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Riverhead BOE to spend $106K in repair reserves

The Riverhead Board of Education on voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $106,664 from its repair reserve on two projects in the district. 

The first is to replace the stage floor in the high school auditorium, which Superintendent Aurelia Henriquez said has cracks, divots and gouge. That project will cost just over $63,000.

The second project is to replace the existing public address system at Aquebogue Elementary school, which deputy superintendent Sam Schneider described as “muffled.” 

“If you’ve ever been there for announcements, it’s hard to understand,” he said. “The system is old, so it is hard to obtain parts and when needed to make emergency announcements, it is extremely cumbersome.”

This project is estimated at just over $43,000.

Work on both projects would occur over the summer, Mr. Schneider said. 

Before approving the expenditure, the board held a public hearing on the proposal. No one in the audience commented on either project. 

“The administration identifies projects that would be in the district’s best interest to pursue,” Mr. Schneider said. “The board schedules a public hearing on those projects and then the board votes to appropriate money out of the repair reserve for those projects.” 

The repair reserve was authorized by voters in May 2017 to fund up to $7.5 million in repair work throughout the district, Dr. Henriquez said. It is similar to a savings account and is funded through unused monies left over at the end of each school year. 

The board also voted to appropriate up to $5,715,198.97 into the repair reserve at Tuesday’s meeting. 

That money came from surpluses in numerous funds, including the Unemployment Insurance Reserve Fund, Employee Benefit Accrued Liability Reserve and the Workers Compensation Reserve. 

Before these transfers, the repair reserve had $451,749.12 remaining, Dr. Henriquez said. 

The board also voted to move $400,000 into the Cafeteria Capital Reserve Fund, which was established last month after receiving 68 percent voter approval. 

Funds from the repair reserves can be used to restore facilities and equipment in the district that have deteriorated, weathered or become broken, torn or inoperable, Dr. Henriquez said. 

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Photo caption:  Aquebogue Elementary school will get a new public address system as part of the repairs. (File photo)