waterville Community Elementary: $10,000 for buying new student furniture.
Other schools had recommendations not included on the main list.
A new category was created on this year’s capital outlay budget for school security issues, which McDaniel said should be given extra priority.
The four recommendations for school security-related improvements included $20,000 for projects at Bradley Central High, $5,000 for Michigan Avenue Elementary, $5,000 for Oak Grove Elementary, $4,000 for Prospect Elementary and $8,200 for Valley View Elementary.
Another category addressed the need for updating technology in schools. The committee’s recommendation included a total of $475,000 for that purpose. That total was originally $500,000, but committee members voted to allocate $25,000 elsewhere.
The committee also discussed the need for roof repairs at both Bradley County middle schools. Its members voted to recommend the full school board approved spending $150,000 on roof replacement at Ocoee Middle. The other recommendation was to spend $175,000 for roof replacement at Lake Forest Middle, an amount that was cut from the director’s proposal of $200,000 in favor of placing $25,000 elsewhere.
The $50,000 trimmed from other parts of the budget was to fund the most expensive project on the list. Committee members proposed allocating $350,000 to be paired with $287,000 in existing insurance revenues for a major renovation to the auditorium at Lake Forest Middle.
More than $46,000 was also included to account for emergencies or the possibility of projects being more pricey than originally planned.
The recommendations will be discussed during the school board meeting at 9 a.m. May 13 at the school system’s central office.
At that time, the school board will also vote on the school system’s overall budget requests for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The requests will have to be submitted to the Bradley County Commission for its approval as part of the county government’s budget.