Discussions start on 2017-2018 capital needs for DCSD

Board members had a lot of questions regarding capital project suggestions. Photo by Melissa Rollins

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

The Darlington County School Board held a special-called meeting Friday, Aug. 4 to discuss capital needs and what of those needs was most pressing for the 2017-2018 school year.

Chief Finance Officer Ashley Smith said that the list she presented to the school board included requests from all the district’s schools. Requests included everything from replacing field lighting on the baseball and softball fields at Hartsville High to new cafeteria windows at Spaulding Middle to improve energy efficiency. There were also district-wide needs such as a paint schedule for all the schools, large band equipment and a fleet of vehicles for the district’s social workers to transport students to and from doctor’s appointments.

“I hesitate to make recommendations because I know everything on here is very important to each of the schools,” Smith said. “However, I based it on needs that I know we need throughout the district…There are also some items on here that I know people have asked for for a number of years, items like air conditioning units in schools that have failed and we need to replace, things of that nature.”

Smith said she wanted the board to take special note of a request for Brockington Elementary School.

“Another one that I wanted to point out is Brockington Elementary,” Smith said. “Their parents have raised around $20,000 to help build a playground. I think it is important for the district to help with the playground expense, especially because the parents have raised that amount of money.”

When discussing the need to take care of gutters on school buildings to prevent leaking and rot, board chairman Jamie Morphis pointed out that many of the items on the capital needs list are actually maintenance projects.

“We need to have a get together about how we look at things with maintenance,” Morphis said. “I know that we are in a transition period with our maintenance, so to speak, but I would think going forward that we need to budget for gutter type stuff, any of that, grease-trap clean-up, things that are on-going. We can’t allow that to accumulate and I’m still not sure that I would consider that a capital project.”

Boardmember Wanda Hassler agreed with Morphis saying that any costs that are recurring or on-going should not be taking away from true capital project needs.

The board plans to hold a work session with their maintenance staff to discuss their needs, which include vehicles and equipment, as well as a place to store their equipment.

Administration staff will present a new list to board members at the Aug. 14 meeting based on the recommendations and comments during the special-called meeting. The capital projects that are approved will be paid for with money from a previously approved bond.

Author: Duane Childers

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