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Budget amendment appropriated

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors adopted and appropriated the amended budget to include $3,286,000 following a public hearing held Tuesday.

While no members of the public spoke, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Gary Walker said “for those of you who may not remember at our last board meeting, we voted to appropriate $3,286,000 to the school system to upgrade facilities.”

He said those funds needed to be added to the budget.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisor Kay Pierantoni said she thought the figure was 3.2 million.

“We’ve already said we’re going to do it, now we need to make it official and put it in the budget,” said Red House/ Cullen Supervisor Dr. Nancy Carwile.

“I understood we were approving a $3.2 million project,” said Pierantoni. “I also understood from earlier conversations that the school board was going to put some of the money towards that … they were going to have left over funds of $500,000 …”

Pierantoni said during budget workshops with the school board, a $3 million figure was first discussed, however, was later increased to $3.2 million due to the increasing cost of steel prices.

“At that budget workshop they were going to end the year with $500,000 and some of that was going to go towards facilities,” said Pierantoni. “Are we paying for the whole thing?” she asked. Walker said it was voted on at the last meeting of the supervisors to amend the budget to give the school system money for the facility upgrades.

“How they spend the $500,000 is a different question,” said Walker. “It may be spent on facilities, but to my understanding it may have been spent on health insurance …”

“I live and learn,” said Pierantoni.

At a June meeting of the Supervisors, they also approved to allow the School Board to post a PPEA (Public Private Education Act) Proposal up to $6 million, including all renovations to bring a 15 year life expectancy on the buildings.

“At the request of the Board of Supervisors, we comprised a committee of stakeholders and experts to be able to look at what could be needed for Bacon and Phenix above the $3.2 million original scope of the PPEA project,” said Superintendent of Charlotte County Schools Dr. Nancy Leonard at that time.

According to a May PPEA proposal provided by Jamerson- Lewis Construction, PPEA “allows private sector to present unsolicited construction proposals to the public sector if a capital improvement is identified.”

Previously, the proposal included a fixed price identified at $3.2 to include the addition of a 6,000 square foot multipurpose facility at both Bacon District and Phenix Schools and the addition of eight classrooms at Phenix, which would replace mobile classroom units.

Leonard said the focus was on security and accessibility, at which the entire team met at the two schools to do a walk through.

“The scope of parameters of what we were looking for was what we could do to improve accessibility and security of our schools that would go beyond the $3.2 million but reach a $6 million cap,” Leonard said in June.