Vol. 14, No.14      July 12 - 25, 2001


Repairs at Local Schools in Jeopardy


Desperately-needed repair projects in the Bronx may be put on hold due to recently- discovered overspending by the Board of Education. Cost overruns on school construction projects could reach $2.9 billion by 2004 and construction and repair projects citywide may be delayed.

The Board of Education wouldn't predict the impact on local schools. "It is way too early to tell how overruns will affect specific projects in specific districts," said board spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Ortiz did say that Schools Chancellor Harold Levy will cut down on some spending and that the Board of Education is looking at other city sources for school funding.

Projects that are already in construction, including renovations at PS 246 and PS 33 in Fordham Bedford, will not be affected, said School Construction Authority spokeswoman Debra Wetzel.

"[Those schools] wouldn't be affected by any of the budget issues because those jobs have been awarded, meaning money has already been allotted to them, and are on schedule to be completed," she said.

Instead, the Board of Education will probably be more stingy in approving new projects over the next few years. For local principals, that could mean living with decaying buildings for a few more years, and getting back in line once again for funding.

A report issued in October by Community School Board 10 includes a long wish list of capital improvements for local schools. To name a few: PS 8 needs new windows; MS 45 needs repair to its walls, roofing, windows and parapets; PS 46 and PS 56 both require roof repair; and PS/MS 95 needs exterior masonry work. All those projects add up to millions of dollars.

"I am concerned about the future and continuation of renovation projects," School Board 10 president Oliver Koppell said. "We have a number of new projects we'd like to get started on."

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