Alamance Burlington School Board members unanimously voted 6-0 on Monday, October 23, to allow administrators of the system to request that Alamance County commissioners provide $9,000,000 in funding to ABSS for repairs and maintenance in the fiscal year 2023-24. This will enable ABSS to recover its mold remediation costs.
This summer, the presence of mold in 32 schools and the ABSS Central Office at Vaughn Road, Burlington was confirmed. School officials decided to postpone the beginning of the school year for two weeks until September 11th.
A final invoice total of $26.2 million was given to the school board Monday evening.
Mold remediation costs include $22.6 million in mold removal, $563 717.86 to test for third party mold and $3,000,000 for the rental of dehumidifiers.
However, the total bill for mold remediation that was presented on Monday evening excludes an extra cost of $977.719.86, which the school board had approved two weeks earlier to buy 330 dehumidifiers at Sasser Restoration, Whitsett.
This purchase will be financed by ABSS’s Covid-19 federal stimulus funds that it has received since March 2019. These 330 dehumidifiers are being placed in the schools to reduce high humidity levels that ABSS officials recently blamed on problems with HVAC systems.
Kim McVey, ABSS’ chief financial officer, reminded the school board that the commissioners, to finance the mold remediation project, had approved the use of a combined total of $20,5 million. This included $3.3 million of annual county capital funds, previously allotted to ABSS in the current fiscal, $1 million of state education lottery profits, and $16.2 in capital reserves.
McVey stated Monday that the county needs to fund a total amount of $5,7 million for outstanding mold remediation invoices.
ABSS Chief Operations Officer Greg Hook stated that the county’s total funding request is $9,000,515.71. This includes the “reinstatement” of the PayGo funds, i.e. the $3.3 Million in capital funding the county provided to ABSS to cover building repairs and maintenance costs in the current fiscal period, as well as covering any remaining mold remediation costs.
Hook said Monday that the school board had approved several building repairs projects this spring. Many contracts were already awarded prior to the outbreak of mold.
Hook stated that “we had already set aside $1.2 million in purchase orders to pay for [security]cameras, key cards, and other unplanned and planned things.”
Ryan Bowden, vice-chairman of the school board, questioned ABSS’s responsibility for spending $60,000 on a replacement fire hydrant serving Broadview Middle School and Cummings High School. He said that Monday evening, “We need to push this a bit because it’s the city’s responsibility.”
Hook said that ABSS was requesting the commissioners to restore “PayGo” funding, which is the annual county allocation of $3.3million for building maintenance and repairs. ABSS did not have any money in the account at the end of September due to the mold remediation costs, according figures presented Monday night.
Lowell Rogers, ABSS’s deputy superintendent during the meeting, stressed that “part of this $3.3 million is already committed.”
Superintendent Dr. Dain Dain Butler said, “We are asking for consensus to be able to attend the Thursday meeting of the Oversight Committee to seek their approval.”
Capital oversight committee consists of representatives from Alamance County Government, ABSS, and Alamance Community College. It was formed in the early part of 2019 in order to supervise the repair and renovations projects that are funded through the $189.6 Million bond package approved by voters in November 2018 for ABSS, ACC, and ACC. This group gathers five times per year to review capital expenditures and projects.
The school administrators will present the funding request of $9 million to the commissioners on November 4 if the committee approves it.
Chuck Marsh, a member of the school board of Chuck Marsh School Board of Education said on Monday that during the third joint meeting of both boards that took place in the last week August the commissioners agreed to reinstate funding ABSS used for mold remediation.
Rogers continued, “We deliberately waited until we received the final bills.” We’ve been told to make sure the numbers are accurate.
Donna Westbrooks seconded Dan Ingle’s motion, which passed with 6-0.
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