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Board approves article for roof.

Byline: Betty Lilyestrom

LEICESTER - Selectmen last night gave the go-ahead to the School Department's proposed town meeting article seeking replacement of the Primary School roof, but withheld action on two other article requests for schools because they aren't sure whether seeking the money through special articles is the best way to go.

The passage of the school roof article came with the proviso that it is subject to approval of the state School Building Assistance agency for its share of the project's cost. SBA officials have said that their agency will be responsible for at least 59 percent of the cost.

A decision on the SBA's approval is expected shortly after bids on the project are opened at the end of this month.

The two school articles on which selectmen withheld action were one seeking roughly $150,000 for deferred maintenance projects for the schools and another asking for $274,000 to upgrade technology equipment and purchase curriculum support materials.

School Committee members said their proposed fiscal 2009 budget contains more than $77,000 in maintenance funds, but the additional money is needed to pay for deferred maintenance.

Selectman Richard Antanavica wanted to know if the $77,000 were taken out of the department's budget and added to the money requested in the article would reduce the maintenance money needed in future budgets. He also questioned whether the school department could be held responsible for making back the money in the article over the period of the loan. The issue was left for further discussion.

Selectmen were also concerned about why so much money was being sought in the technology article and whether the equipment could be purchased over the course of several years, instead of all at once.

School Committee member Mark E. Armington said that the technology industry is changing so rapidly that a computer system is outdated after about three years.

The annual town meeting is scheduled for May 5, but some selectmen have indicated that if all the material needed is not available in time, they might consider a postponement, possibly until the first week in June.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 11, 2008
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