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Services Building Supported But Cda School Board Delays Vote For Two Weeks

A proposed support services building, to be paid for without new taxes, is an even better deal than expected for the Coeur d’Alene School District.

That’s what school board members seemed to conclude Monday night. However, they put off voting on the project until Nov. 25 so the public could be brought up to date.

The idea is to pay for the $1.5 million building out of savings realized by consolidating bus, administration, workshop and warehouse space.

Buying supplies in bulk, which would be possible with better storage space, would alone save $29,093 a year, administrators said.

But even some project supporters have been concerned that the school district didn’t do its homework. Would energy savings really be that great? How much money could the district really get by selling its existing bus barn property?

“Since that meeting, we’ve been very busy essentially going over all the ground we’d done before,” said financial officer Dave Teater. “The numbers we’re hearing are even stronger than before.”

Revised figures presented to the board Monday include:

The new building would save the district $95,426 a year, up from last month’s estimate of $92,149. Either amount would more than cover the $87,572 annual bond payment.

The district would also save $33,375 in the first year of owning the new building because it wouldn’t have to pay for maintenance to the existing support buildings.

The estimated construction cost increased by $100,000 to $1.5 million in order to pay for a steel-frame building. A number of people had objected to the cheaper but less durable pole-frame construction originally planned.

To go ahead with the project, the board would take the unusual step of asking a judge to declare it an “ordinary and necessary” expense.

A public vote is not needed, as is the case with the bond and levy elections commonly used to raise money for school buildings.

But some district residents are suspicious of judicial validation. School board members decided they wanted more time to explain the project before voting whether to proceed.

“It isn’t going to cost the taxpayers any new money,” said board member Edie Brooks. “That’s the hardest part to get across to people.”

, DataTimes

Tags: finance