Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2005

Board acts on construction issues

May 12, 2005

Lansing School Board moved forward with the necessary steps to build a new K-5 elementary school and high school auditorium at its Monday meeting, including dealing with financial matters and hiring a management firm to oversee construction.

It also scheduled a special meeting later this month to try to determine what to do with existing buildings once the new elementary school opens.

Greg Vahrenberg, a managing director with Piper Jaffray, the district's bond adviser, announced that all of $23.6 million in bonds for the new construction had been sold. He said the final step to lock in the interest rates was for board members to approve a bond resolution, which they did.

Vahrenberg said he anticipated the levy to pay off the bonds to be 13.9 mills for the first year and 14 mills for the first several years, unless assessed valuations drop significantly. Those levies will go into effect with property taxes that come due in December.

Bruce Mortimer of Wilson and Co., Engineers and Architects, the district's architectural firm, presented a preliminary timeline for the projects. Mortimer said he wanted input from teachers so that the rooms would be suited for each grade level.

The board approved hiring J.E. Dunn Construction as construction manager for the new elementary school and high school addition. The board received bids from Dunn, Turner Construction Co. and Universal Construction Co.

The board asked Mortimer for his input on the companies. He said he knew little about Turner but that Wilson and Co. had worked with Dunn on previous projects, including schools.

Bagby said the board made its decision based on references and the quality of service it perceived Dunn would provide.

The board accepted Dunn's bid even though, unlike Turner and Universal, it did not include any monetary figures. Dunn's bid was a negotiable figure based on the total cost of the projects. Brian Bode, school board vice president, said the district would be able to negotiate with Dunn once the firm figured its costs.

Both Turner and Universal's bid topped $1.05 million.

In the last of the bond-related action, the board scheduled a special meeting at 7 p.m. May 23 at a to-be-determined location to discuss possible uses of the buildings - Lansing Elementary, Sallie Zoll and Lansing Intermediate - that will be vacated when the new elementary school is built.

Other action

In other action, the board:

¢ Approved Lansing High School's FBLA to go to the national tournament in Orlando, Fla., June 24-27. Sponsor Sue Lednicky asked the board to help pay for the group's officers to go to the tournament, for which one student qualified. She said there would be officer training workshops there. Lednicky said because the group was new this year, there was no thought to reserving any money to send anyone to nationals. The board approved helping the club to meet its goal of $4,500 if they come within $500 of the total needed. Lednicky said the group had raised about $2,100 so far.

¢ Approved a budget amendment involving excess funds received from the LEAP, a program for high school dropouts to earn a Lansing High School diploma. Those funds will be placed in the general fund.

¢ Approved an asphalt bid from McConnell and Associates Cooperation not to exceed $31,435 for work at the school parking lots.

¢ Approved a proposal by Lansing Middle School Principal Kerry Brungardt to hire an additional band director. Deb Steiner is currently the only band director in the district, and she is in charge of the middle and high school bands. She said she has about 350 students. Steiner said the school she previously worked at had the same number of students in its band program and had three directors. A full-time music aide currently assists Steiner and the middle and high school choir teachers. The board moved to eliminate the position of music aide when it adds a second band director. Brungardt estimated the additional cost for a new band director would be $18,000 per year.

¢ Approved 72 out-of-district students returning.

¢ Approved the budget for Parents As Teachers.

¢ Approved a request by University of St. Mary to use Frank Graham football field for home football games. USM does not have a football field.

¢ Accepted a donation of $250 to fifth-grade teachers from former LIS teacher Julia Kollenberg.

¢ Approved changes to the student handbooks, student enrollment fees, substitute teacher pay and meal prices for the 2005-06 school.

¢ Approved food bids from Papa John's for pizza, Roberts Dairy for milk and The Earthgrains Co. for bread.

¢ Accepted a $100 gift certificate from the American Heart Assn. to purchase physical education equipment for LIS and LES. The schools raised $4,778.70 for Jump Rope for Heart, a fund-raiser for the American Heart Assn.

¢ Approved the LHS credit recovery program.

¢ Approved the resignations of Terry Stueve, LMS teacher and LHS baseball coach, and David Tyner, LES physical education teacher; early retirement of Jeanne Hund, LHS business teacher; and appointments of Christina Hoverson, LHS math, Jessica Asbury, first grade, Jennifer Taylor, first grade, Gene Tomrell, driver education, Rick Hodam, driver education, Chris Elliott, driver education, summer school teachers, and Mindy Coulter, eighth-grade language arts.

¢ Met in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss negotiations.

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