Brittney Burns – Staff Writer
Ensuring that the infrastructure of Macon County Schools stays current, affording its students the best educational opportunities possible is something members of the Board of Education and Macon County Commissioners work together on each year. In addition to the more than $7 million in operating expenses that Macon County Commissioners allocate to the school board each year, commissioners provide the school system with a capital outlay budget to complete needed renovations and improvement projects throughout the district.
This budget cycle, commissioners increased the school system’s capital outlay budget by $200,000 to a total of $500,000. Of the $500,000 provided to the school system, the county earmarked $200,000 to replace the gym roof at Highlands School.
Last week, members of the Macon County Board of Education met to prioritize the district’s capital outlay requests submitted by principals. School board members were presented with a spreadsheet featuring 74 capital outlay requests for vehicles, furniture, technology, safety, and structural needs throughout the district.
The total requests topped $9,389,389.20, leaving board members to prioritize the list based on the $500,000 allotted for projects. Of the projects presented this year, 24 projects were also requested last year and remain a need in the district.
Macon County Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin worked with school officials to prioritize the list and presented board members with a proposal that includes 10 capital outlay projects or purchases for a total of $499,978.
2016-17 Capital Outlay Proposal
*$20,000: Additional replacement of the resurfacing at the Franklin High School Track
*$217,171: Replacement of the gym roof at Highlands School
*$10,000: New Speaker Systems in the gym at Macon Middle School and Franklin High School
*$41,711: SAN replacement district wide
*$50,000: Replacement of projectors in the district (7 year replacement plan)
*$5,925: Purchase a fire suppression system for Nantahala, Macon Middle and East Franklin Elementary Schools
*$42,171: Purchase of school furniture and equipment throughout the district (original request was $114,000)
*$28,000: Purchase a new box truck
*$85,000: Purchase a new 66 passenger activity bus
The Macon County Board of Education will vote on the capital outlay budget during its September meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. in Highlands. The final capital outlay budget may change, based on the recommendation of county commissioners during a joint facilities review committee scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m.
Two projects identified in the capital outlay proposal, the FHS track resurfacing and the Highlands Gym roof replacement have received county dollars in the past. Members of the board of education said they would like to go to commissioners again and ask for additional funds, separate of the $500,000 capital outlay budget, to complete those upgrades. The county already allocated $200,000 for the Highlands roof replacement, but after bids came in for the project, the project will total $217,171 and school officials would like to see the county pay for the entire project.
The track resurfacing project is contingent upon two things. First, the company handling the resurfacing, Competition Athletics Surfaces, Inc. (CAS), plans to visit FHS in October to try a new adhesive to fix bubbling in the resurfacing that was completed in July. If the adhesive works, school officials noted they would like to see the entire track fixed using the new solution, which would cost the $20,000. Second, CAS has a full schedule and may not be able to return in the spring to fix the track assuming the new adhesive works in October. If the adhesive doesn’t work, the school board wouldn’t want to spend additional dollars in the spring to fix the track, but if CAS cannot come back in the spring, the school board said they may not want to wait until after the attempt in October to see if the adhesive will work and just go ahead and try to fix the entire track for the proposed $20,000 and hope the new adhesive solution works.