Warren County schools to use unspent funds on projects

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County Public Schools can use money it didn’t spend last year to cover a few major projects.

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve a request by the school system to return $443,116 of its fiscal 2016 budget surplus of $886,232. The School Board intends to spend the amount as follows:

• $161,116 appropriated to the fiscal 2018 budget for instructional supplies
• $10,000 for upgrades to the division website
• $272,000 for capital improvement projects

The School Board agreed at its March 15 meeting to ask for the $443,116 from the surplus, Superintendent L. Greg Drescher states in a letter to County Administrator Doug Stanley. The School Board agreed to appropriate $171,116 to the fiscal 2018 budget with $161,116 earmarked for instructional supplies to partially offset the 20-percent reduction in funding caused by a revenue shortfall in the current budget. The division needs the $10,000 to cover the cost of making all school websites compliant with the findings in a recent federal Office for Civil Rights complaint. Details about the complaint were not available from the school division Wednesday.

The School Board asked that the county appropriate the remaining $272,000 to the Capital Improvement Fund to cover one-time expenses, specifically six approved projects at various facilities.

Supervisors also approved the transfer of the remaining $434,116 to the Special Projects Fund for the Ressie Jeffries Elementary School improvement project.

Also at the Tuesday meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with the Front Royal Warren County Economic Development Authority to administer a portion of the U.S. 340-522 Vertical Alignment Project. Supervisors also entered into a related agreement with Crooked Run North LLC obligating the developer to provide the required 50 percent matching funds to cover the cost of engineering and construction of the project.

Supervisors in 2012 approved a resolution requesting cost sharing funds totaling $2.02 million to complete the U.S. 340-522 Vertical Alignment Project. Marlow and Silek Investments, developers of a 7.62-acre property on the west side of U.S. 340-522, submitted the project approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in 2013. The Virginia Department of Transportation initially planned to administer the project. Crook Run North owns an adjacent 2.27-acre parcel and site for the proposed Royal Farms convenience store. VDOT indicates it cannot complete the improvements on U.S. 340-522 necessary for the store until mid-2018. Crooked Run North asked that the county, through the EDA, administer the U.S. 340-522 improvements to expedite its convenience store project.

VDOT intends to pay 50 percent of the construction costs. Crooked Run North agreed to pay the matching 50 percent of the price and to cover all costs that exceed the amount provided by VDOT.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com