The Allegheny Valley School Board has been discussing the future of Colfax Elementary School since 2006. At that time, the estimated cost for renovating the school was $5.8 million.
The costs were identified in a Feb. 2 VND article and did not include estimated costs for:
• Exterior accessibility renovations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Classroom renovations.
• An upgrade to the kitchen facilities, which we can expect the Allegheny County Health Department to require.
Excluding these costs from a renovation estimate is not prudent fiscal management. A decision to renovate Colfax should be based on a 2014 cost estimate, not one from 2006.
Business Manager Brian Rau has stated the AVSD will have a $1.8 million deficit for the 2016-17 school year.
The district has a five-year, $6.2 million facilities plan. Utilizing that money for Colfax would severely limit any upgrade to other district facilities.
There also has been discussion about using money from the technology budget and retirement funds to pay for renovations. That's robbing Peter to pay Paul.
We've heard some board members saying, in essence, “We're going fix Colfax no matter what the cost. If someone doesn't like it, too bad.” The arrogance of these statements should anger our residents because these members were elected to represent them.
I ask the board to explore all options, based upon both the financial and educational aspects of the situation, and not make decisions that are going to cost more money than we need to spend.
James T. Marsili
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