State College

State College Area School District set to move some offices

Plans to move State College Area School District offices out of the College Heights building advanced Monday.

At their regular meeting, the district’s board of directors unanimously voted to advertise for construction bids on renovation to the old Panorama Village Elementary School in College Township.

The district proposes to move its print shop functions and curriculum offices, both now in the College Heights building in State College, to the Panorama building’s former kitchen area and library, respectively.

Ed Poprik, director of the district’s office of physical plant, told board members that he was seeking permission to go to bid within two weeks “so we get this project rolling.”

“This action is to allow us to dispense some limited funds to advertise and bid the project,” he said.

The total cost of the renovation is estimated at $1.5 million, and will be funded from the district’s capital reserve.

A portion of the project, focused on parking lot renovation and estimated to cost $457,000, already has been funded, approved for bid and included in the district’s list of routine summer projects.

Poprik noted that the project, when completed, will make the Panorama building completely handicapped-accessible and bring it up to code. Bathrooms also will be renovated to accomodate adults.

The building’s exterior will not change dramatically, other than modifications to the entrance, Poprik said.

“The footprint will remain the same,” he said.

Board member Ann McGlaughlin asked about potential security systems for the renovated building. Poprik replied that the district doesn’t typically include measures such as buzz-in systems in the construction bid, and that they’re funded and added separately.

In other business, the board heard a presentation about revisions to this year’s budget and to the proposed spending blueprint for next year.

Assistant Business Administrator Donna Watson said that, based on new information, the district estimates that it will have $1.4 million more in revenue from earlier projections for the 2013-14 budget.

The district also projects a $250,000 decrease in health insurance expense, bringing its total expense increase to about $1.3 million, and a net change in fund balance of $101,050.

For the proposed final budget for 2014-15, Watson said, the district now estimates it will have a total revenue increase of $770,000. With another $250,000 decrease in health insurance expenses factored in, the total expense increase will be $810,900, leaving a net decrease in the fund balance of $41,120.

In addition, the district will increase its capital reserve fund contribution by about $1.6 million in 2013-14 and then by $765,280 in 2014-15, for a total transfer next year of about $5.4 million to the fund to pay for future building projects.

As of July 30, the capital reserve is projected to have $14.8 million. Overall, the district projects about $50.7 million in transfers from the general fund to capital reserve fund.

On May 5, the board adopted a proposed final 2014-15 budget with a 1.95 percent real estate tax increase, within the Act 1 index of 2.1 percent, the inflation-based state tax increase limit for the district set by law.

The final budget will be presented for adoption at the board’s next meeting June 23, a week before the state deadline.