At the August 31 Board of Eduction meeting, Superintendent David Quattrone presented an overview of what to expect with respect to facilities, safety, and finances.
The School expects to have beneficial use of the renovated auditorium and new lobby addition by the start of school. This renovation, long overdue, was made possible by taxpayer vote, and generous contributions by the PTA, the Foundation, and private citizens. These donations made it possible to fund a superior facility for student and community use. Although project completion was delayed several months due to the default of a contractor, it is important to note the project has remained under budget; there have been no cost overruns or additional costs to the taxpayers. In fact, liquidated damages and various backcharges may further reduce total costs. (The total authorized amount for the auditorium and science lab renovations was $10 million.)
The FEMA-supported flood mitigation project and synthetic turf projects, both approved by voters last year, are still pending. The low bid for the flood mitigation project, from Montisano Brothers, came in at $9,754,305. The engineer’s cost estimate was $8,534.651. Bidders were asked to hold their bids through September 30, and a delegation of the Board is scheduled to meet with Village officials next week to discuss how best to bridge the gap.
The district continues to refine and strengthen its safety programs. Over the past two years the School has doubled the number of security cameras, installed a buzzer and panic button system at key entrances and offices, installed protective coating on windows, replaced and upgraded classroom locks to support lockdown effectiveness, and expanded security services both during and after school hours. Operationally, procedures have been clarified and strengthened with respect to building access, field access, and emergency drills. As announced last spring, we will implement a drop-off procedure approved by the safety committee and Bronxville Police Department, that offers greater protection to students at the beginning of the school day. The safety committee will continue to monitor our practices and procedures and make recommendations for future improvement.
As the Board exercises its stewardship of district assets, facilities and finances will continue to present hard choices. The district is due for its five-year building conditions survey. This engineering study should be completed by November, considered by the Board, and translated into a long-range capital plan. During this next period of time the school building will celebrate its hundredth birthday, a timely occasion to address such issues as the School’s front entrance, flooring, air conditioning select areas of the building, windows, and the expanding role of technology. To minimize tax impact, the district should time such projects to coincide with anticipated reductions in debt service. Along the way, the school’s operating budget must balance the various pressures of mandated programs and contributions, the tax cap, and enrollment in order to develop a sustainable spending plan.