Walla Walla School Board weighs leftover money from Edison bond

Money left over from the project should be used for other work in the district, the superintendent says.

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WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Rich Carter has recommended the School Board use $1.6 million left over from the recent Edison Elementary reconstruction to pay for other projects in the district.

Carter made the recommendation during a public work session this morning. The School Board took no action today, but will vote on the recommendation during its June 1 board meeting.

In 2007, Walla Walla residents approved a $19.5 million bond to rebuild Edison Elementary. The facility was completed in 2009 and opened for the start of the current school year. The district reports that language in the bond measure included a provision to allow the use of any excess funds to cover other necessary capital projects within the district.

Carter said the $1.6 million was saved through a series of factors: The global recession pushed down the cost of labor and supplies. Tight architectural design and management of the project also meant few changes throughout the course of the project, he said.

Carter suggested the money be used to cover facilities needs within the district. Those could include covering the cost of radon mitigation at Blue Ridge Elementary; making telecommunication improvements at Green Park Elementary, Berney Elementary and Pioneer and Garrison middle schools; making energy and air quality improvements that might also generate state grant money; and other capital improvements to enhance education and improve student safety.

District spokesman Mark Higgins said three people who attended the work session this morning voiced support for putting the money back in the district. One parent asked the money go to making improvements at Lincoln Alternative High.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

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