SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- 'The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education on Thursday, April 28, approved its $105 million budget for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Related: Scotch Plains-Fanwood BOE Proposes $105M Budget for 2020-2021 Academic Year

The spending plan includes $1.12 million for Fai-Gon Electrical Contractors, which submitted the lowest bid, to install field lights at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. The installation of lights at the athletic fields is the third and final capital project that was earmarked for 2019-2020 school year. The other two projects that are underway are the building refacing at Park Middle School and the structural repair at Brunner Elementary School to repair the sinking gym floor.

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Funding for these projects come out of the Capital Reserve fund, which cannot be used as part of the school system's operating budget. The Capital Reserve Fund comes from savings realized in the budget process. When funds are in the Capital Reserve they cannot be transferred back into the annual operating budget, rather they have to be dedicated to capital projects.

BOE President, Dr. Karen Kulikowski and the Board unanimously agreed that the new field lights will be dedicated to the outgoing class of 2020 in honor of the unprecedented disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic that the students have endured during their senior year. 

In a statement, the Board said that it is supporting the field light project at SPFHS because it will provide more practice space for all student-athletes as well as the Marching Band. Additionally, community events such as Relay For Life and the Marching Band Festival will benefit from utilizing the field lights rather than needing to rent noisy, intrusive generators for such evening events.

The towns of Scotch Plains and Fanwood, and the school district share fiscal concern regarding these projects, and are in agreement that the projects have long-term value and should be completed as planned.

The global pandemic we are experiencing has created unforeseen challenges for us all, but in working together, the towns, the board and the district, believe moving projects, such as the field lights, forward we will create a feeling of solidarity and hope for our students and families once schools are reopened. -- Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education

The school district is drafting a “Good Neighbor/Field Light Usage Policy” to work in partnership with the surrounding neighbors to ensure their concerns are heard. 

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