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Germantown schools place safety above all else

April 21, 2014

Germantown — Student safety is among the priorities involved with the projects slated to occur in Germantown schools this summer.

Security improvements will be made in all six schools, including installation of surveillance systems at the elementary schools and security doors at schools districtwide.

The school board on April 14 voted to move forward with a plan to use $403,000 from the district's general fund to proceed with the compartmentalization project. Doing so will allow completion of the safety upgrades, while leaving the remaining $203,000 in the capital improvement budget for other work needed throughout the district.

Another option would have been to delay projects at either the elementary schools or the middle and high school, or hope that there would be enough funding in the capital improvement budget for 2014-15 to cover the projects.

"We're looking at a domino effect if we push things back," said School Board President Bob Soderberg, in reference to a facilities study done by the district last year. "We take our position very seriously. We are stewards of the taxpayer's money ... our schools are in dire need of repair ... we've got to do whatever we can to ensure our schools are safe and secure today."

Other major projects include a new ceiling and lighting in the main gym at the high school and repair of portions of the roofs at MacArthur Elementary and the high school — projects board member Bruce Warnimont said are ultimately just a drop in the bucket.

"We have, just on this year's shopping list, more than a million dollars of necessary expenditures throughout the district," said Warnimont, who chairs the board's building committee. "All together we have something approaching $17 million worth of necessary and needed upgrades."

The decision to use money from the general fund followed discussion about where the district stands with its targeted safety net, which Director of Business and Auxillary Services Ric Ericksen said is still in good shape.

"The board passed a motion that the targeted general fund balances should be 12 percent of the expenditures," he said, "and as it stands right now, we are $2 million over that target under my 2014-15 budget."

These improvements are necessary, separate from any future plans for the district to build new schools, Warnimont clarified, which is a discussion likely to occur

"Best case scenario, let's turn the clock forward several years ... we don't know what the tax appetite of the community will be on building new schools," Soderberg said. "Let's say it's favorable ... this would just fill that gap."

NEXT STEP

WHAT: further discussion on district improvements

WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, April 28

WHERE: District administrative offices, W13840 Donges Bay Road

BY THE NUMBERS

$240,000

cost of installing camera surveillance systems at elementary schools

$403,000

cost of installing security doors at all district schools

$205,000

cost of scheduled maintenance on roofs at MacArthur and GHS

$80,000

cost of replacing auxiliary gym floor at GHS

$95,000

cost of ceiling and relighting of main gym at GHS

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