Without public comment or opposition during the public forum of Monday’s W-SR School Board meeting plans and budgets for two new elementary school buildings moved forward.
Referred to now as the Northeast and West sites, drawings were made available for public perusal. Building designs are similar, although the West site is slightly smaller with fewer classrooms than the Northeast site.
According to Superintendent Ed Klamfoth, the public comment time was “an opportunity to share the scope and estimated budget.” Construction bids went out on Jan. 24 and are due back Feb. 24 before the March 7 meeting when contracts will be awarded.
In attendance, lead project architect Kate Payne stated that due to materials access issues, the “budgeting process was definitely a challenge.”
The board passed a resolution to continue the already approved $2.70 levy as a means to prepay the elementary school bonds. Monies collected are put in escrow and later used to pay down the debt ahead of schedule.
Access to materials also featured into the $203,048 District purchase of two new gasoline-propelled Bluebird school busses. Three LP school buses had been on order since July, but information received was that engine assembly shutdowns made arrival uncertain.
Recent winter bus inspections took three busses (1998, 2000, and 2002 models) out of service and put the district in a tight spot. The board extended thanks to Transportation Director and mechanic Izaak Miller who located in-stock busses. Though the preference is for low-emission LP busses, finding LP fuel stations can be problematic for long activity trips.
Also without public comment the 2022-2023 School Calendar was passed. It shows Aug. 23, 2022 as the first day of school, with anticipated end as May 26, 2023, Winter Break Dec. 22 to Jan. 2 and Spring Break as March 13-17.
High School Business Instructor Ken Burrow and four senior students sought and earned approval for an out-of-state trip to Charleston, South Carolina, from June 24-28, 2022. Two days will be spent travelling and others visiting area businesses and the beach. The trip is funded through proceeds earned by business students who are tasked to operate a business on the W-SR campus.
Board President Dennis Epley reported on his recent Des Moines meeting with five of the six state legislators who represent W-SR District and urged them to provide more financial support for education. W-SR District legislative representatives include State Sens Craig Johnson, R-Independence, Annette Sweeney, R-Alden, and Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City, House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, and State Reps. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, and Shannon Latham, R-Sheffield.
“Inflation is hitting school districts and our employees,” Epley reminded the representatives.
To avoid Spring Break conflicts, the next Board meeting has been moved forward one week to March 7. It will feature awarding construction contracts, policy approvals, and the naming of a new elementary principal for the retirement of Christi Lines.