SOUTH KINGSTOWN – After detailing the budget for municipal services, police, open space and parks and recreation, the town council and the school committee finally met last Thursday to hash out the details of the school budget in a public hearing as proposed in town manager Stephen A. Alfred’s six-year capital improvement plan.
“I think everyone’s going to work together, the town council and the school committee and really look at every dollar we can save,” Ella Whaley, town council president said after hearing the school’s proposed budget.
The CIP, a six-year planning program documents 17 capital programs, the total of which costs $20,935,260. A capital project or improvement is a major non-recurring tangible fixed asset with a useful life of at least five years and a value in excess of $10,000. Capital facilities and infrastructure refer to all public (municipal and school) facilities such as school and municipal buildings, streets, bridges, water and wastewater systems, parks, and solid waste disposal facilities. School programs make up 25 percent of the planned bonding programs, while recreation programs make up 41 percent and general municipal programs make up 34 percent.
Of the $20 million budgeted for the CIP, the school program cost is $2,600 in 2010 to 2011, down from $3 million in the previous year. The reduction in available revenue for schools is a result of the local property tax, restrictions in state aid and lesser impact fees to repay the costs of the capital programs. State aid has decreased from $100,000 to $800,000.
To protect educational spaces, much of the money allocated to schools will be used for projects that will support roofs, floors and window systems, roadways, building access and security and electric systems.
Along with Alfred’s presentation to the town council and school committee, Superintendent Kristin Stringfellow also presented her schools budget program for 2012 to 2017 Thursday night. Stringfellow said for the school bonded program, $1 million has been budgeted annually prior to 2009 for repair to school facilities. For the school district, $120,000 was budgeted to replace roof top air conditioning and to replace flooring, which is scheduled for the 2015 to 2016 year. Schools that will see roof improvements include West Kingston Elementary, which is allocated $300,000, Wakefield Elementary, which could get up to $75,000 and Matunuck Elementary, which could get $300,000.
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