CCPS dips into fund bal­ance for de­ferred main­te­nance projects



— Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools has dipped into its fund bal­ance in or­der to fund about half a mil­lion dol­lars in emer­gency re­pairs and de­ferred main­te­nance projects that can no longer be de­layed.

Dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion Mon­day, Perry Wil­lis, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of sup­port ser­vices, and Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer Tom Kap­pra pre­sented the board of ed­u­ca­tion with a list of projects and equip­ment to­tal­ing $498,163 that they pro­posed to fund out of the sys­tem’s fund bal­ance. The projects in­clude emer­gency re­pairs to the chillers at two dif­fer­ent schools, a paving project and in­ter­com up­grades at two schools.

Sep­a­rately, of­fi­cials also pre­sented a list of a few other projects they plan to fund us­ing money saved through en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and through fees col­lected as part of the new com­mu­nity use pro­gram, where out­side or­ga­ni­za­tions are charged for us­ing school fa­cil­i­ties. These projects in­clude ten­nis court fenc­ing at two schools, two light­ing


projects and the in­stal­la­tion of a duct sock and vent­ing in the North East High School gym.

While many of the projects be­ing fi­nanced through the fund bal­ance are emer­gency re­pairs, oth­ers are part of the school’s grow­ing list of de­ferred main­te­nance projects.

“It’s slow go­ing when it’s $49 mil­lion (in de­ferred main­te­nance),” Su­per­in­ten­dent D’Ette Devine said. “These (projects) will ei­ther pay div­i­dends in terms of sav­ings or they are ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary re­pairs to make.”

Typ­i­cally, CCPS would wait un­til later in the year and see if the funds for these projects could be found else­where in the bud­get, but Kap­pra said that be­cause of the sig­nif­i­cant amount of funds needed it was im­por­tant to get these projects “on the books” now.

The big­gest use of the fund bal­ance will go to­ward emer­gency chiller re­pairs at the Bo­hemia Manor High School and Mid­dle School com­plex and the Ce­cil County School of Tech­nol­ogy. Those re­pairs and tem­po­rary chiller rentals cost $100,863 at Bo Manor and $144,425 at CCST. The school board ap­proved bids for those projects back in Septem­ber.

How­ever, CCPS only had to pull $54,425 from its fund bal­ance for the CCST project be­cause the school sys­tem had al­ready bud­geted $90,000 for re­pairs to that chiller be­fore re­al­iz­ing the work was more ex­ten­sive, Kap­pra said. But, Kap­pra said on Wed­nes­day that he ex­pects to come back be­fore the board in the com­ing weeks to get ap­proval for an­other roughly $40,000 for that project be­cause of a longer-than-an­tic­i­pated chiller rental pe­riod and ad­di­tional un­fore­seen re­pairs.

An­other item com­ing out of the fund bal­ance is a re­place­ment boiler for Gilpin Manor El­e­men­tary School at a cost of $24,500. But be­cause a new GMES is cur­rently be­ing built, the re­place­ment boiler will be por­ta­ble so it can be moved else­where once the old school is torn down, Wil­lis said.

The list of fund bal­ance projects also in­cludes $132,000 for a paving project at the Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Carver Ed­u­ca­tion Lead­er­ship Cen­ter, which houses the CCPS cen­tral ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fices, $52,875 for in­ter­com up­grades at Ris­ing Sun High School and Elk Neck El­e­men­tary School and $40,000 to re­place a 35-yearold trac­tor.

Prior to pulling out the roughly half a mil­lion dol­lars for those projects, CCPS had $2.21 mil­lion over the 5 per­cent re­quired by board pol­icy in its fund bal­ance. This year is the first time since 2013 that the school sys­tem’s fund bal­ance has been above that 5 per­cent cap and while that roughly $2.2 mil­lion above the cap may seem like a lot, it goes quickly, Kap­pra said on Wed­nes­day.

Kap­pra pointed out that over a pre­vi­ous pe­riod of two years, CCPS pulled roughly $7 mil­lion from that ac­count. CCPS is also try­ing to keep ex­tra money in that ac­count for an­tic­i­pated fu­ture needs, Kap­pra said, not­ing that the school sys­tem’s en­roll­ment may drop again, which would re­sult in a de­crease in some of its per pupil state fund­ing.

Dur­ing Mon­day’s meet­ing, school board pres­i­dent Dawn Branch thanked Wil­lis and Kapra for their “fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity” and “con­ser­va­tive ap­proach” in find­ing ways to get the projects done.

“We are able to ad­dress needs on this list that oth­er­wise would not be ad­dressed or fixed and the price would have con­tin­ues to es­ca­late as the years go by,” she said.


Emer­gency re­pairs to the air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem at the Ce­cil County School of Tech­nol­ogy was one rea­son CCPS had to dip into its fund bal­ance this year.

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