BOE Assesses Projects

ST. MARYS — After a long discussion debating items, local school board members approved a resolution approving the annual list of projects.

The members of the St. Marys Board of Education held a tour in late January, during which each of the district’s administrators noted the items on their lists. On Feb. 23, members of the St. Marys Board of Education Buildings and Grounds Committee — consisting of board members Ralph Wiley and Brian Little, as well as Business Manager Kurt Kuffner and Interim Superintendent Jerry Skiver, met at the administrative offices to discuss the more than 40 items on the St. Marys City Schools Permanent Improvement project wish list, during which committee members deleted some items off the list and categorized others by the proposed funds — Permanent Improvement (PI), Locally Funded Initiative (LFI) or Maintenance — they would come out of. Committee members also requested the soccer coaches to attend the next board meeting to answer questions about the purchase of mobile soccer goals and the team shelter items on the athletics wish list, as well as to ask Memorial High School Principal Dave Lewis for more information on the crowd control item on his wish list.

During Wednesday’s regularly scheduled St. Marys Board of Education meeting, board members heard from Lewis, as well as boys soccer coach Dave Ring. Lewis stressed the need for a crowd control system, and Ring noted the soccer coaches needed a shelter for the students during their soccer games, and they would rather have the concrete shelters because of their durability, and it is part of the long-term vision for the facility at St. Marys Intermediate School.

Board members also heard — during the public participation portion of Wednesday’s meeting — from Bob Valentine, Sandra Dove and Sarah Walters, who all questioned the board on spending the LFI money on the listed projects. Valentine also questioned the purchase of a new pick-up truck with a snow plow attachment, and Walters also questioned the legitimacy of the rumor of the possible cutting of gifted programs.

During the meeting’s discussion on the project list, Board Member Ronda Shelby said she preferred the majority of the items be paid for out of the PI fund.

“I don’t have any qualms with the PI fund, nor with the maintenance and the things coming from that, but I know that the Ohio School Facilities Commission has not closed our project,” Shelby said.

“I know that we have repair that needs to be done to masonry, and I know that we need work done on our floors — I know once this money is used up from the LFI fund, there is no more. So I do not think that we should be spending any money out of that until we get everything complete with our building as the Ohio School Facilities Commission signs off, how many years that is. We do not know how much money that is going to take. This was the money that was voted, and we have to be good stewards to our constituency for this money.”

Shelby suggested moving some of the items listed that were designated for the LFI fund to come out of the PI fund.

“If we take that money and we don’t use any LFI money and we put all that money into the PI fund or try to use it out of the PI fund, even if we wait until June when we get more money from the PI fund, we still will deplete the PI fund down to less than $50,000.” Little said.

“There have been issues brought up — that the past board had said we weren’t going to spend the money on athletics. I’m not asking to use this money to build a football stadium. I think everyone knows that the intermediate school, the primary school, the school we’re currently sitting in, has athletic facilities. They were built with gymnasiums. There are items on here that were not originally included in the plan when they were done — they were an oversight ... Items on this list that we have not deleted, the items that we are asking for on this list,  are items that the school needs, the students need, the teachers need.”

Little suggested deleting the epoxy flooring in the locker room building item, tabling the item concerning the purchase of a sweeper for the synthetic turf field, deleting the roll-out soccer shelter item and replacing it with the concrete shelter item and tabling the item concerning the Shipman Road improvement — bringing down the original proposed LFI spending amount of $201,054.65 to $171,523.15.

Wiley first noted that the funds the board was discussing — PI, LFI and Maintenance — are unrelated to operating costs — those funds come out of the General Fund, which is where the school will be reaching a deficit in two years.

Board members went through each item down the list, discussing their options. Eventually, they narrowed it down to move items previously listed to come from the LFI fund to go into the PI fund.

The following are the items that board members approved: PI fund — A computer and a printer for the new athletic complex at a cost of $2,000, Internet access to the new athletic complex at a cost of $1,672.21, a new PA system for the soccer complex at a cost of $9,657, an ice machine for the soccer complex at a cost of $3,141.95, mobile soccer goals for the new turf field at a cost of $6,130, upgrading the bus radios to narrowband at a cost of $11,772, reprogramming of existing radios to narrowband at a cost of $800, purchasing two school buses for a total cost of $176,000 and the purchase of a four-wheel drive pick-up truck with a snow plow attachment at a cost of $28,789, which was later decreased; LFI — Purchasing 100 banquet tables at a cost of $12,900, replacing four lathes in the metal shop area at a cost of $13,197, purchasing a crowd control retractable system at a cost of $3,445.20, constructing a concrete walkway to State Route 66 at a cost of $17,291, purchasing concrete team shelters at the soccer field for a cost of $38,250, purchasing 60 computers and licenses at a cost of $44,700, installing 8 foot tack strip above the windows in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms at a cost of $480.79, purchasing a roll-up door at the men’s restroom in the commons area at a cost of $2,896, purchasing a scissor lift at a cost of $4,950 and purchasing two Chariott floor scrubbers at a cost of $10,812; Maintenance — Sealing and re-stripping the asphalt in the bus loop at the primary school at a cost of $3,800 and crack sealing the playground asphalt at the intermediate building at a cost of $8,250. Board Member Aaron Braun voted against the measure.

Board members also voted to reject the bid from St. Marys Chrysler Dodge Jeep for a four-wheel drive pick-up truck with a snow plow package for a cost of $28,789, and they authorized Kuffner to purchase a 2012 four-wheel drive pick-up truck with a snow plow from Germain Ford of Columbus under the state term contract pricing at a cost of $25,598.

Board members entered into executive session at 9:20 p.m. to consider the appointment or employment of a public employee. No action was taken when board members reconvened into regular session.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the St. Marys Board of Education will be at 7:30 p.m. April 18 in the auditorium at the high school-middle school.