Board votes to support activity complex
After the first motion failed by a 4-3 vote, a revised motion passed by a 4-3 vote.
The Complex will include a new football field to be built behind the Little Wolf High School.
In a school board meeting that lasted four hours Monday night, and conducted in front of a standing room only audience, there was lengthy discussion about the proposed Activity Complex. When citizens were allowed to address the board, four spoke in favor of the project, including Michelle Kaczorowski, who stated she has already received donation commitments of $54,800 for the project. Two letters were also read to the Board, with both letters in favor of the project.
Nobody addressed the board with views against the project.
Ed Dombrowski, district administrator for the School District of Manawa, said that the complex would be more than "just a football field." He said it could possibly be used for music and band, graduations and physical education classes. He acknowledged that money is the obstacle, but he must balance activities with academics.
"We want to do this the right way," Dombrowski said.
Board member Corinne Zielke said the football field built in Iola-Scandinavia a few years ago was not built until all the money was raised.
Board members David Strebe and Rob Karski stated they were in favor of the project but wanted the money upfront before construction began.
Liability was brought up, with Dombrowski saying that the school district is at risk if it places children on a field that it knows has problems. He said the School District could be sued for up to $50,000, along with each School Board Member and administrator.
"You knowingly have complaints [about Lindsay Field]," Dombrowski said.
Board member Stephanie Flynn stated she spoke with people in the community who would be willing to contribute to the field, but won't unless they know it is a sure thing.
Board member Paul Sturm agreed that the School Board needed to "provide certainty that the field will be built to help the fundraising committee." He also recommended that proceeds from a proposed land sale be put toward the project because that would be selling one asset and investing it into another asset.
After no motion was brought to vote, discussion was tabled until later in the meeting.
The board proceeded to take up discussion regarding the approval of selling the vacant land the district owns on Butternut Road. Strebe said the biggest problem he had with the Activity Complex plan was designating the proceeds from the sale of this land to the football field because of all the cuts the district has had to make recently.
Sturm pointed out that the board must differentiate between the capital budget and the operating budget. Land proceeds could be used for items in the operating budget, but once the money is gone, it's gone. If the proceeds are reinvested in another asset, benefits are reaped for years to come.
Sturm made a motion to have the board sell the land, with no designation as to how the proceeds would be spent. This was seconded by Flynn. It passed 4-2 with Strebe and Karski voting against it and Zielke abstaining.
What to do with the vacant elementary school building was also discussed. It currently costs the District $32,000 annually to heat the building, which is currently used for storage. A motion to turn off the heat and electricity in the building and drain all of the water from the pipes and boiler, as well as ready the contents in the building for auction and then auction those items was passed unanimously.
The tabled Activity Complex item was untabled for more discussion. Dombrowski said he preferred keeping the options open and giving the fundraising committee the opportunity to raise funds.
"We either give them the opportunity or we don't," Dombrowski said.
Sturm proposed a motion as follows:
Part I: Charter the formation of a Manawa Activity Complex Fundraising Committee to be chaired by Michelle Kaczorowski. The purpose of which is to solicit donations for the Manawa Activity Complex.
Part II: The Board of Education pledges an amount equal to the proceeds of the sale of land on Butternut Road and proceeds of the sale of the old elementary school contents to the construction of the Manawa Activity Complex.
Part III: When the fundraising committee has raised 66 percent of the total cost of the project, the complex will be constructed.
Board President Kurt Kreklow seconded the motion. It was defeated 4-3 with Sturm, Kreklow and Flynn voting for the motion.
Sturm then proposed a new motion, changing the previously defeated motion by eliminating Part II. This new motion passed 4-3 with Strebe, Karski and Zielke voting against it.
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