The Silver Lake Regional School Committee voted to explore whether or no cuts from capital planning are possible in order to install new lights at the football field. The entire June 28 meeting was dedicated solely to finding out if this funding is possible.
Silver Lake Girls Basketball Coach Olly DeMacedo made a proposal to try to eliminate roughly $200,000 of the light’s cost.
DeMacedo works for Boston Sand and Gravel and runs several of its companies outside the city. One of those businesses is Plympton-based Lawrence Ready Mix. He said his company will donate all the concrete and labor to erect the lights.
DeMacedo said, “I’m here on behalf of our community to try to make it happen one more time.”
After the donated concrete and labor, DeMacedo proposed it would cost the school district about $180,000 to buy the lights. He said he’d rather see the school buy the lights instead of leasing them.
DeMacedo said, “They’re legitimate 80 foot poles, galvanized steel, they’ll be here a long time.”
Part of why he believes it’s a good idea to buy the lights now is because, DeMacedo predicts, the price of steel will go up over the next few years.
Other positive reasons DeMacedo provided include:
• All the old infrastructure from the previous lights is already installed in the ground.
• The LED lighting will save the school money compared to the previous lights the field sued to have.
• No disruptions need to be made to the playing surface during installation.
If the School Committee were to take a vote soon, DeMacedo said he can get the lights up before the high school’s first football game on September 7.
Other Funding Sources
Two other funding sources were discussed during the meeting. They include additional funding in next year’s state budget and crowdsourcing from a Go Fund Me page.
DeMacedo’s brother State Senator Vincent DeMacedo discussed a potential way to give back possibly $75,000 of the funds next year. Senator DeMacedo said he could have tried for this year if he had known about this sooner, but the earmark for this year’s budget has already closed.
He said he will try to file an amendment for it to pass next year, which he thinks it probably would, although there is no guarantee.
Silver Lake teacher Stephanie Ritchie said a Go Fund Me page is up to try to help fundraise for the lights. She said the best way to raise more money is with word of mouth awareness.
Ritchie said, “Contact the circles of people you know because we all have circles of people.”
Coach DeMacedo also plans to do fundraising with the boosters. He hopes to get at a minimum $15,000 but thinks $25,000 is a better number to aim for.
School Committee member Jason Frasier asked Coach DeMacedo what the plan would be as far as a timeline if the committee were to approve a transfer from capital planning.
Coach DeMacedo said installation would take three to four weeks, but some other logistics might take time. He said he would start drafting the RFP for going out to bid tomorrow.
Several committee members acknowledged making this transfer would be difficult because it would mean a cut from another pressing area of need.
Frasier said some of the things currently funded under capital planning include funding to make the administrative building handicapped accessible and fixing water damage at the middle school and elementary schools.
“The money is going to come from somewhere and it’s going to hurt,” Frasier said.
A transfer from the operating budget was also discussed, but Frasier said taking from the operating budget would affect teacher salaries.
Superintendent Joy Blackwood said the cleanest cut might come from not getting the Kubota for snow removal. Others mentioned this opens the potential to need outside contracting for snow removal and that would affect the operating budget.
Prior to the Silver Lake School Committee’s July 12 meeting, they will reconvene as the Safety Facilities Fee and Revenues Committee to explore items that could potentially be cut from the capital plan to raise $80,000 for the lighting. The vote was unanimous.