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home : news : news Sunday, May 29, 2016

12/25/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
NE board approves contracts for facility addition, maintenance director resigns

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

The Northeast Community School Board Dec. 18 approved six contracts totaling $2.5 million for work associated with the ongoing athletics and science addition at the high school.

The contracts approved by the board were:

•Tri-State Sprinkler, $94,225 for a sprinkler system.

•Northwest Mechanical, $107,379 for pneumatic control systems.

•Northwest Mechanical, $1.2 million for mechanical systems.

•Modern Builders, $209,519 for casework and millwork.

•Iowa Direct Equipment, $113,995 for the gym floor.

•Seedorff Masonry, $737,006 for masonry work.

Approval of the contracts brings the total cost of the project to $6.31 million to date.

The only major outstanding contract for the facility addition is for aluminum work, which is estimated at a cost of $100,000, according to business manager Kristy Weiss, although a number of other, less-costly items remain.

Northeast has $7.4 million available for the facility addition project due to a bond issue approved by district voters in April.

The district scaled back some of its original vision in order to stay within budget after initial bids in September came in higher than expected.

"We value-engineered almost every contract," superintendent Jim Cox said.

The project still includes four science classrooms and new competition gym, but permanent seating in the gym has been reduced from 1,800 seats to 1,600 seats to reduce costs.

The district may have to use sales tax revenues instead of bond proceeds to purchase building furnishings, scoreboards and other equipment for the new facility, Cox said.

In other project business, Cox noted the district has received a signed easement from the city of Goose Lake for an access road to the new baseball field.

The board also approved invoices totaling $200,539.79 for work already completed on the project.

Lauritzen resigns as

maintenance director

The board accepted the resignation of Jim Lauritzen as head of Northeast's custodial department and thanked him for 19 years of service to Northeast. The resignation is effective April 2.

Cox said Northeast will be modifying its custodial structure in the new year by appointing a head custodian for each building instead of a single person in charge of the entire district.

"It just hasn't worked to my satisfaction in the past," Cox said.

The board also accepted the resignation of Kevin Enwright as middle/high school science teacher. Enwright is the first Northeast teacher to accept an early retirement package being offered this year to staff age 55 or older with 15 or more years experience in the district.

The deadline to accept the early retirement offer is Jan. 21. Enrollees will receive an incentive of half of one year's salary paid out over 18 months.

The school board will approve a full list of early retirement participants in January or February.

Legislative delay

will hurt budget planning

Cox said he's heard Republican legislators are planning to delay a vote on allowable growth for Iowa schools until late in the legislative session, once again ignoring a state law that says school funding rates for the coming school year must be established within the first 30 days.

"That's unfortunate. It makes it difficult to plan budgets, and there are other deadlines that are affected," Cox said.

He said Republicans are proposing delaying action until as late as May, while schools are required to certify their budgets for next year in April.

"I don't understand why. The money is there. The state has experienced economic growth, and I think it's only reasonable they go ahead and make the decision," Cox said.

Cox said schools need an allowable growth rate of 4 percent to maintain a sound financial footing. It would take a 6 percent rate to make up for the legislature's decision last year that authorized 4 percent allowable growth but only funded 2 percent of it, which ate away at the district's unspent balance, he said.

Legislators need to increase school funding because Iowa has fallen behind other states in its per-pupil funding and is $1,500 below the average, Cox said.

Other business

In other business, the board:

•Approved a resolution to dispose of district-owned property in Elvira.

•Approved an early graduation request for Stephanie Louvar.

The board affirmed an administrative policy developed several years ago requiring students to take a minimum of six credits per semester even if they need fewer credits to meet graduation requirements.

"Back then, the discussion was research shows students who are more involved do better," said board president Chuck Corr.

•Approved the appointment of Angela Lee as elementary special education associate and Alec Anderson as golf coach.

•Reviewed the proposed calendar for the 2014/15 school year.

•Approved the sale of two buses, a 2000 Thomas 8-passenger handicapped bus with 155,000 miles and a 1996 Bluebird 65-passenger bus with 175,000 miles.

•Authorized eight students to participate in the Iowa Choral Festival in Iowa City Feb. 16-17.

•Approved an application to the school budget review committee for $121,685 in allowable growth spending authority for at-risk prevention.

•Approved open enrollment into the district for five students; two from Easton Valley Community Schools, two from Clinton Community Schools and one from Camanche Community Schools.

•Held a closed session to discuss the pending appeal of the Easton Valley lawsuit. The board met in closed session for approximately 10 minutes but took no action after returning to open session.

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