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February 10, 2014

$6 million in bonds passes with NA-FC Schools

Funding approved for several projects, including synthetic turf

NEW ALBANY — New labs, new technology and more are coming with their new turf.

At Monday’s board meeting, the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated Schools Board of Trustees approved $6 million in general obligation bonds for seven objectives divided into five projects.

Though the majority of the board approved the bonds at 6-1, Rebecca Gardenour, board member, was the sole opposition on passing the resolutions.

She said while the tax impact for most citizens in the county is low, she thought the board and administration needed to find other ways to fund those projects. Gardenour was in favor of the cafeteria improvements at Mt. Tabor Elementary.

“I think our facilities studies have shown that we need to focus on our elementary schools at this point,” she said. “Would it be great to have synthetic fields at this point? Yeah, but it’s not a need. I think just because we can borrow some money, we don’t need to borrow.”

Among the other projects — including expanding science labs at New Albany High School, replacing propane lines with natural gas at Floyd Central, installing SMART Boards in middle schools and installing new synthetic turf fields at Floyd Central and New Albany high schools — several school employees and parents testified in favor of the benefits they’d bring to the district.

D.J. Hines, board president, said he understood Gardenour’s concerns on doing all the projects at once, but he said keeping compounding fees to a minimum was only likely to happen if it acted immediately.

“I think you make a valid point that we could spread this out over three years, but the chance of the interest rate going up and costing our taxpayers more what it’s going to cost them the next two years, I think the risk is significant,” Hines said.

As Gardenour asked more questions, Mark Boone, board member, said he was “baffled” at the number of questions Gardenour had after a work session on the subject on Jan. 28.

“They didn’t answer all of your questions in five and a half hours?” Boone said.

“I have questions even after that,” Gardenour said.

“Wow,” Boone said. “We also did two-by-two meetings, so you actually heard about this before Christmas.”

Gardenour said though she knew much of the background on the projects, she wanted to make sure the audience had the chance to hear information before a vote was counted.

But she also questioned the prices listed with some of the projects. Brad Snyder, deputy superintendent, said those prices were based on good-faith estimates of experts. He said since some of the projects involved construction, the district would seek bids and go to the board for approval before they began.

However, Snyder brought forth another measure to expedite the process on installing synthetic turf at the high schools. He said though putting it on the agenda was presumptuous since he didn’t know how the vote would go on the bonds, he still wanted to make sure the board could begin the process for the project to install the fields by fall 2014.

The board made its appointments for the Common Construction Wage Determination for Synthetic Turf with Snyder representing the district and Fred McWhorter, chief business officer, representing taxpayers. The measure passed unanimously.

Look for the board’s discussion on marketing and ProMedia in an upcoming issue of the News and Tribune.

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