The Belleville Board of Education approved a plan to fund repairs for three schools that may cost up to $1.025 million.
“By law, we had to have a public hearing Monday night to do this,” said Joseph Longo, a two-term member of the board. “It’s being paid for over five years in the school budget and we’re using property we own as collateral.”
Longo said the deal allows the district to bond for the most pressing school repairs, including roofs at the High School and School No. 7 and an upgrade to the electrical system at School No. 8.
The Board met Monday and approved the plan.
The lease/purchase proposal total cannot be more than $1,025,000, according to the official documents, according to Edward Appleton, Board of Education Business Administrator and Secretary.
The history of the district's school budget has been up and down. The budget failed in 2009 and passed the last two years with a zero tax increase.
However, Belleville school officials say there is still not nearly enough money to fund repairs to schools.
"This is pretty major thing for us to do, especially in rough economic times," Longo said.
The lease/purchase plan to repair schools comes after a failed referendum in the last decade, and years of rejected school budgets in the 1990s and 2000s left officials with little money to maintain and repair aging buildings.