You may have heard on our air or read at ncpr.org that the Canton Central School District has had some money problems over the last couple years; more recently, the district has been considering a merger with Potsdam Central. It’s had to eliminate more than 50 staff members, and has been looking at much bigger class sizes and cuts to student activities.
It’s always slightly surprising when you read about an organization that’s in financial trouble spending money, even if the spending is from an entirely different budget — and so it was when I read this morning in the Watertown Daily Times that Canton Central is spending $15 million on a number of renovation projects throughout its complex. But it turns out the state is covering 89 percent of the costs of this project, so it’s not quite as surprising as one might have anticipated.
Some of the projects are urgent and necessary, like asbestos remediation in McKenney Middle Schoool, which Superintendent William Gregory told the paper is proving to be much more extensive — and expensive — than expected. Other projects are explicitly forward-looking, says Gregory:
Keeping the school building complex in updated condition also places the Canton district in a strong position as it looks to the possibility of merging with Potsdam Central School or other area schools.
‘It positions us to have an updated facility that could accommodate several hundred additional students should some form of merger or consolidation eventually occur,’ Mr. Gregory said.
Such projects include a new computer lab, bathrooms that will now be in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, updated sports facilities, and changes to make the buildings safer and more secure.