Funds for school renovations falling short
By MICHAEL HALL The Brunswick News
A proposed $36 million renovation of nearly every building on the Glynn Academy campus in Brunswick could start as early as next summer, but funding for the project may fall millions of dollars short.
John Tuten, architect for the school system, presented the nine-phase master plan for the renovations at the board of education's facilities committee meeting held Tuesday prior to its regularly scheduled meeting.
"The standard we are looking for is like-new buildings," Tuten said.
Getting there, though, will take more than the $22 million projected to be available in pay-as-you-go funds through ESPLOST II.
If sales tax revenues continue trickling in as they are now, $14 million in local funds will likely be required to cover the difference, said David Scott of Gude Management, the consulting company used by the school system on all ESPLOST projects.
Al Boudreau, the school system's director of operations, said priority will be given to the first six phases of the project that include classroom and instructional space, leaving athletic facilities to be built at a later date.
Boudreau is hopeful funding from the state's capital outlay program for modernization will be available to cover some of the costs.
In the best case scenario, Boudreau believes the combination of ESPLOST funds and capital outlay dollars will cover all projects through the first six phases. If capital outlay money is not available, Boudreau said all instructional buildings will likely be paid for by EPSLOST funds except the science building, which was built in the early 1960s.
In other business on Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent for Student Achievement Ricky Rentz updated the board on the progress of students who previously attended Risley Early College Academy, closed at the end of last school year due to funding issues.
"We have seen great improvement in our RECA students academically as well as in behavior and attendance," Rentz said.
After the first nine weeks, many of the students appeared to be struggling. With some extra help, Rentz expects most will show gains after the semester is over.
"The main thing is they are getting accustomed to their new settings," Rentz said.
He is optimistic all will be on track by the end of the school year.
Superintendent Howard Mann showed the board the new list of class offerings both high schools will use to register students for next school year. The lists are intended to make tracking a student's progress through their chosen career pathways easier.
The board approved a policy creating a sick leave bank for employees that will allow them to donate days to those in need and approved updates to the policies governing professional personnel leaves and absences.
Board member Ray Snow, attending his last meeting as a District 1 board member, was presented a plaque in appreciation of his service.