Dr. Joey Vaughn, director of Manchester City Schools, asked city aldermen to consider funding a $4.1 million expansion project of College Street Elementary School.

Vaughn presented his request at a work session of Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen on July 2.

According to Vaughn, a $4.1 million expansion is needed at College Street Elementary School.

The expansion will include four classrooms and a cafeteria, said Vaughn.

He asked city aldermen to consider funding $2.5 million of the $4.1 million project.

“We are asking you to consider helping us fund the buildout to College Street Elementary,” Vaughn said. “The total for this project is $4.1 million, and that will allow us to build a new kitchen and four classrooms…I am asking you to consider funding $2.5 million, with the city school system putting $1.6 million, in order for us to do that buildout.”

Vaughn encouraged city officials to think about why this project is necessary.

“Our kids have big dreams and that’s our responsibility,” Vaughn said. “I am going to ask you to consider why you do what you do…not what or how, but why. Because our kids have big dreams and we have a responsibility to provide quality education for them.”

“My plan is to provide incredible learning opportunities for our children, so they will be successful in whatever dreams they pursue.”

The growth of the area will require proactive leadership, according to Vaughn.

“Manchester is growing incredibly… I love the growth, my concern is for us to be prepared for that growth,” Vaughn said. “We need to direct where we’re going and how we get there, or somebody is going to do that for us.”

 “We are asking you to look at us again,” he said.

The school system's operating budget is $14.5 million, with about $1.8 million of the total amount coming from the city's general fund, according to Vaughn.

"Two years ago, this body gave us an increase of about $180,000 to give teachers raises," he said. "We didn’t come this year to ask for more because we know we have capital projects we need addressed.”

Vaughn stressed the importance of the project.

“If we want Manchester to continue to be cutting edge for industries to come in and for this county and city to grow… we have to invest in the school system,” he said.

City officials said they understand the growth has to be addressed. They discussed several possibilities for funding the project, including issuing bonds and using funds from the city’s fund balance.

Aldermen will continue to discuss the issue at upcoming meetings.