Port board seeking funds to repair school roofs

The Port Washington Board of Education, pictured at a December meeting, says the district's budget for the 2020-21 school year may raise due to necessary repairs needed on the roofs of their schools. (Photo by Rose Weldon)

Six of the seven schools in the Port Washington School District will require funds to fix their at-risk roofs, according to members of the district’s board of education.

Trustee Dave Kerpen, a member of the Budget and Facilities Committee for the district, reported at the board’s public meeting on Tuesday that after a walk-through in which he and other committee members observed the roof of South Salem Elementary School.

“I can attest that I was concerned as I tapped my foot on the roof and actually felt it give a bit,” Kerpen said.

Kerpen later said in an interview with Blank Slate Media that six of the seven schools in the district would require repairs, except for Guggenheim Elementary School, which had its entire roof repaired three years ago.

Mary Callahan, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and also a member of the committee, said that of the 130 roof sections in the district, 15 percent were in need of replacement.

“I don’t want anyone to think that all the roofs are leaking,” Callahan said. “That is not the case and vast majority of roofs, as presented at the public meeting, have been put in place from 2004 to the present, and those that are older are the ones were are speaking of.”

Callahan said the district has several different options to procure funding for the repairs.

“We talked about the difference between the cost of bonding for a large amount of money over a 15- to 20-year period, versus trying to come up with a long-term, more moderate plan of utilizing what we refer to as our ‘transfer to capital’ line, which is part of our annual budget,” Callahan said.

Callahan added that district Director of Facilities Jim Ristaino, also a member of the committee, proposed a third option involving a new kind of material, which fellow trustee and would require a 15- to 20-year warranty.

“We’re really still investigating, and while there may be a sense of pressure to have a resolution on which direction we’re going in, unfortunately, this is a slow-moving process,” Callahan said.

“I’m very excited about taking care of this central issue once and for all, and I’m very confident that we’re going to do it well,” Kerpen said.

The Budget and Facilities Committee of the Port Washington Board of Education will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 10:00 a.m. The board of education’s regular meeting will be the same day, at 8:00 p.m.

About the author

Rose Weldon

Share this Article