The Norton School Committee voted 5-0 to submit a warrant article to the spring town meeting that would allow nearly $100K to be put back into the High School renovation project that broke ground in March.
The money, $93,000, was originally part of the preparation in 2010 in a budgeted $600,000 feasibility study. School finance director Barry Nectow said that, while the original feasibility study was budgeted into the $34 million renovation project, as it stand the funds would go directly back to the town. He said that while it is not necessarily a bad thing, having contingency money for the project as it moves forward is a good idea.
“It will be used on whatever comes up that’s unanticipated or unplanned,” Nectow said. “It’s basically reserve money… This is the third time we vote this amount of money, but that’s what the town council wants us to do.”
School committee chair Andrew Mackie said that giving the money back to the town could be seen a benefit and sign of responsibility of the school system.
“From my point of view I’d love to return the money to the town and say we came under budget,” he said. “Looking to the future of the school and future projects, it would help along the way to instill confidence that we’re using the money responsibly.”
Mackie did say that he did not feel strongly about either decision, and that having more money (that wasn’t previously budgeted for contingency purposes) in the project’s budget could help in the future.
“There’s only $300,000 left in the contingency for a $34 million project...that’s not a lot,” he said. “I’d feel a lot better if they had that cushion to be able to work with.”