Indian Lake Central School
In a meeting dominated by updates on the ongoing construction project at the Indian Lake Central School, board members Tuesday, Sept. 18 were faced with spending up to $100,000 more than expected to clean up asbestos from the school.
Mari Cecil, of the Bernier Carr Group, the engineering firm on the project, presented the board with estimated costs to mitigate and clean up the surprise asbestos discoveries in a number of areas of the school. She said it would cost about $200,000.
A number of scenarios for funding the asbestos mitigation and removal had been suggested by the district’s counsel and fiscal advisor. Cecil presented these alternatives to the board. The $200,000 figure represented three-quarters or more of the amount currently in the district’s general fund.
After considering their options — and citing the threat to the health and safety of students, staff, occupants and visitors to the school — board members passed an emergency resolution for funding not to exceed $100,000 to mitigate and clean up two areas key to school operations: the records room and the area beneath the science room.
The remaining areas of asbestos discovery would be safely sealed until the final cost of the initial mitigation is known and funding can be identified for cleanup.
Upon questions from Mr. Harrington, Board Vice President, Ms. Cecil informed the board that administrative time costs incurred by her firm and associated with the surprise discoveries were being absorbed in an effort to contribute to cost containment on this project and out of a sense of partnership with the district and the local taxpayers
In a post-meeting discussion, Mark Brand, School Superintendent, made the point that everyone involved is doing their best to deal with this surprise issue within the realities of available funding and the complications of the 2 percent tax cap. Brand and the rest of the board see the emergency resolution as a means to get the most critical areas mitigated while the project continues, allowing true overall project costs to become better defined. He pointed out that this is a means of serving the best interest of the students, staff and taxpayer while moving the project to completion.
During the meeting, after the emergency resolution was passed, discussion ensued about the fact that the surprise asbestos discoveries and the cost to mitigate them are seriously jeopardizing funding for a much-wanted generator.
In 2009, $1,720,000 of bond was approved by voters for the construction project. This was to include engineering, construction, plumbing, electrical and legal costs. In addition, in May of 2012, voters approved a Capital Reserve Fund of up to $147,000 to acquire a generator that would allow the school to be designated as an emergency shelter and permit classes continuing during power outages. The need to mitigate the surprise asbestos discoveries would override the need for a generator to be installed this year. Cost pressures are making this more of a reality.
With regard to other business, the board was introduced to the new ILCSD website. The site is much faster and more intuitive in its navigation. The site is currently live and in the process of being fully fleshed-out and continuously updated.
Principal, David Snide, provided an overview of the new teacher evaluation process and made mention of how the faculty has been extremely cooperative and adaptive to the new process.
The board regretfully accepted the resignation of Lori Bennet, effective Oct. 3.
The board approved the Central Treasurer, Cynthia Carroll. Other approvals included reimbursement for staff flu shots, mileage expense for Heather Yates 50 cents per mile for driving a student to school.
The board was also asked to approve a change in the Middle Schools trip to becoming an overnight trip from a day trip. The plan is to bring the 26 students to a “night at the Syracuse Zoo.” This is a special school program at the zoo and the students would take part in “behind the scenes” tours and activities in the evening and spend the night. The following day would include a breakfast, a visit to the campus of Syracuse University and lunch, before returning to ILCS. The point was made that since the students would be leaving for Syracuse at the close of the school day and returning the following day, the overnight trip would not require any more missed school time than the day trip. The board approved the trip being changed to an overnight trip.
The next meeting of the board will be Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.