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July 19, 2019
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General News: Notes from the Oct 1st BOE Meeting

October 04, 2018

Board of Education Meeting on the Capital Project 10/01/18
By Casey Regenbaum

The Capitol Project was voted down in December 2017 and again September 2018. The board is now trying to prioritize and find other creative ways to solve the issues. Based on previous meetings, top priorities are maintaining operational safety for the school buildings and renovating the bathrooms.
After the no vote, the board is looking for ways to extend the life of the utilities throughout the buildings. They have to be creative without the resources of the project, and focus on repairs and renovations that are possible.

The loading dock and electrical panels at Willow Ave need significant repairs. Security entrances need work done throughout the district. Additional security cameras need to be installed for optimum safety. The cooling tower at the high school has at most one to two years remaining in its life expectancy. The roofs of the buildings throughout the district need repairs, and the asphalt roads need a more current analysis. An updated cost for bathroom renovations is necessary as well. The external experts for all of this need to be determined.

Financial Considerations:
Kimberly talked about whether or not money would be borrowed from the capitol reserve, which currently holds $350,000. If money is borrowed, there is the question if it would be done in parts or in whole. The other option would be to just use the annual funding, which could mean it would take 5 to 7 years for all these projects to get absorbed by the budget.

The board requested that each member keep their comments between five to 10 minutes. The board all agreed that the there are priorities to take care of first to keep students and faculty safe. One board member (Nancy) explained that if the bond isn’t exactly what each separate group in the community wanted, there would be an entire campaign against it. However, another member argued that the kids may suffer using an annual budget because there will be programs that are cut. If not, the taxes would be raised.

Some board members responded harshly to the proposed plan. One member said that their presentation was too definitive, and he thinks that a revote should be considered. A member mentioned the possibility of a grant. There was a lot of disagreement amongst the members as to whether or not using the annual funds or a revote was the better option. There was some tension amongst the board, but eventually each member expressed how they felt about the situation. It was agreed that there should be multiple options for the public to decide on next vote.

Tensions seemed to be high amongst the public who were sharing their opinions. There were many disappointed parents who had hoped the vote would pass. One parent of student athletes complained that the boys varsity soccer team has not had a single home game yet because of field conditions, and a turf field would resolve that issue.

There were numerous complaints about the bathroom conditions throughout the school district. One mother complained that her daughter was coming home telling her that she could not use the bathroom because it was so cold, or the sinks weren’t working. She appreciates all the work the board is doing, but needs them to do better for the kids in our community.

In order to do that, parents seemed to agree that the board should do better publicizing exactly what the vote was. One man shared a story about a previous superintendent who did so by going door to door. Another woman suggested creating a Facebook page in order to keep the public updated easily. She believes that a large problem is the attendance in the meetings. She says that the same people are attending the meetings, and they need to educate the people who aren’t at these meetings. She is frustrated with the board not addressing this issue after the first no vote, and thinks it needs to be done now.

Some people tried giving suggestions to the board. One woman asked whether or not they could change the district lines. The board told her that this would be a very long difficult project. Another man mentioned getting a scoreboard sponsored by Pepsi. The board explained that it is not allowed to have any advertisements in the district, so this would not be possible.
The board members had to stop the public comments because two hours had passed. The members discussed whether or not a revote or using the annual funds was the better option. Some members still were considering other options such as the grant, the capital reserve, or other fundraising. Eventually, the board members ended the meeting to transition into an executive session.


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