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School Board finalizes bond referendum wish list
Kate Acuff, Albemarle County School Board - Feb 2, 2016
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Albemarle School Board Chairwoman Kate Acuff.
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Aaron Richardson | Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 9:09 p.m.

The Albemarle School Board on Thursday voted 6-0 to approve a letter to the county Board of Supervisors outlining $35.5 million in projects slated for a potential November bond referendum.

Board member Jason Buyaki did not attend the meeting.

The list of projects includes a $15 million addition to Woodbrook Elementary and $500,000 to study increasing capacity at Albemarle High School or building a new high school entirely.

Board member Graham Paige said he supports the letter, but asked if staff could use stronger wording.

“Right now, it is sort of bland, and maybe if it was a little bit more spicy it might make it a little more urgent,” he said.

The board also unanimously passed a letter to the developer of the Brookhill subdivision accepting his offer of two school sites as part of the project’s proffers. The proffers are part of a rezoning request, which is subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Alan Taylor, of Riverbend Development, offered a seven-acre site within the development for an elementary school and a 61-acre site outside the development for a potential future high school.

“It’s clearly in [the supervisors’] bailiwick, their responsibility, to consider land use,” board member Steve Koleszar said. “I do not pretend to tell them whether they should or should not approve this, but if we were to get this, I think it would be an excellent elementary school site.”

Division officials said last week that the sites will allow the schools to develop a plan to deal with overcrowding at Albemarle High and in northern feeder pattern elementary schools.

Both measures passed with little discussion except endorsements from board members.

“We haven’t had a new school built since 2002, but we have added 1,100 students since that time,” said board Chairwoman Kate Acuff. “We don’t have the capacity, which is driving some of our request, but we also need modernizing.”

The list for the referendum includes $10.9 million to modernize classrooms across the division; $6 million to add three science classrooms and modernize another seven at Western Albemarle High School; and $2.9 million for security improvements at Baker-Butler Elementary, Scottsville Elementary, Henley Middle and Murray High.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a work session on the bond referendum during its regular meeting May 4.

School Board member Jonno Alcaro said more than 15 years have passed since there was a widespread modernization of classrooms.

“We need to do that same work again … to create that capacity to leave that in place for these students and for future students,” he said.

 

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