The Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees was given a lengthy presentation about Performance Contracting at Thursday night's meeting. The engineering and construction company gave the Board estimates on the price of installing air conditioning at Meridian Elementary and Clay City Elementary.
The projected cost for the HVAC work in Meridian is $745,000 and for Clay City, it is $1,250,000. It was also recommended that Meridian's chimney and windows be replaced in order to improve energy efficiency, which would be about $185,000. It was determined that there are areas of low lighting at Clay City which Performance Contracting offered to rectify for around $75,000.
This company would help the School Corporation advertise for the best rates on a loan from a local or regional bank. Payment would be set up in the form of a municipal lease for whatever term the School Board voted on, up to 10 years. There would also be the option of paying the loan off early with no penalties.
Superintendent Bill Schad went on to share his own estimated figures with the Board. He said that although the advertised 2004 Capital Project Fund budget is $3.5 million, he estimates that the Corporation will actually receive about $2.5 million in that area. The approximate cost of the two air conditioning projects is $2.3 million and the fiber optics project that has been discussed would cost about $410,000. Therefore, it would be impossible to do all three.
If the payments for the air conditioners were spread out over five years, however, the annual payment would be $618,300 and the fiber optics could be paid off the first year. Also, there would be plenty of money left over to fix other problems as they come along, including one school's roof, which he described as being "held together with Band-Aids and chewing gum." The $618,300 would also cover replacement of the chiller system at Northview High School, which has needed several repairs. All work could be done before the start of the next school year.
The Board discussed the matter a great deal and decided to vote on the matter at the next regular meeting in December.
Schad also noted that Karen Phillips, principal of Meridian, received a letter from the State Department, notifying the school that it is up for a Title I award. It is one of only three schools in the state in the running. She will be informed of the results by Christmas.
In old business, the Board voted to reject all fuel bids and operate on the free market; accept the only tire bid, which was from Bedwell Tire; and accept the MidWest Transit bid on six 66-passenger buses. It was the lowest of four at $296,034. It was also voted to borrow $65,000 to pay the interest on money that was borrowed last year from the Indiana Bond Bank.
In the Superintendent's Report, Schad gave information on the total student enrollment. He also noted that the parent-teacher conferences were "quite successful," with overall participation at around 90 percent.
He gave an update on the Corporation Newsletter, which will hopefully come out every other month. Jennifer Snoddy, who is heading up the work on it, said that several articles have already been submitted and two rounds of proofreading are set up. She added that it will most likely go to press by Dec. 4 and be sent home with all elementary students by the week before Christmas break. It will also be available on the Corporation's Web site and at extra-curricular events.
Members of the School Board were given a list of classes that have less than 25 students in them. They will be evaluated and if the Board sees fit, some of these classes may be done away with.
In new business, emergency repairs were approved, including lightning damage at Northview, the phone system in Knightsville and the Clay City's water softener.
Schad gave the recommendation to "grandfather" all employees of the Corporation hired before Jan. 1, 2004, in the insurance coverage. Everyone would be kept on the same plan at the same rate. Everyone hired after Jan. 1 will be different. The vote on this item passed 4-2 with one abstention after Board member Terry Barr expressed concern over the matter.
The Board additionally voted to borrow more money from the Indiana Bond Bank to pay off other borrowed money that the Corporation would normally pay after the tax draw. However, it is not expected to receive that until after the first of the year. Therefore, it will be necessary to borrow more money for warrants due Dec. 31 and even more money to get the Corporation on its feet at the beginning of the year.
Board member Len Fischer proposed that at next month's meeting, Schad give them some kind of report on where the county is on figuring taxes, so that the Board might be able to do some financial planning.
Board president Steven Grigsby asked that the Board be given some kind of year-end projection and an estimate of positions that need to be considered in staff reduction. He said that he would like to see a list divided into administrative, certified and non-certified employees and also be given an estimate of how funds would look by Dec. 31, 2004, if no positions are cut.