Alders To Probe School Construction Costs

The Board of Education won’t be able turn two properties on Runo Terrace into a parking lot for Quinnipiac School in Fair Haven Heights just yet, not before a full accounting of school construction costs.

That was the decision of the Board of Alders Monday night at the lawmakers’ monthly meeting.

The board voted to buy 3 and 5 Runo Terrace for $50,000 and $100,000 respectively. The transaction will be the first part of a process to create a new parking lot, play area, and bus turnaround area at Quinnipiac School.

The second step is to redesignate $525,000 of previously approved school construction capital funds to pay for the improvements. The Board of Alders didn’t approve that step Monday. They passed over the relevant agenda item.

Hill Alder Jorge Perez, president of the board, said alders want to hear an update on the current state of school construction projects. Perez said the board is “not saying there’s anything wrong,” but just wants to “dot the Is and cross the Ts.”

Alders also held up the approval because they got conflicting numbers from the Board of Ed. One list of funding sources for the Runo Terrace project shows that $152,722.04 would be re-designated from Sound School capital allocations, another lists the figure as $110,083.79.

“Who knows which is right?” Perez said.

Downtown Alder Abby Roth rose at the meeting to say that it’s important that the Board of Ed shows exactly how it plans to pay for the parking lot project.

Alders decided to move ahead with the purchase of 3 and 5 Runo Terrace because the property owners have been waiting so long for the transactions to be completed.

Hill Alder Dolores Colon rose to speak encourage the purchase approval. She said the property owners have had to deal with significant financial hardship because of how long it’s taken for the deal to go through.

Alders amended the approval of the Runo Terrace purchases to make it explicit that the Board of Ed may not proceed with the construction until it tells the Board of Alders all about school construction finances.

The amendment reads: “This approval is solely for the acquisition of the homes on 3 and 5 Runo Terrace. It shall not be construed to be permitting the use of any school construction funds from any other account for any other purchase, renovation, or construction until after the Board of Alders has received a full accounting of the status of current and past (not closed) school construction accounts and is satisfied that there shall not be any overruns in any of the accounts.”

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posted by: Noteworthy on July 8, 2014  9:53am

This is not a probe. It should be but it’s only a question and a weak one to be sure. A follow up should be why are the numbers from the NHPS always wrong? The largest city budget and the largest contribution to our extraordinary city debt, a long history of blowing budgets and hiding expenses and deficits warrants more than a question but don’t count on it .

posted by: LookOut on July 8, 2014  10:07am

well, I suppose this is a start.  At least there is some interest in finding out where all of this school construction money is going.  Maybe Stratton got some folk’s attention.

posted by: heightster70 on July 8, 2014  4:20pm

Talk about a day late and a dollar short. Now after we spent 500 million on construction they’re concerned about a $200,000. Joke!