Parents Hope Sticking to Budget Won't Mean Less Rec. Space at Congdon

By KBJR News 1

Parents Hope Sticking to Budget Won't Mean Less Rec. Space at Congdon

September 18, 2012 Updated Sep 18, 2012 at 9:24 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Recreational space was again a sticking point Tuesday with some parents from Congdon Park Elementary, as the school board voted to approve bids for the school's reconstruction.

The district is trying to stay within budget on the overall project.

Some of the contingency fund is already being put to work.

That tight budget is why the district leaders decided to ask the board to approve bids for the main portions of the reconstruction Tuesday, leaving the recreational space, particularly the construction of a retaining wall, in limbo.

A retaining wall at the site would allow for about 30 more feet of recreation space at Congdon, which translates to more green space and more ice rink space in the winter.

Parents and community members spoke to the board Tuesday saying the retaining wall at Congdon would affect more students positively than other projects and should be a higher priority.

District leaders explained the wall can be approved at a later date, if the money is available.

"The remaining contingency we still feel is adequate for completing the project, and depending on how the project actually goes, there may be additional money within that contingency that could be used to complete additional work, which work could include, possibly the retaining wall," said Kerry Leider the district's property and risk manager.

Board members said they will continue to work to try to get a retaining wall at the school, if financially possible, and will look at other partnerships and options.

Also Tuesday, business committee members also said many of the teachers whose jobs were cut are back at work.

For example, of the 21 tenured certified teachers, 14 have returned and of non-tenured all three are back.

District leaders pointed out that full retention of laid-off teachers is not possible because some, for example, took other jobs over the summer.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike