Why hasn’t the school board built this into its regular budget?
For many years, the school board has worked hard to present Berlin with a conservative and responsible school budget. Finding large dollar amounts is not easy in an annual budget. The major fixes of this project are too much for the annual school budget to absorb.
What needs to be done?
• HVAC ($400K)
• Lighting/electrical ($300K)
• Floor & Ceiling ($300K)
• Plumbing ($275K)
• Asbestos abatement ($250K)
• ADA Accessibility ($200K)
• Security ($125K)
• Building envelope ($125K)
• Gym floor and tables ($75K)
• Fire code ($25K)
• The major systems in need of replacement, repair or upgrading are: hot and cold water pipes, HVAC, lighting, floors and ceilings.
• All asbestos must be removed because of deteriorating pipes and floor tiles throughout.
• Accessibility, fire safety and building security all need immediate improvement.
What about ACT 46 and consolidation?
The outcome of Act 46 is still unknown. Regardless of any decision on merging as a district, we will still need our school. As one of the larger schools in the district, it is not going to close.
What about energy savings?
Several thousand dollars will be saved each year on the lighting bill alone plus the decreased maintenance cost of newer longer-lasting lights. Thousands more in annual savings will come from upgrades to room ventilators, heating systems, building envelope and energy controls.
Can’t this wait until the economy or tax rates improve?
The fixes in the project have been deferred for at least a decade and they are beginning to jeopardize student and teacher safety and health. Failing systems, poor lighting, air quality, security upgrades, and asbestos abatement can no longer be ignored.
Is everything in the project really necessary?
A dedicated committee met several times over the summer to prioritize investments and cut out unnecessary items or those which could be handled in the annual budget. Also, our school serves as Berlin’s Red Cross Disaster Shelter, is used by over 30 community groups and is booked more than 200 nights/year for other uses. It must be a safe and reliable building.
What will this mean for my tax bill?
This plan reflects the balance between facility and educational needs and our concern for affordability. Tax rates are complicated, but property owners earning over $50k will see an increase on their tax bills: for those earning between $50k and $90k its a modified amount, and for those over $90k the rate is $114 / $100K of home value in the first and most expensive year of the bond. View the tax impact charts.