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CAROLINE CROSSROADS Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
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BOS approve $10.5 million for school renovation

The Caroline County Board of Supervisors voted 4-2 to add $1.5 million to the Bowling Green Primary School renovation, bringing the total funds available for the project to $10. 5 million.

But that’s still $300,000 short of the $10.8 million needed to complete the two-phase project.

“$10. 5 is the number and that’s what I’m willing to support,” Board chairman Wayne Acors told members of the school board during a joint worksession Tuesday night. “The other $300,000 that is needed to complete the project has to come from some other means.”

Acors suggested the school board use whatever remaining funds they have left in their budget at the end of the fiscal year.

Supervisors Jeff Black and Jeff Sili voted not in favor of the $10.5 million.

“I just want to see [the students] have a good school,” Black said. “If we have to kick in the $10.8 then we kick in the $10.8 and get it over with.”

But where will the money come from?, asked Supervisor Calvin Taylor.

“I’m an educator and I want this school, but we have to figure out how to pay for it?,” he said.

Supervisor Reggie Underwood said he wants the school too, but would not vote for a tax increase in order to do so and suggested both boards start to really tighten their belts when it comes to spending.

This angered parents who spoke out in favor of complete funding for the project.

“To see an extra penny [on my tax bill] will not keep me up at night,” said Bowling Green parent Linnea Woolridge. “By not spending an extra $300.000, you’re cheating our children over a penny.”

Emotions ran so high for one mother that she had to be escorted out of the building by a sheriff’s deputy for yelling at and threatening to have board members voted out.

“The children of this county deserve a whole lot more than what you’re doing,” Lynda Keath managed to say before being told to leave.

The School Board had $9 million for the project, but the lowest bid came in at $12 million–with an additional $500,000 needed to pay for consulting fees.

The supervisors borrowed $3 million last year–adding about 2 cents to the real-estate tax rate for the next 20 years–to contribute to the renovation.

The other $6 million is federal funds in the form of low-interest bonds from the Virginia Department of Education as part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The federal stimulus provides funding for consolidating school projects, facilities more than 35 years old and projects in economically stressed areas.

The project is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2013.

In other board news:

The board unanimously voted to reduce spending by 5 percent in ther General, Utility and Dawn Wastewater funds.

The board voted 4-2 to increase the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) value, which is used to calculate personal property tax bills on vehicles from 50 percent of assessed value to 65 percent. This is expected to generate an extra $984,873 in revenue and would help balance the 2012/13 fiscal year budget.

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