Board defers replacement school

Published 12:08 am Saturday, October 16, 2010

It will be at least another year before the replacement building for Robertson and Southwestern elementary schools is built.

At the School Board meeting on Thursday, interim Superintendent Deran Whitney told board members the $1.4 million dollars in the 2010-11 budget to build the school was transferred to the 2011-12 school budget.

The money was set aside by the Suffolk City Council for early expenses associated with the school, such as site acquisition and design, but it was recalled in September to fund a roadway project.

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About $15.5 million had already been allocated to the Nansemond Parkway widening project. About $2.3 million more was needed to make it a reality. Money also was taken from the Kings Highway Bridge project and other sources.

The Nansemond Parkway project eventually will make the road a wider, divided highway from its intersection with Commonwealth Railway on the west and Interstate 664 on the east.

Depending on how much the project winds up costing, some of the money could return to its intended project. With construction costs at risk of rising and other projects stalemated, City Council wanted to get a project done.

When asked if the move would impact when the school would be built, Whitney said it would take a year to build the school anyway.

In other business at Thursday’s board meeting, the schools’ grading scale was a cause for discussion.

A committee was formed to examine the current seven-point scale and the pros and cons of adopting a 10-point scale instead.

Board member and committee chairman Michael Debranski said the committee should have a proposal by the board’s December meeting that could be put into action by July 1, 2011.

The board also instructed Whitney to craft a plan to identify middle school aged students who are at risk of dropping out of school later.