USD 410 needs some cold cash

News editor

“I’d say our dream of air conditioning the gym is out,” Hillsboro USD 410 Board of Education President Eddie Weber said Dec. 19.

Weber’s comment came after seeing bids for work on heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems in the district. Updating HVAC systems district-wide would be about $1 million, not including the high school or middle school gymnasiums, which would cost about $70,000 and $50,000 more, respectively.

Financing such a large project would be problematic for the district. The district’s capital outlay budget, which can be used for facilities, vehicles, and equipment, is projected to decline about $175,000 a year, quickly depleting the fund, unless the district increases property taxes; the current balance of the fund was unavailable Thursday. And the district can’t reverse the decline in the capital outlay fund and pay for the whole HVAC project at the same time, Superintendent Steve Noble said.

Updating only the area of the high school served by the oldest boiler in the district would cost about $200,000, but it should provide the best return on investment.

Noble outlined options for what the district could do to address facilities, including paying from operating reserves to update HVAC at the high school and set aside about $50,000 each year to update other buildings about every five years, although that would still require a property tax increase.

Board member Rod Koons liked the idea of getting the biggest need taken care of first and setting aside money for future work.

“Pay cash and get our biggest dinosaur out of the way,” Koons said.

The board took no action on the matter. The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 14.

The board also met in closed session to discuss school security in the wake of the school shooting Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

 

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