School board to learn about projects

JOHNSTOWN – Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Robert DeLilli on Tuesday night urged Board of Education members to closely scrutinize proposed capital projects due to be made public by the district’s architect July 17.

The Board of Education will conduct a special meeting with consulting firm CS Arch of Albany at 6 p.m. that night at Johnstown High School.

“Our task is to look at what they came up with,” DeLilli told the board Tuesday night at JHS.

The district hired CS Arch to review the district’s buildings and facilities and come up with a list of proposed capital projects. The district may put the final list to the public for a referendum in the fall.

The district does not yet know how much the project will cost, but it is expected to be in the millions of dollars. Capital projects could be 90 percent to 95 percent funded by state aid. Capital projects must be approved by the state Education Department. The district’s last major capital project took place in the mid- to late 2000s.

DeLilli said CS Arch has been busy for months, getting numbers together to present a “scope of work” to the board July 17. He urged board members to get their “red pens” out and scrutinize the proposed capital plan.

The district has been saying the capital plan will look at health and safety issues, but DeLilli said CS Arch is also looking at possible technology components of the district.

Among the committees named at the session was the Facilities Committee of Kathryn Zajicek, Kathy Dougherty and Scott Miller. Board President Paul VanDenburgh said that panel will meet regularly to discuss the upcoming capital project.

“We need to have a very strong Facilities Committee,” he said.

UPK funding

Elsewhere in his superintendent’s report, DeLilli spoke about the state’s intention to provide $40 million for school districts outside of New York City for universal pre-kindergarten. The state says funding will be available as soon as localities can make classes available, but DeLilli said it will be tough.

“The hoops are ridiculously convoluted,” DeLilli said.

He said the program could cost $400,000 to run and a local share is required. He said the funding is only for five years.

District Director of Curriculum, Testing and Personnel Patricia Kilburn said district children in the half-day pre-K are doing well.

“Our kids are making great progress,” she said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.