Juneau Assembly approves some school renovation funding

Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Juneau Assembly approved an ordinance Tuesday to transfer $2.65 million from a general maintenance fund for renovations at Harborview Elementary School, then approved a bid to do the work.

McGraw Construction's bid was roughly $2.5 million more than the original city estimate.

Assembly member Jonathan Anderson was the only no vote out of Assembly members present. Anderson was "extremely uncomfortable" moving money "from here to there."

Members Sara Chambers, Merrill Sanford and David Stone were absent.

None objected to awarding the bid to McGraw.

Assembly members Bob Doll and Anderson questioned the source of the additional funds.

City Engineering Director Roger Healy explained the money came from $18 million in bond sales approved to build "the old new high school." Never built, that school was the first incarnation of the $60-million-plus Thunder Mountain High School, now nearly complete, from alternative bond sales.

City Attorney John Hartle said using the funds for other projects was legal. Healy said the original $18 million was put into a major renovations fund for all the district's schools rather than return the money.

The Assembly removed for later discussion an ordinance appropriating $1 million from an interest account for the same project.

The Juneau School Board approved both funding sources in a 4-2 vote on May 20, with board members Margo Waring and Joanne Bell-Graves voting no. Waring said the community wanted the district to "tighten up" spending.

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