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School approves E-SPLOST renewal

Pike County board of education members approved an E-SPLOST Renewal Resolution at their Tuesday, July 25 meeting and approved the school’s janitorial and RESA contracts. The one-cent sales tax would raise no more than $6 million and would be used for adding to, renovating, repairing, improving and equipping existing school buildings, school system facilities and athletic facilities and paving campus roads and parking lots. The funds would also be used for acquiring miscellaneous new equipment, fixtures and furnishings for the school system, including HVAC equipment, computer technology equipment, computer software and safety and security equipment. ’There’s nothing super fancy on this list of needs but these are some very high priority items,’ said chairman Ryan Edge. ‘These are the school’s most pressing needs and if we try to divert money out of the general budget, we can never tackle these items in a way that will be suitable or efficient for the school system.’ Edge said if the E-SPLOST referendum passes, the school will secure a bond at a very low rate so all of the upgrades can be made immediately. The E-PSLOST – if approved by voters in November – would fund new HVAC systems for the primary, elementary and high schools as well as technology upgrades for all schools. ’It’s not just our school system that is using E-SPLOST funding to pay for new HVAC systems, most schools are making those large purchases with E-SPLOST,’ said board member Denise Burrell. The proposed projects include new HVAC systems and technology upgrades including data center updates, mobile classroom laptop labs, data storage and fiber plant upgrades. If funds are available, additional projects may include but are not limited to road and parking lot resurfacing and renovations to the Memorial Annex building and the auditorium. ’This is a very ‘˜nuts and bolts’ project list,” said superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan. ‘These HVAC systems are well past their refurbishment lifespan and will only create on-going budget pressures if we cannot leverage E-SPLOST to replace.’ The school board approved a $438,000 annual janitorial contract with AJ&H Services for the next three years with the contract to end June 30, 2020. School board members also approved a contract with RESA. ’RESA helps ups serve students that we don’t have the man power or capacity to serve here,’ said Edge. The school also: ’¢ Heard from finance director Debbie Woerner who said the FY 2016-17 is being closed out and at first glance, 99.48% of revenues were collected and the school system’s total expenditures came in under budget at 98.12%. ’¢ Awarded bids to several vendors, including one local vendor, for school lunches and necessary items.

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