BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It’s been a long wait, but improvements are on the way for the Barker School District’s buildings.
Superintendent Roger Klatt said Wednesday work for a $3 million capital project is expected to start in the summer. Residents approved the project in the May 2011 budget vote.
Under state law, districts have five years from the date of a vote to complete a capital project.
Klatt said Barker was unable to line up roof contractors during the summer of 2012. And summer is the best time to replace or repair school roof.
“A lot were booked, so we moved it to this summer,” Klatt said.
The $3 million project would deal with repairs to the elementary school roof and the pool, as well as other upgrades to bathrooms, fire alarms, heating, ventilation and cooling. The project will be paid for from a capital reserve, meaning the district would not have to borrow anything or incur debt to pay for it.
All of the work is expected to take place in the summer. Klatt said the pool would be shut down May 1, affecting some Barker community programs. The senior citizens swim program would likely be delayed but the swim portion of the recreation program would likely be canceled.
In other district news, Klatt said a proposed tax levy for the Barker Free Library is expected to come before the Board of Education at its Feb. 11 meeting.
Attorneys are ensuring the process is being followed and reviewing the levy proposal, Klatt said. The move is in order to find more reliable funding for the Barker Free Library.
Fighting rising costs and dwindling revenue, the library is looking for a way to stabilize funding, instead of just relying on what municipalities can spare. Currently, the library receives money from the Towns of Somerset and Hartland, as well as the school district and Village of Barker.
A levy would give the library stable funding, officials said, enough to ween it off heavy reserve usage. There is about $5,000 left in the library’s reserves, down from $25,000 a few years ago. The 2013 budget calls for using $4,000 of what’s left in reserves.
Once everything checks out, the Barker Board of Education will decide when to hold the vote, likely on May 21, the day of the annual school district budget vote or something close to it.
Picking a date is the only thing the Barker district is responsible for in a library tax levy vote, according to state law. Promotion and informational meetings are the library’s responsibility.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.