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Trustees to decide use of IPPs remaining $4 million

Posted: November 2, 2010 4:28 p.m.
Updated: November 3, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Four million dollars is left in the Kershaw County School District’s (KCSD) Installment Purchase Plan (IPP) fund. How to use what remains of what was once $102 million for a series of school construction projects was the subject of discussion Monday night for the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees.

Among the projects up for consideration: replacing or renovating Bethune, Baron DeKalb, Mt. Pisgah and Camden elementary schools; adding classrooms to replace mobile units at Lugoff Elementary and North Central Middle schools; adding security cameras at all of the district’s high schools; and replacing HVAC systems at Wateree Elementary School, the Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC), and Lugoff-Elgin and Camden high schools.

At a recent meeting of the board’s facilities and finance committee, KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said he would recommend using the remaining funds to replace the Camden and Lugoff-Elgin high school HVAC systems.

“There are lots of needs, there’s no question about it. One thing that I would suggest to the board to the greatest degree possible is to look at that remaining $4 million and how we deal with HVAC efficiency. Because we are getting hammered, especially at the two high schools on HVAC costs,” Morgan said last week. “We’re getting murdered. Those systems are outdated, they’re old. If we didn’t have a really good maintenance staff we probably would be in a lot worse shape than we are.”

Replacing the HVAC systems at the two high schools is estimated to cost $1.5 million and $1.7 million, respectively -- most of the estimated remaining funds.

“I think we should fix them if they break,” Trustee Jim Smith said at Monday night’s board meeting. “I’m sorry ... I just don’t think we need to spend that money on air conditioners for two schools when we have all these other needs for other schools throughout the district.”

“Especially because the North Central area got less than $18 million of IPP funds, so I’m having a hard time with that,” added Trustee Kim DuRant.

Morgan said getting new HVAC systems would do more than simply “fix up something so that it would work.”

Instead, he said, new HVAC systems would allow the school district to install something that would save energy and add more money into its operating costs.

“The return on the HVAC is operations costs. What the board’s got to wrestle with is that versus other needs for $4 million,” Morgan said. “We can also look at what other options there are from a bond standpoint to deal with that. We have about $10 million worth of needs and about $4 million of money. That’s just where we are.”

KCSD Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson said the available $4 million was earned from interest on the bonds, and can be used for construction-related school improvement projects or be used to pay down IPP-related debt.

 “The HVAC in those two high schools -- we can repair as we go, but the long-term issue is how much they cost to run. It’s kind of like my old ‘64 Impala; I just kept fixing it,” Morgan said. “And that was fine, but it was eating me alive in gas.”

IPP funds cannot be transferred to the general or reserve fund, save programs or jobs. The funds can only be used for school construction-related projects.

In other news, the board approved a bond resolution authorizing the sale and issuance of no more than $2.5 million “general obligation bonds, taxable series 2010D, or such other appropriate series designation.”

The funds obtained through the bond sale will be used to increase the school district’s fund balance to preserve teaching positions. The bond is within the board’s 8 percent debt authority.

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