The city’s school district awarded $1.4 million in building maintenance contracts to ten companies. Contracted companies will provide various schools maintenance services including heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems upkeep, asbestos monitoring and testing, and roof repairs.
Steve Morlino, district facilities director, said the schools have little choice but to pay for the maintenance which has been differed for a long time. “These costs are going to escalate as we wait further and further,” said Morlino during the school board’s workshop session on May 6th, 2015. “There’s no way around it.”
Morlino said a good lot of equipment in the district has not been properly maintained over the years. He cited the heating problems in several buildings during the winter that resulted in school cancellation at John F. Kennedy High School in February.
The district’s bleak budget picture has made it difficult to maintain buildings and will continue to do so, said district officials. Morlino said he sought a $52 million facilities budget, but received $32 million.
The following companies were awarded contracts:
- Plainfield-based Glasstech Specialist received a contract for glass supplies for $200,000 (contract renewal)
- Moorestown-based TTI Environmental and Englewood-based Detail Associates will provide asbestos monitoring and testing for $100,000 (extended contract)
- Clifton-based MAK Group, Roselle-based VMG/Mikes Roofing, and Wayne-based Build Rite were contracted for roof repair for $400,000 (extended contract)
- New City, New York-based Hi-Pressure HVAC Service, Kenilworth-based Air Systems Maintenance, and Hackettstown-based Envirocon receive contracts for HVAC maintenance services for $350,000 (extended contract)
- Kenilworth-based Air Systems Maintenance, Somerset-based Unitemp, and Piscataway-based Binsky and Snyder Service were contracted for supplemental HVAC services for $350,000.
Some of the companies who are recipients of extended contracts have agreed to “no increase over previous rate,” according to the awarding resolutions. School board members approved the awards on May 20th, 2015.
School officials said some of the maintenance should have been handled by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA).
“We’re using this money that we should be putting in the classroom to educate our kids,” said Errol Kerrm school board member. He said the district is spending money to repair buildings that are more than 100 years old.
“I’m telling you from 40 years of experience, you can pay now or pay later, that’s the situation we’re in,” said Morlino.