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POLICY (Capital Improvement Planning)

The State Department of Education should require school districts to prepare an educationally, socially, and fiscally responsible Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and budget aligned with the long-range Educational Facility Master Plan (EFMP), comprehensive municipal plans, and the district’s Comprehensive Maintenance Plans (CMP).

A Capital Improvement Program (CIP) should be based upon accurate and reliable data and information presented in an approved EFMP, comprehensive municipal plans, and the CMP. It should also be prepared with consideration given to the various competing needs and requirements of the district and the municipality. Careful implemention of the plan must distribute resources equitably within the school district to the highest priority projects with consideration being given to the condition and needs of the existing facilities and the possible socio-economic differences between and among the school attendance areas within the district.

The CIP once adopted and/or approved by the fiscal authorities, with community input and participation, should become the basis for moving forward with specific planning activities that will result in expenditures for the capital improvements. In the absence of this type of support, the plan is a just a document that has little hope or likelihood of implementation. With the support of the fiscal authories however, educational facility plans, municipal plans, and maintenance plans can be brought to completion. Capital Improvement Plans that are based upon sound and responsible plans and realistic budgets can garner wide support that will result in improved facilities to serve the community.

Although it can be politically expeditious to plan for facilities that the community cannot afford, these plans do not address the real needs and only postpone facing budget constraints and adverse community reactions and disappointment. Planning needs to be accompanied by solid estimates of the future fiscal capacity of the community and with achieveable plans to pay for the planned facilities and improvements. The CIP needs to recognize and consider the hard and soft costs of each project. This could include (but is not limited to) design fees, construction costs, inspection fees, permits, site acquisition, legal services, bond counsel and bond sale expenses, demolition costs, fees for disposing of demolished and waste materials, reasonable inflation estimates, movable furniture and equipment, and a contingency for unforseen conditions.

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