$15 million. That is the dollar amount it would take to build the upper grade wing of the new Park View School.
Director of Schools Corby King addressed the full Putnam County Commission Monday night after Commissioner Dale Moss requested a firm number for the project in a work session last week. Commissioner Cathy Reel said she was disappointed that the full school is not moving forward as one project.
“When we voted and raised taxes 10 percent to give you all the money that you needed and they guaranteed us,” Reel said. “How can you guarantee us now if we give you $15 million, then you can give us what we want or what you want.”
Some commissioners expressed concern about the timing of the project. According to King, the school board waited until the bond funding was in place before getting the bid completed. The Justice Center project, bonded at the same time, locked in a price before the bond was issued.
“It was a matter of timing,” King said. “We waited until we had the bond in place before. We didn’t want to pay the architects fees and all those things to get ready to go to bid. We had the basic drawings, the cost estimate, but before we paid them the fees to run through the Fire Marshal’s Office, we wanted the money in place. That’s about a six to eight month process. That was the difference.”
Commissioner Dale Moss said he feels like somebody “dropped the ball” on the school board’s side that lead to this request of extra funding.
“You realize how it makes us commissioners look?” Moss said. “We just voted on a budget with zero tax, and then two months or three months from now we have to ask for four or five cents?”
Kind said nobody could have predicted the cost increase during the time frame. King said the price shared to the commission Monday night would only be viable until the end of August. King said after that, the holds on material prices would expire. King said it would be cheaper to fund the project now than in the future.
Commissioner Jordan Iwanyszyn recommended that the residents of Putnam County have a voice in the decision. Iwanyszyn who was serving in his last meeting as commissioner said a referendum should be considered by the new commission.
Commissioner Chris Cassetty closed the discussion with this statement.
“I think the community wants a K-8,” Cassetty said. “I think the school system wants a K-8. I think the commission wants a K-8. I think that’s what we all thought we were approving and thought what we were going to get when we approved the bond. The reality of it is the price came in a lot higher than expected. At the end of the day there are only two questions are when are we going to do it and how much is it going to cost. And I don’t think we can answer either one of those questions.”