On September 9, the Union-North School Board voted unanimously to approve a Notice to Taxpayers of Additional Appropriation in the amount of $950,000. The appropriation is for the addition and related renovation of LaVille Elementary School. The action was taken with the anticipation of selling bonds for approximately $4,600,000 for the entire school project, according to Superintendent Terry Barker.
The sale of bonds was approved by both the board and the Building Corporation in June of this year. Barker explained that $4,600,000 is the maximum and that they will only use whatever potion is necessary.
Bids for the project are expected to be completed by Skillman and Skillman prior to the sale of the bonds on September 27.
Board member Don Berger voiced his objection to publishing the anticipated amount of the bonds. Berger said, “If you do this, the people out there bidding will come with an open checkbook.” He later added, “We need to wait until after the bids come in.” However, follow board member Dave Grenert said bidders would have to be “great mathematicians” to be able to raise up the bids since the project has many sections and is not being bid out as one package. Grenert said they have a right to accept or reject any bids. He said, “We were told by Skillman what this thing is going to cost.” He also said the amount of the anticipated bonds has already been published in newspaper articles.
Berger countered saying, “I just want to make sure if this community is paying that they get what they want.”
Barker said they will work within the amount approved. He said they are down to one boiler at the elementary school and indicated that they cannot go into winter with just one. He said they are looking at adding a geothermal unit for heating and cooling which could cost up to $640,000 more than boilers. However, he said they would work within the designated amount when the bids come in and only buy what they can.
The board also approved the transfer of bus route #33 from Mark Berger to Jason Farrer. Although the bus owned by Farrer is newer than the one owned by Berger, the terms and conditions of the original contract will remain the same. Board President Larry Ort indicated that Berger’s work obligations have changed and is unable to devote enough time to the bus route. The vote was 3-0-1, with Don Berger abstaining. Board member Rob Swathwood was absent from the meeting.
The corporation will be purchasing a new 2010 GM/Collins 14 passenger bus at a cost of $40,404 using an allowance of $2000 for a trade-in of an older bus. Transportation Director Lylah Swathwood said the old bus in “poor condition” and basically unusable. She said the new bus will be used for extra-curricular needs or Head Start. She said, “It depends on the routes. I try to even the miles on routes.”
Before the final vote on the matter, Greener and Ort asked a number of questions pertaining to the choice of the model. The model being purchased has a gasoline engine and both Grenert and Ort shared their opinion that they would have considered one with a diesel engine.
Swathwood said she was going by the suggestions of the school mechanics. She said, “We’ve had quite a bit of problems with diesels.”
In the end, the vote was 3-1, with Grenert casting the no vote.
Delivery of the bus should be within 90-129 days, according to Swathwood.
The next meeting will be held on September 16 for a public hearing on the entire budget. The next regularly scheduled board meting will be September 23, if needed.