Roland-Story school board discusses pre-bond vote design plans

Todd ThorsonStaff Writertthorson@storycityherald.com

The Roland-Story school board heard from representatives of Haila Architecture of Ames at the regular board meeting held Monday night (July 11) in the board room at the high school. Nathan Compton and John Haila were present to discuss possible design fee proposals that would need to occur prior to a possible bond vote this February.

“While we will try to minimize project costs prior to a bond vote, there is some work that will need to be necessary to effectively share a vision and inform the public,” said Superintendent Matt Patton in a pre-meeting statement. “Specifically, Haila will need to meet with some staff members (as well) to determine priorities within the planned additions and renovations, and will need to design and prepare documents for public viewing.”

There are five priority areas of the buildings and grounds that the district is looking at for potential bond issue consideration. They include safety and security improvements, elementary school addition and improvements, high school science renovation, athletic facility changes/improvements and various heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) replacements/improvements

Baker Group of Des Moines may also be doing preliminary design work on the latter HVAC systems within the district. “Baker Group will (also) complete a detailed facilities audit of existing mechanical and electrical systems to determine approximate costs related to established priorities,” added Superintendent Patton.

The fee total for Haila’s portion of the design work, which includes 4 of the 5 priority areas, would total approximately $40,000 to $45,000. Funds would come from the PPEL/SAVE Fund. The design plans would need to be completed by this fall, with initial implementation of the plans to begin in August.

“This is a pretty crucial piece (to a bond referendum) and its going to cost some money, obviously,” said Patton. “The thing is, that this is a PPEL/SAVE expense and is not going to come out of our general fund. The second thing is that if a bond issue passes, these expenses get diverted to the projects themselves, and we reimburse our PPEL/SAVE account. So it doesn’t actually impact the PPEL/SAVE account if a bond issue passes.”

•••

Each year the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) requests school districts to give their recommendations on legislative priorities for next year. “This helps the IASB prepare their targeted lobbying efforts for the 2017 session,” said Patton. “The IASB has effectively lobbied for many years and a portion of the district’s membership pays for the service.”

The board took some time Monday night to discuss and go over last year’s legislative priorities, with each board member expressing their preferences from a list of 33 different priorities submitted by the IASB. Following the discussion, the board agreed on their top four priorites, which included:

1. Supporting a school foundation formula that provides adequate and timely funding, which includes a mix of property taxes and state aid;

2. Opposing any new mandates that does not provide sufficient and sustainable funding for successful implementation;

3. Supporting adequate financial support for the area education agencies to provide essential services in a cost effective manner to school districts, including special education, technology, professional development, curriculum assessment and student assessment data analysis; and

4. Supporting the preservation of the statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure, including the tax equity provisions, and in turn, supporting the repeal of the Dec. 31, 2029 ending date.

In other business, the board:

—approved the renewal of the 2016-17 property and liability insurance from Town and Country Insurance. Representatives Bill Sjulin and Jocee Lowe were present and submitted a premium package in the amount of $115,928, which is slightly less than last year’s premium. The district’s insurance premium is paid for through the Management Fund.

—approved the purchase of projection systems from Embark IT of West Des Moines for the middle school art room, the elementary library and the high school curriculum room (the former ICN room) at a cost of $12,152. These are budgeted items and will be paid for with PPEL/SAVE funds.

—approved the purchase of 50 additional Dell Chromebooks from Embark IT for the middle school in the amount of $15,250. PPEL/SAVE funds will also pay for these items. “The primary need for this purchase is due to an increase in the number of middle school students next year, including a larger incoming 5th grade class and move ins from last year,” explained Patton. “We also plan to provide our special education associates with their own Chromebooks so they are better able to support the students they work with.”

—approved changes to the 2016-17 student and parent handbooks, which the building principals update each year.

—approved the annual board appointments and assignments, as well as various board resolutions, which are required by Iowa Code and board policy.

—approved participation in the national free and reduced lunch program for 2016-17. “This is a routine annual approval that allows the district to participate in the federal program,” stated Patton. “This is an important program for many families in our community and it allows the district to get reimbursed for the cost of the meals provided to students under the program.”

—approved the milk and bread bids for 2016-17 from AE Dairy and Bimbo Bakeries, respectively. Only one bid was received for both the bread and milk contracts. The fuel bids will be reviewed at the August meeting.

—approved two kindergarten open enrollments in, one from South Hamilton and one from Hubbard-Radcliffe, and two open enrollments out, one to Hubbard-Radcliffe (4th grade) and Gilbert (9th grade).

—accepted with appreciation the resignation of Kathy Hovick as middle school baseball and basketball coach.

Present at the meeting were Superintendent Patton and board members Marc Soderstrum, Doug Dodgen and Michaela Carlson. Board members Mike Retallick and Boyd Brodie were absent.

A bond projects work session was held Monday, July 18 at 7 a.m. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 8, at 6:30 p.m.