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Akron budget panel hears speakers on district's transportation, debts

The Central Budget Advisory Committee for the Akron Central Schools had its first session Wednesday, attending a Board of Education meeting where presentations were made on the school district's transportation and debts and obligations budgets.

The roughly 30-member committee includes school administrators and faculty, members of the School Board and representatives of Akron and Newstead government and civic and business organizations.

The committee will hold about five meetings between now and late March working on preparation of the budget for the 2011-12 school year. Members also will attend a public hearing on the budget May 10, preceding the board's annual meeting and budget vote on May 17.

Business administrator/treasurer Cynthia Tretter said the administrative team is working on three possible scenarios -- "low, middle and high" -- in trying to forecast what the state aid picture will look like. She said that by Feb. 16, school districts will probably have an idea of what "the potential cuts will be."

She advised committee members to remember that budget presentations by various departments and school administrators "are requests for resources without any cuts."

In other business, the board learned from representatives of LP Ciminelli and Wendel Duchscherer, project managers and architects, respectively, on the capital project, that they negotiated a contractor's claim for another $71,000 in payment for paneling work in the high school foyer down to $4,600.

The representatives also assured the board that a problem with the heating and ventilation system should be solved soon. The problem, which has resulted in uneven temperatures in parts of the school complex, was termed one of "debugging, not a failure of equipment." Part of the problem has been traced to a mislabeling of supply and return pipes installed during earlier building projects.

The board also heard an impassioned plea from Mary Borden, a high school math teacher, to not appoint an outside consultant to advise on the district's strategic plan. The board has the matter under consideration.

"We don't need a coach," said Borden, who said she has been associated with the district's long-range planning for about 35 years.

Pointing to a row of administrators, she said, "These are all the coaches we need."

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