barberton: After a run of bad news, Barberton school officials announced some good news on Friday.

The district’s massive construction project that includes some new school buildings, renovations to existing buildings and a new stadium is coming in under budget by about $1 million.

The news comes as the district has announced layoffs and plans to ask voters this year for a tax levy to stave off a projected budget deficit.

The state is paying 60 percent of the project’s original $76 million tab. Voters passed a levy to pay for the construction.

District officials say they will have a better idea of the exact savings once work is completed on the East Side Elementary and West Side Elementary schools this year.

Officials are waiting for the final change orders for those schools.

“Basically a lot of schools when they are built — depending on the time and the economy and how the bids come in — they can end up paying more and have to take it out of the general fund,” said school treasurer Ryan Pendleton. “Coming in under budget is really good because those dollars would go into a permanent capital fund and help maintain the new buildings.”

The savings, Pendleton said, have to be set aside for other building-related expenses.

“More specifically the uses for those funds will help offset future capital expenses, any remaining asbestos from older buildings that need to be demolished or sold, maintenance of existing buildings or maintaining our transportation fleet of buses or resurfacing of the tennis courts, anything that has a useful life after five years,” he said.

Highland Middle and Santrock Elementary schools have already been demolished and Memorial, Johnson and Woodford elementaries are vacant. In the fall, the Barberton school district will be down to one high school, one middle school and two elementary schools.

Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or mmiller@thebeaconjournal.com.