The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 20, 2009

CCHS seeks $750,000 debt exclusion

At the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting on March 10, John Flaherty, Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Operations, responded to questions about the school’s request for a $750,000 debt exclusion on the Warrant for Town Meeting, of which Carlisle’s portion would be about $225,000. The funds would be used primarily for maintenance and safety of the current building, with $250,000 set aside for a building planning study.

The study would examine alternatives to a new school in case the Massachusetts School Building Committee (MSBA) does not come through with funding in the near term (see “CCHS eyes future if state building aid delayed again,” in last week’s Mosquito.) A new plan would then be needed to address accreditation requirements at a price the two towns could afford to fund 100%. The Concord-Carlisle Regional School District expects to hear this month whether CCHS will be on the list for near-term funding.

As for the other $500,000 requested, Flaherty illustrated his presentation with photos of ragged auditorium curtains ($45,000), worn main office carpeting and furnishings ($40,000), and old air conditioning compressors ($35,000). Air conditioning for the music room, which suffers from the heat of amplifiers and bodies, would cost $30,000 with bathroom upgrades, including lavatory partitions, another $100,000. Fire alarm detection equipment for classrooms, required in the certification audit, would cost $250,000.

Jerry Wedge of the Regional School Committee noted that the last building study completed in 2005 recommended replacing the school for $90 million over renovating and expanding the existing buildings for $82 million. Without MSBA, however, that plan is no longer operable. The accreditation agency, NESCA, is pressuring the school to address a long list of faults that can only be solved with a major building project.

Selectman Tim Hult suggested the maintenance and safety items should be grouped separately from the planning in two articles, “I’d hate to see needed improvements not passed because people don’t want a study,” Hult said. Flaherty said it is now too late to make changes to the Warrant for Concord Town Meeting and the article will have to appear as is. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito