The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 8th

School Board Searches For Additional Funding

The $75 million referendum, which would allocate $19.4 million to county schools, will not be enough to fund all of the county's educational renovation and construction projects, some school officials say.

"We are going to do everything in our power to fund the three extra projects," said board member Susan Halkiotis.

Orange County Superintendent Randy Bridges said it would be up to the Orange County Board of Commissioners to decide what alternative sources need to be tapped to fund the additional projects.

"The commissioners have a countywide task force that will look for alternative funding for additional projects," Bridges said. "The final decision is up to them."

The three projects not funded in the bond referendum include renovations to Orange High School as well as renovations to the central office and support services at Hillsborough Elementary School.

But within the school system officials say there is disagreement about the allocation of some leftover bond money to the elementary school.

After the school system finances construction of a new middle school, it will have $900,000 to spare for renovations to existing facilities.

On Sept. 17 the board allocated the remaining $900,000 of the bond referendum money for renovations to the elementary school because Bridges said the elementary school deals with certain issues that the high school does not.

Officials say the $900,000 will not cover the elementary school's needs totaling $1.4 million, and thus are asking for the additional funding discussed at Monday's meeting.

But Halkiotis said she thought the allocation was disappointing to other county schools.

"Many people at the high school are disheartened about the money given to the elementary school," Halkiotis said.

Board member Keith Cook said Orange High School also needs renovations, especially to the media center and cafeteria.

"The cafeteria needs new equipment to accommodate the growing number of students, and the media center is also in need up upgrades," Cook said.

The goal for the completion of all projects is two years, but school board vice chair Dana Thompson said it will be difficult to build new schools and renovate old ones at the same time.

"(The construction schedule) aided us in requesting the bond money, and they will aid us in constructing new schools," Thompson said.

"The projections say that we must build and renovate in two years, and that is what we will do."

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