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School Board explores options for continued growth

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30th, 2013

The Huron School Board honored Angie Boetel, the building secretary at Madison First and Second Grade Center. Presenting the award is the school’s principal, Heather Rozell. PHOTO BY Sean M.X. KELLEY/PLAINSMAN

Huron — The Huron School Board is continuing to explore its options concerning the rapidly growing enrollment of students into the district.

During Monday night’s regularly scheduled school board meeting, the topic came up three times during the evening.

The first time was during the report given by the district’s business manager Kelly Christopherson.

He gave a report on the planned Madison Elementary addition.

The first phase of the addition will add eight classrooms and a set of bathrooms on the north side of the building.

Christopherson said the plan is to complete construction this summer and be in use by August 2013.

The district will advertise the project in the Plainsman on Thursday, Feb. 7, and Thursday, Feb. 21, with bidding documents to be available Feb. 7.

According to Christopherson, that will comply with a 10-day period where the district must wait after a hearing on the proposal, which was the last piece of business Monday evening.

The district plans a contractor pre-bid meeting at Madison on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 1:30 p.m.

The district then will open bids on Tuesday, March 5, at 2 p.m.

“We have a lot of discussion with the architect on how to get this project in and done on time so we can use it next fall,” said Christopherson. “One strategy is to build in a $10,000 bonus to have it complete on time.”

In a memo from Christopherson to school board members and Superintendent Terry Nebelsick, Christopherson said a completion date has not been set in stone, however, all involved are shooting for between Aug. 2-7.

“Then after we decide whatever date that is going to be, any day after that there will be a penalty in the contract of $1,000 per day.”

Next came a discussion for funding this project and others, and Nebelsick gave a report on the facilities committee.

“Just a quick update on the people who are willing to serve on a committee for the elementary facilities,” said Nebelsick.

The end goal of the committee is to call for the approval of an obligation bond.

The group was planning to meet after Monday’s board meeting.

The group consists of people that the district sought out of a list of 40 different people, of which most attended the public forum on facilities issue, and he said they have received a solid commitment from about 10 of the people with a handful of others who will try to work some of the meetings into their schedule.

Nebelsick told the board some of the prospective goals for Monday’s meeting.

“We would like them to verify to the board that option D has the support, which of course has been speculated,” said Nebelsick. The plan would be to have a kindergarten/first grade at Buchanan Elementary, a second grade/third grade at Madison Elementary and the fourth and fifth grade students at Washington Elementary.

He will also ask the committee to verify community support for a 25-year payment plan that was presented at the community forum and ask the committee to work toward reaching a consensus of support for the school board to move forward on an election for a general obligation bond, and finally to create strategies for what would be a 60 percent bond election.

According to Nebelsick, the strategies would consist of a plan for support from various community groups, a plan to increase voter turnout and to reach every demographic of voter, such as rural, city, age and background.

The last thing the group will be asked is to determine the necessity to create a private financial plan for a promotional campaign that does not include tax dollars.

The group will also see a timeline from Koch Hazard Architects and look at a pamphlet that was used when the middle school bond referendum took place in 1996.

The pamphlet was privately funded.

The board announced the notice of hearing for use of capital outlay funds for new construction, thus satisfying the requirement stated earlier, which now gets the ball rolling on the Madison additions.

The school board also discussed various legislation that may affect the school district during an update by Board President TIm Van Berkum. Reports were given, including the announcement of the Classified Employee of the Month as well as the presentation of an upcoming band trip, a presentation by Cindy Niederbaumer on the Write to Learn program and a good news report given by the Special Education Department.

Those topics will be featured in upcoming stories in Plainsman.

The only votes taken during the meeting were the approval of open enrollment students with special circumstances, since the current policy is to cut off enrollment for second semester the fourth Friday in January.

The board also approved the upcoming band trip to California slated for March 2-8.

For the complete article see the 01-29-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-29-2013 paper.

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