School Repairs Surviving The Budget Ax

Posted: July 02, 1989

Despite $21 million in capital budget cuts, officials expect repairs on several Northeast schools to continue on schedule.

"I don't see anything of major significance that is being deferred in District 8 or District 7 . . . because of the cutbacks," Albert Glassman, associate superintendent for facilities management and services, said last week.

Glassman said most of the savings out of a proposed capital budget of $79 million for the 1989-90 school year came from postponing some construction projects.

"The major deferrals were in large-scale construction projects - none of which are scheduled for District 8 or District 7," he said.

Some schools, however, will find their capital budget requests - considered lower priorities - deferred to the following year, Glassman said.

Both Northeast High School at Cottman and Algon Avenues and George Washington High School at Bustleton Avenue and Verree Road will not get new science labs this year. The district cut in half a list of schools scheduled for new labs citywide, he said.

Projects that Glassman said he expected to begin this school year include these:

* Replacing roofs on some high-priority Northeast schools, including the J.H. Brown Elementary School at Frankford Avenue and Stanwood Street.

* Installing new windows at Frankford High School at Oxford Avenue and Wakeling Street; Franklin Smedley Elementary School at Bridge and Mulberry Streets; and Edwin Forrest Elementary School at Cottage Street and Bleigh Avenue.

* Put in new boilers at Mayfair Elementary School at Princeton Avenue and Hawthorne Street.

"These are our expectations," Glassman said repeatedly. "These are proposed projects."

He also pointed out that the Board of Education must approve each project during the course of the fiscal year.

Earlier this year, Glassman told the board that it would take $327 million over the next six years to make all the repairs needed on the district's 400 school buildings. Budget crises in the 1970s left many buildings neglected.

When the district failed to receive increased tax revenue to support its budget, the capital budget was cut by $21 million, from $79 million to $58 million. The cuts also will save the district money in interest costs and payments on principal.

Edmund Forte, District 7 superintendent, said he was unaware of the status of specific projects. "I haven't seen the cut list," he said.

Forte said none of his Northeast schools had serious maintenance needs.

Sydney Douse, a District 8 administrative assistant, declined to discuss capital budget requests for his schools.

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