Manawa School Board votes to spend $2.2 million
By Ben Rodgers
The Manawa School Board agreed to approve buildings projects up to $2.2 million at a special meeting May 30.
The board approved the changes because the deadline to submit for energy efficient projects that allow the district to exceed the revenue cap was May 31.
The projects are over a number of years and this is an early estimate. No call for bids has been put out.
The legislation that allows districts to exceed the revenue cap for energy efficient projects is currently being debated in Madison. There remains the possibility the board may not move forward with any of the projects, but members wanted to proceed in case anything happens to the allowance.
The motion was to allow the board to spend up to, but not exceed $2.24 million on projects for the elementary and middle/high school.
“That’s the same recommendation I will be making as well is we have a ‘not to exceed’ and we can decide which projects to do over which school years,” said Carmen O’Brien, business manager.
This move will allow the district to keep tax levies at a consistent level.
“As we find out what happens in the state we can do that to keep our levy the same, which is what we’d like to do,” O’Brien said.
The $2.2 million price tag includes 13 projects, nine at the elementary school and four at the middle/high school.
High-cost project estimates include $469,941 for the elementary school boiler replacement, $379,185 for exterior door upgrades and a remodel of the door area at the elementary school, as well as $262,467 for a hybrid LED lighting upgrade.
Jeff Mangan, account executive from Nexus Solutions, and Michael Murphy, vice president of Northern Operations for Scherrer Construction, presented the board with the estimates.
“The threat of the legislation has promoted many districts into rushing these projects, including yourself,” Mangan said.
Although the district has approved the funding up to $2.2 million, that does not mean it has to spend all of it. The district can choose later what it wants to pursue.
The projects included were preselected by the companies because they are the most viable for the district, Mangan said.
“This is the budget we’re comfortable with right now,” Mangan said. “Again for district you are really up against the wall with the defunding of this legislation.”
Board member Bruce Scheller made the motion and it was seconded by Russ Johnson. Stan Forbes, Joanne Johnson, Bobbi Jo Pethke all voted in favor. Helene Pohl and Russ Hollman were absent.
In other news the board announced it was attempting to get an inspection of the property located at 321 Bridge St.
The district wants to rent this space out to get students with individualized education programs into the community.
The downtown location would allow those students to access a number of businesses to learn skills they could use after graduation.
This is something the district currently does not offer.
The district also hired fifth-grade teacher Sarah Highlander as the new 4K administrator.
Bryant Cobarrubias, a data and technology specialist from the Manitowoc Public School District, was also hired as the new district technology director.