published Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Cleveland, Tenn., school board takes a look at maintenance priorities

Earl Reid steps from a maintenance vehicle Tuesday at Cleveland High School. The Cleveland, Tenn., school maintenance department is currently using retro-fitted school buses as maintenance vehicles.
Earl Reid steps from a maintenance vehicle Tuesday at Cleveland High School. The Cleveland, Tenn., school maintenance department is currently using retro-fitted school buses as maintenance vehicles.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
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SCHOOLS NEEDS

* Three maintenance vehicles

* High school Little Theater renovation

* New high school HVAC units

** Painting schedule for schools

Source: Cleveland Board of Education

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — City school board members and school principals are taking a new look at their facility needs.

Meeting Tuesday night, the board placed the purchase of three maintenance crew vehicles at the top of its list, replacing earlier needs that have been handled.

After the vehicles, the new list includes renovation of Cleveland High School’s Little Theater, new heating, ventilation and air conditioning units for the high school’s east wing and initiating a school painting schedule.

Bob True, school maintenance and transportation director, said maintenance crew vehicles — retrofitted, used school buses — are costing more to keep on the road now than buying new or newer used vehicles.

The list still is subject to change at the November school board meeting. Before then, the school system will seek cost estimates.

“We understand the needs but also that there are only so many ways you can cut the pie,” board member Murl Dirksen said.

Martin Ringstaff, now into his fourth month as director of schools, noted the long-range priority list has no cost estimates.

“I’ve never done a budget with no budget numbers,” he said.

The board and principals reviewed a detailed list of dozens of needs at each school, but they said sales tax revenue for the year, estimated at $745,000 with more than half already committed to debt payments, can be stretched just so far.

Each principal brought a separate list of needs to the table.

Carolyn Ingram, principal at Donald P. Yates Primary School, said the school is going into its 19th year now with no work, not even painting, done since it opened.

Ringstaff suggested an annual school systemwide painting rotation.

“That really is not the job of PTOs,” he said.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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