Representatives from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools on Tuesday presented their capital funding needs to the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
Steve Scroggs, Chapel Hill-Carrboro superintendent of support services, projected that CHCCS will need $136 million over the next ten years to keep up with growth in the district. Orange County Schools superintendent Shirley Carraway presented a plan that estimates OCS will need $11 million over the same time period.
According to Scroggs, growth projections for Chapel Hill and Carrboro indicate that the district will need three new elementary schools, one new middle school and an addition to Carrboro High School in the next ten years.
However, he added that in terms of maintenance, the schools are in â€œpretty good shapeâ€ and the district does â€œnot have a pressing project right now.â€
Carraway said OCS would like to focus on refurbishing existing facilities rather than building new ones.
She said that over the past several years, OCS â€œhad to put some things on the back burner that we really needed to do for our school district.â€ For example, Grady Brown Elementary, which was built with an open classroom plan, still has portable walls between its classrooms, creating safety and security issues.
In addition, several Orange County schools need fire alarm upgrades, which could cost as much as $190,000 per school.
Scroggs also highlighted the need for improved technology in the schools, pointing out that over half of the instructional computers used in Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools are more than five years old.
â€œIf we donâ€™t prepare our kids for the global marketplace, weâ€™re not doing what we need to do for kids,â€ he said.
Board Chairman Moses Carey said he would like to see some kind of a prioritization of the school systemsâ€™ needs.
The board directed budget director Donna Coffey and county manager Laura Blackmon to have a capital investment policy for the school systems ready for review by the commissionersâ€™ April 12 meeting.