JERSEY SHORE - As the Jersey Shore Area School District looked to take the next step in its elementary school construction project Monday, some members of the school board raised concern over its increasing budget.
After a lengthy discussion, the board voted 9-0 to go forward with putting the project out to bid.
The school district originally set a budget of $13 million, but recent estimates have shown a cost of about $14.4 million attached to the project.
While discussing the project, board member Shelley Helm said she did not like the fact that the project now is about $1.4 million over what the board agreed upon.
"Budget. We're not within budget," Helm said when asked her biggest concern.
Brian Haines, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, said the reason for the increase is because costs of items and services have gone up since the budget was created about three years ago.
"There's been too much that has evolved in three years," he said.
Board member Harry Brungard said he was concerned with the "lack of discussion" when it came to changes and updates of the project.
"I just wish there was more discussion until we got to this point," he said.
When told that some changes were made during the Building and Grounds Committee meetings that Brungard was a part of it, he said he didn't remember those topics being discussed. He asked that the board receive a detailed summary of the project. Haines agreed to do so.
Haines added that with an anticipated completion date of August 2014 for the project, a decision to move forward was needed sooner rather than later.
Board President Robert Pryor said delaying the decisions could result in even higher costs.
"We've got to move this process along because prices could go up," he said.
Solicitor J. David Smith said the board didn't commit to spending any amount of money with the approval, as it can accept of deny any individual bid it receives during the process.
Business Manager Adrienne Craig said after the meeting that with the approval of putting the project out to bid, the board can start awarding them in February.
In other business, the board set 7 p.m. Nov. 5 as a special meeting to discuss policy 707, which deals with use of district facilities among the community. The board had voted to suspend the policy until a new version could be created.
The meeting will be held in the district's middle school auditorium, 601 Thompson St.