Upgrading CCES playground estimated to cost $132,000
Modernizing the playgrounds at Charles City Elementary School is expected to cost just over $132,000 based on figures presented earlier in January to county School Board members.
“The existing playground equipment is outdated. It has chipped paint and rust is forming on the legs,” elementary school principal Danielle Belton told board members during their Jan. 15 meeting.
Belton presented equipment replacement proposals for separate playground areas that serve students in pre-kindergarten through first grade and grades 2-5. Cost for new equipment appropriate for younger children is pegged at $58,768 while equipment for grades 2-5 has a slightly lower $55,450 price tag.
The overall cost of $132,218 includes $7,500 for old equipment removal, another $7,500 for new equipment construction, and $3,000 for a mulch layer covering the ground.
Belton said the school’s Parent-Teacher Association has formed a committee to work on the playground project. The group is soliciting donations, and so far, $2,675 has been collected. Money-raising events are being scheduled for spring, she said.
The effort, meanwhile, received a boost from Charles City Community Church. During the meeting’s public comment session, the church’s pastor, the Rev. Charlotte Harris, offered a $1,000 donation along with volunteer labor to dismantle the existing playground equipment.
In other matters, board members learned that money coming from the state for the next school year’s budget is projected at $5,755,522. The figure is $791,369 above the current year’s state donation, school superintendent Janet Crawley told the board.
A final figure, however, won’t be known until the General Assembly agrees on a state budget for the next fiscal, and that could be several weeks away, Crawley said.
State contributions to localities are based on student enrollment. Next year’s projected amount for Charles City reflects an estimated student population of 870. Current enrollment in Charles City schools is 867, Crawley said.
“Projections are just that — projections,” Crawley told board members. “The General Assembly will determine what funding goes forth.”
A projection on how much county money schools could receive from Charles City’s Board of Supervisors has yet to be determined, but Crawley told the board not to expect an increase. She warned members that the county figure could ultimately turn out to be lower than the current year’s amount.
Crawley is scheduled to present a draft budget to the board during the group’s Feb. 5 work session. A public hearing is set for Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. in the middle school library.
Also, the board learned that county schools are participating in a regional effort with other Richmond-area schools to address the needs of children diagnosed with autism.
The regional consortium is designed to enhance professional development for staff in dealing with autistic children, county special education director Tina Smith told the board.
Smith said three Charles City children carry the diagnosis, and their needs, currently, are being met. Four other children, however, are exhibiting symptoms of the disorder, she added. If those four are diagnosed, county schools could be faced with budgeting for a separate classroom for autistic kids, she said.
The board, meanwhile, held its annual reorganization, electing Barbara Crawley as chairman and Roy Campbell as vice-chairman. Curtis Finney was named clerk, and Janet Crawley retained the post of deputy clerk.