The failure of the November 2010 and which would have approved borrowing up to $30 million to update existing and builld new school facilities, meant that the Muskego-Norways school board had to go back to the drawing board.
Monday night, after several rounds of discussion the school board decided to spend $814,000 from their budget and $1.78 million of their fund balance to get started on the long 'punch list' that the schools have presented.
Among the items that will be repaired or replaced are roof sections on the and all but one school (Lakeview Elementary). The expenditure takes up the vast majority of the total, at nearly $1.2 million. Other projects will include classroom floor replacement at , Elementary School and .
The vote however was close at 4-3, and reflected debate held prior to the vote. Some members felt the elementary schools should have received a larger share of this initial spending, as they were the reason for the referendum in the first place.
"I think the focus should be on our elementary schools," said treasurer Dean Strom. "The referendum didn't pass, and I'd rather see the $680,000 for the roof at removed from this list."
Of the $2.59 million spending package, only 20 percent will be spent at elementary schools. However, board president Jim Schaefer reminded the board that the reigning philosophy was to remove expenses related to the aging HVAC systems, some of which are more than 50 years old, at the elementary schools, hinting that the return on investment wouldn't be worth it.
"We looked at removing the costs for the boilers because we were going to try and stretch their lifespan, and perhaps when it would be time to have to replace them, there wouldn't be a need to," he said. His comment indicated that the district would try again in the future to propose new building.
A memo from Scot Ecker, Director of Business for the district, also mentioned that "using $8.6 million (the projected expense to cover all repairs) of fund balance to support our most aging schools would not likely be viewed as good fiscal stewards."
Ecker also said the HVAC systems at Tess Corners, Muskego and Lakeview Elementary have exceeded their lifespan, and replacing them should not be an option until they fail. Should that occur, Ecker said the district should form a contingency plan "should we ever have to temporarily close any of these schools due to system failure in heating season."
Superintendent Joe Schroeder interjected that there could be unlimited discussion of what should go on the list and what should be taken off. However he reminded the board they had asked Gary Rosploch, building and grounds supervisor to come up with the list because of the trust they had in him, and his knowledge of the facilities.
The split vote left the original proposal intact. The repairs will take place during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 budget years.