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Manchester City Schools want $4 million for renovations

Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Manchester City Schools Director Dr. Prater Powell presented a plan for school upgrades that could cost approximately $4 million to the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen in a work session Tuesday.

Powell presented a plan that would upgrade College Street Elementary School and Westwood Middle School. The plan is “not a long-term solution” Powell indicated to the board.

“Every corner, every space is being utilized,” Powell told the board.

Powell indicated the most pressing issues are the food-service area at College Street and potential overcrowding at Westwood Middle School.

The proposed renovations and expansions would total $2.4 million at Westwood Middle School and $1.2 million at College Street. Including furniture, Powell is asking for $4 million for “a little cushion.”

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“When you see these numbers they are preliminary budget numbers,” Powell explained. “We feel like these are pretty solid numbers.”

Alderman Cheryl Swan, who chairs the Manchester Finance Committee, indicated that the city school system’s reserve fund could help absorb some of those costs.

Powell told Swan $3 million is currently available in reserves, but the system is required to keep three percent of its operating budget in reserves. With a total annual budget of approximately $12 million, that means the school system needs to have at least $360,000 in a reserve fund.

“We don’t want to spend all of our savings account,” Powell told Swan. “We have a healthy fund balance. We have tried to maintain that.”

“I have toured the schools and there is definitely a need [for work],” Swan said told the Times Thursday. She also indicated the issue of funding will come up at the February Finance Committee meeting…

Read the complete story in next week’s (Jan. 23) print edition of the Manchester Times. (Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition of the Manchester Times)