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Funding is sought for a new middle school and an addition at Forest Middle.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
A budgeted $1 million reserve fund for future Bedford County school-related needs soon may collide with a backlog of projects.
The board of supervisors is set to vote tonight on a money appropriation to the Bedford County School Board for use in a new capital improvement plan for maintenance and construction projects.
The overall plan totals more than $73 million — due in large part to a new middle school in the Bedford area and a planned addition at Forest Middle, which combined are estimated at $49 million.
The new middle school, to open in August 2016, is more of a certainty since the city of Bedford reverted to a town in July. The school board recently voted to buy about 50 acres adjacent to Liberty High for the new school.
The Forest Middle project has drawn little discussion from the supervisors, the division’s fiscal agent for borrowing money.
The school board in July adopted a resolution asking for the county to borrow $2.3 million in the current budget and next year’s budget.
The school board recently altered the request to $1 million for projects in the current budget year only.
Superintendent Doug Schuch said at a recent school board meeting the committee members who also are supervisors said they did not want to borrow money at this time.
The board decided to set aside the $1 million after it was clear school officials planned to use $6 million in added state funding connected to the city’s reversion for operational spending.
Several supervisors said earlier this year they felt the bulk of the $6 million, expected to come annually for the next 14 years, should go to the new middle school and other construction needs instead of operational use.
School officials defended the decision to funnel the money to operations, citing the millions in cuts over the past several years that they said hindered education and staff morale.
According to the schools’ capital plan, nine projects in the current fiscal year tally just more than $2 million. They include improvements in eight schools — such as oil and water tanks, roofs, elevators and air conditioner units — along with upgrades at the division’s three high school stadiums estimated at $600,000.
Also tonight, supervisors will consider a request from the fire and rescue department for a $257,000 appropriation to purchase a new ambulance.
The board will hold public hearings on a rezoning and special use permit request from Maddox and Son Construction to build a four bay car wash and storage warehouses in Forest at the intersection of U.S. 221 and Grant Road.
Supervisors meet at 7:30 p.m. in the county administration building, 122 E. Main St. in downtown Bedford.
To view the agenda, visit www.co.bedford.va.us.
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