The schools in Boca Raton and West Boca Raton are likely to see few changes this year with budgets still a major concern. However Verde Elementary School is currently an interesting site, with a long orange paint line marking the location of what is to be a new security fence. This is in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School which took the lives of 20 students and 6 members of the staff in the Newtown, Connecticut school.
When you stop to consider this school is surrounded by land which used to be a park, the need to beef up its security becomes very evident. The school district voted to fund the security upgrades simply because they felt the campus was far too easily accessed. Along with the new security fencing, Verde has also been given four brand new portable classrooms, and an upgrade to their fire alarm systems.
These upgrades along with new access control points have been deemed as very necessary for the older school in an area which is once again experiencing a growth in population and student numbers. The upgrades are almost complete and are expected to be ready for the start of the new school year. The four modular classrooms will join several already in place and have been placed in a convenient area on the campus. This gives them easy access to the main part of the school building, including the cafeteria.
While it would be nice to have the money in the Boca Raton school districts to build new schools, the recent recession has taken its toll on available tax revenues. This has left the coffers far too low to even consider the construction of a new school to accommodate growing numbers of students.
In other schools most of the renovations over the summer vacation have been very minimal. The school district has had to pay very close attention to how the funds they do have access to, are allocated. A large portion of it has been spent on upgrading the bathrooms in the various schools to bring them into line with the latest requirements from the ADA.
According to Anthony Rivas, the Chief of Support Operations for Palm Beach County School District, the schools in Coral Sunset, Whispering Pines, and Del Prado have received the restroom upgrades this summer. Beyond these upgrades, what money was left over in the district has been spent on repairs and general maintenance. Some also has to be held back for emergencies as they are bound to occur during the school year.
On the brighter side, with the economy showing some signs of recovery, housings starts are once again on the rise, and new businesses are coming into the Boca Raton area, so we can expect the tax rolls to once again begin climbing. When this happens, the funding available for the school district should also climb exponentially, at which time the replacement of existing older and overcrowded schools is an idea which may be revisited as the funds become available.
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