Board of School Directors Public Statement
The Board of School Directors is embarking on a project to repair the HVAC systems at the High School and Middle School, as well as look at possible additions of classrooms and HVAC/roof repairs to the Elementary School. Regarding classroom spaces, you can see by the above illustration that we are one student below capacity at the Elementary School.
Over the next three years, our Facilities Director, Casey Blankenbiller, and Business Manager, Brian Feick, will phase in work that will upgrade the HVAC systems and restore roof sections in all three buildings. The HVAC systems and roofs have reached or exceeded their recommended lifespans, necessitating the repairs.
Last fall, the Board contracted with EI Associates to do a feasibility study to determine next steps for repairs and additions. As our student population has dramatically increased over the past three years and we are now near building capacity at the Elementary School, class sizes are a major concern. Proposed steps include relocating classes, building classrooms on the end of current wings (see blue areas in illustration below), and constructing a secure building entrance in the courtyard adjacent to the cafeteria. The new entrance will also relocate offices and storage areas to free up space. The infrastructure repairs for the Elementary School, mentioned above, would be completed in conjunction with building construction to maximize efficiency and minimize cost.
Other options that were considered to alleviate overcrowding included: 1) building a new 4th and 5th grade school between the current intermediate school and elementary school; and, 2) adding a large number of classrooms at the high school that would have enabled moving all junior high grades to the high school. These options are more expensive than adding classrooms to the elementary school.
We will keep the community current on all phases of our planning and renovations. The Board has saved a considerable amount in a Capital Projects Fund in anticipation of these repairs and renovations, however it may be necessary to secure extra funding and we have had discussions with financial managers regarding potential bond issues.
If extra funding is required, our goal is to pay back the borrowed amount through current line items in our budget and current tax revenues to the greatest extent possible. As you know, we do not hesitate to pay for necessary expenditures but simultaneously attempt to keep tax increases as small as possible. In fact, in the past 8 years, we have only had three tax increases at Schuylkill Valley.
These discussions will undoubtedly be taking place monthly at our Board meetings, so we look forward to seeing you in attendance.
Schuylkill Valley School District Board of School Directors