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Dist. 26 schools to get $42 million in repairs

Sharon Greenberger, the SCA's president, and Mary Leas, the SCA's project support manager, addressed the council's concerns about school infrastructure, electrical upgrades, population growth and controversy over leased sites during the monthly meeting."Your schools are, overall, in very good condition," Leas said, adding that her agency "is set to address the worst situations first and work our way backwards."Nonetheless, of the district's 29 schools, 17 were slated for $42 million in repairs and improvements, including masonry and work on roofs and parapets, Leas added.The SCA authorities also acknowledged concerns that in some schools, the electrical infrastruture was so outdated that modern air-conditioning units could not even be plugged in to stave off the summer's stifling heat."We're going to have to work with Con Ed to look at the electrical situation," Greenberger said, adding that her agency was studying the issue "very carefully."She also urged the council -- which had submitted a wish list of capital repairs -- to notify the SCA of its top five priorities."I can't promise you you're going to get it all," she said of the list, "but we do want to hear what your top five priorities are."Greenberger also addressed concerns voiced by CDEC 26 President Robert Caloras about overcrowding in schools. Caloras also questioned whether the SCA was tracking demographic trends."You have a single-family house where an elderly woman used to live getting knocked down, and a multi-family building goes up and people come in with their kids," he said. "We do have some very overcrowded schools."Greenberger said her agency works with the Department of City Planning to track these trends and Leas conceded there were "pockets of overcrowding" in some schools.Greenberger also spoke about the agency's policy regarding leased school sites -- the subject of the council's meeting last month in which members expressed support for a state Assembly bill giving the City Council greater oversight over leased school buildings."There is no distinction at all" between a leased site or purchased land for the purposes of environmental review, Greenberger asserted. "We do the same kind of environmental oversight."She did concede, however, that leased sites were not subject to the same level of public review, but said that was a practical matter."Our belief is that if leases were to go through the same kind of review process, we would have a very hard time" getting leases in the first place, she said.

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