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Use of remaining IPP funds discussed

Posted: August 25, 2011 3:10 p.m.
Updated: August 26, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County School District (KCSD) has $2.6 million left in its Installment Purchase Plan (IPP) fund which was used to finance the first phase of the school equalization building and renovation program.

That’s what KCSD Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson said during Tuesday afternoon’s Facilities and Finance Committee meeting, adding that the $2.6 million also includes interest earned on IPP funds.

However, since several current and recently-completed construction projects have yet to be “closed out,” Wilson recommended the board consider holding back $400,000 for contingency -- a move that would ultimately leave the district with a net amount of $2.2 million to spend on future construction projects.

“I can’t tell you right now what that money’s going to be used for exactly,” he said, adding that issues always arise when a project is being finalized. “I can only tell you something is going to come up.”

Currently, the board is considering building an expansion to North Central Middle School (NCMS) and Leslie M. Stover Middle School (STO), as well as upgrading the STO athletic fields -- two projects that have the possibility of carrying significant price tags.

Although the district doesn’t know how much the projects will cost, Wilson said, it can still use the $2.2 million to “start the process of taking bids and doing design work” to determine if there will be enough funds to complete the projects.

“Once those projects are done, you will have no more money to do anything else, up to and including a failure at a school,” he said. “So my recommendation is do not spend all of this, because once it’s gone, it’s gone. If you have a problem at a school and need to have a major repair at a school, there are no more funds available.”

Trustee Kim DuRant said she would not have voted for the purchase of the new school district office last year if there was a possibility that the projects at NCMS and STO wouldn’t get completed.

But Wilson said that he wasn’t suggesting the district cut short any future projects, but that they should define the scope of the projects to know how much it would cost.

“Based on what I’m seeing from other projects, the North Central Middle School project is going to cost a lot more than the Stover project,” he added, in response to a question from Trustee Jim Smith about the estimated cost of the projects.

KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said it is still important that they keep everything in perspective.

“I wasn’t here the night you all voted on it, but you voted on $103 million worth of projects. You got an additional school, you got a whole bunch of other things done … what has been done with what started as $103 million in projects is nothing short of a miracle,” Morgan said. “I want you to keep that in perspective because there has been a heck of a lot accomplished beyond what you’re talking about.”

Morgan also said the board still has to have discussion about the future construction and improvement projects, including what to do with Wateree, Lugoff and Camden elementary schools.

“And folks can argue with me, but we still need to look at a combined school up in the northern area as a long-term thing. We’ve got lots of things that still need to be done, and one of the things I want to do this year is start that discussion,” Morgan said. “We have to have those discussions because to do Phase II will require a referendum and it’s going to take us some time to talk about it internally, as a district and out in the community. Those needs don’t go away.”

The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees’ next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at North Central High School, 3000 Lockhart Road.

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