Marlboro considering district-wide repairs

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 5/17/23

In 2020 the Marlboro School District established a Repair Reserve Fund with $521,312 they received from the resolution of the Dynegy power plant issue.  


Last week the …

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Marlboro considering district-wide repairs

In 2020 the Marlboro School District established a Repair Reserve Fund with $521,312 they received from the resolution of the Dynegy power plant issue.  
Last week the school board held a public hearing on this Fund, with Rosanne Mele, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Personnel, giving a presentation of items in need of repair or replacement that are being considered by the district. She noted that the funds were recently transferred from the district’s Capital Reserves to the Repair Reserve Fund that will allow the district to utilize the money for some much needed repairs.
Mele said the district, “has yet to tap into those funds [but] this year we put together a pretty expansive list of things that we want to address in our district to make sure that we keep up with our stellar buildings and facilities.”
Mele highlighted the targeted items as well as the estimated costs: Stair and Sidewalk repairs throughout the district for $125,000; fixing the Brick Facade at the middle school for $90,000; fix/repair the collapsing Curtain Drain at the high school for $100,000; resurfacing the tennis courts at the high school for $48,000 and some bleacher replacement at the high school, especially by the softball fields, for $133,000 for a total of $496,000.
Mele stressed that the money for these items is separate from the school budget and was not collected from taxpayers but is from the Dynegy settlement. She said the next step is for the school board to adopt a resolution that will allow the district to use the money for these items. The funds are projected to become available after July 1, 2023.
Board member James Mullen sought clarification, recalling that last year the board voted to repair the brick facade at the Middle School and to resurface the tennis courts but asked if it is now part of the budget.
Mele said although these and other proposed items were not worked on during the 2022-23 school year, there was consideration given to tapping the Fund Balance to pay for these items but, instead, by using the Dynegy money the Fund Balance remains intact.   
Board member Frank Milazzo said the Finance Committee determined that these items can be paid for using the Dynegy money.
“These are the only things we can spend these funds on, and it’s been kicking around for a very long time. There is needed work that has to happen, and this is a way to spend it down and get it off the books and not cost the taxpayers for any of the needed repairs,” he said.
Milazzo pointed out that the board’s vote last year to use Fund Balance money for this work took place after the budget vote.
“It was improper. It’s either got to be part of the regular budget that’s approved by the voters or do a public hearing to use specialized money for this,” he said.
Superintendent Michael Rydell said planning to fix the brick facade at the middle school began last fall.
“It was at that point when I was looking at all the different items, and where this was coming from that it was identified that the vote at the board level may have come on July 6 [2022].” he said.
Board member John Cantone said, “Bottom line, the repairs were supposed to be done last year and the funds [from Dynegy] were sitting there for several years, and we’re doing this hearing so we can spend this for that specific purpose.”
Superintendent Rydell echoed Milazzo’s comments, saying that the identified items meet the criteria for this funding.
“It makes perfect sense from an economic standpoint as well as the requirement to do it this way,” he said.