Three-hundred and five schools are eligible for state funding to build new facilities. The Norwalk City Schools are 304 on the list.
Superintendent Wayne Babcanec said he was taken by surprise when the state called to ask if Norwalk would like to participate. Only because of a recent infusion of cash into the state's Classroom Facilities Assistance Program are so many schools being offered assistance.
The extra money has been allotted to this program by the new administration from the tobacco settlements.
The state will evaluate the district and produce a comprehensive strategy to renovate or replace all the district's facilities. The school board elected at Tuesday night's meeting to participate at least in that evaluation, which will not cost the district anything.
Once the comprehensive plan is completed, the state will offer the district 50 percent of the cost to build it. Even with a basically brand new high school, the price tag could be very high as much as $50 million. Babcanec said he believes it is an all-or-nothing proposition and the district would not be able to pick and choose.
He said he doubted whether the district's $25 million half would be either politically viable or fiscally responsible, but he didn't see any reason not to at least participate in the evaluation.
The school board has also expressed interest in creating a long-term plan for the schools, and Babcanec pointed out to board members, that this state evaluation could be helpful in producing that.
In other business:
The school board approved a bid from A.J. Riley, Inc. for about $60,000 for the paving project at the central office, League Elementary, and Maplehurst Elementary.
The board approved the bid by Gundlach Street Metal Works, Inc. for about $36,000 to replace a kitchen hood and an air replacement handler at Norwalk Middle School. This is the first in a two-part project and the other hood will be replaced in fiscal year 2009.