School Board Notes: Kitchen renovations to cost an additional $70,000

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney at Wednesday night's meeting.

After several previously approved contracts to renovate kitchens at district elementary schools ran over its original estimate, the Riverhead Board of Education approved changes that will allow the job to be completed at a cost of an additional $70,000.

Superintendent Nancy Carney said the increases are due to the cost of new equipment required for the upgrades.

Board member Jeff Falisi questioned the increases, which increased by more than half the original estimate at Phillips Avenue School and rose by a third at Riley Avenue School, saying he was concerned that the district was so far off with their previous estimates.

“Obviously it’s for the kids, and we want them to have it. It just seems like a poor job of budgeting and proposing the original,” he said.

Expenses at Phillips Avenue rose from $45,000 to $70,000. Renovations at Riley Avenue were previously expected to cost $65,000, but will actually cost $89,240.

Ms. Carney said the process was started before her administration began and that the new equipment was necessary to “ensure that we had exactly what we need.” The vote passed unanimously 4-0.

Funds for the renovations are coming out of the capital reserve, a $10 million fund approved by residents in 2006. The kitchen renovations should be complete by September.

• The board also approved a lease for the Tuthills Lane property in Riverhead to DeLea Sod Farms for $450 a month. The contract can be terminated at any time should the school decide to sell the land or choose to preserve it.

• The board approved a contract for PaySchools, a payment system recommended by the New York State School Boards Association that allows parents to pay school fees, such as tickets for school functions, online. The school board decided to assign a “convenience fee” to each transaction to cover the cost of the program. The system will be in place for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year.