RIPLEY - Ripley Central School Board of Education approved plans at its regular February meeting to go ahead with plans to repair and upgrade its facilities.
Board President Robert Bentley discussed various aspects of the project. Phase one focuses on maintenance and safety, including a new roof, entrance and sidewalk improvements, replacing a 1968 boiler and upgrading the telephone system. Phase two will focus on improvements that directly impact the students, including computer labs, a refurbished library and expanding the summer program, he said.
The board approved the initial cost of $14,000 to investigate the district's options in the reconstruction. The price includes fees from Sandberg Kessler Architecture and Engineering.
Bentley had presented the idea of a reconstruction project at the board's January meeting. In particular, he stressed the need for a new roof over the west hallway and the gymnasium where several leaks have occurred.
At that meeting, Ripley superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby asked the board for support to begin looking into the feasibility of such a project. She said there could be up to $2.9 million in EXCEL funds that could be used for the project if it qualifies. EXCEL (Expanding our Children's Education and Learning) funds come from a statewide project to improve the educational environment in New York Schools. Projects must fall into one or more of the following criteria to qualifty - education technology, health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity/school expansion or energy (conservation) construction.
Ormsby said she received an e-mail from the state department of education noting that these EXCEL funds were available to Ripley, but were not guaranteed to be available permanently.
In other business, Ormsby said that the school would make up three additional snow days that were used in January. The days were made up by converting March 14 and May 12 from two half-days to full-days and by changing March 21 from a staff development day to a student day.
The board also approved a motion approving a minimum wage of $8 which follows state and federal requirements. The motion also approved allowing the district to keep pace with any future changes.