R-II Board to put $7.5 million bond on April 2 ballot

Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

El Dorado Springs R-II patrons will vote April 2 on a proposal to add on to the existing High School building to put the High School and Middle School under one roof complete with a new cafeteria, commons/dining room area and Middle School gym.

The drawings presented by Dake Wells Architects showed three floors of four classrooms each (12 total) at the north end of the current High School building and gym with 900 sq. ft. per classroom.

It would include a 1,500 – 1,700 sq. ft. kitchen, ramped entries for ADA compliance and one entrance each of High School and Middle School students.

That would be financed by a $7.5 million bond issue paid for by a 39¢ levy. The kitchen and commons/dining area added about $500,000 to the proposal pushing it up from the previously mentioned $7 million figure.

Superintendent Mark Koca said, “We will never have a better time. Interest rats are at their lowest. It is a competitive bid climate – contractors are hungry. We already have half the money (because of prepayments of previous bond issues.)”

Board Member Scott Cluck said, “I think opportunity is knocking.”

Board Member Darrell Eason said, “It’s not our decision. We’re here to look for opportunity. Do what’s best for the kids.”

Dake Wells architects had met with a citizens group which supplied a list of priority needs for the district. Dake Wells conducted a citizen survey at the 2012 Picnic to see what the public thought was needed in the district. Based on those two sources, Dake Wells designed the new additions.

The board approved the bond issue proposal at 39¢ which would result in an 88¢ total levy.

The board then approved hiring Dake Wells to do a schematic design of the proposed addition at the 50% level at a cost not to exceed $52,000. Supt. Koca told the board that if the bond issue is not approved by voters, the school will still have the schematic design for use later.

All board members were present Jay Farris, Benny Brower, Scott Cluck, Allen Hoover, Kevin Fast, Greg Beyder and Darrell Eason – presiding.

Patron Linda Houts addressed the board about a problem she sees with how High School students select their classes for the next year based on attendance. The fewer absences you have, whether excused or not, puts you close to the front of the line. Houts believes that this system penalizes students who have multiple excused absences for medical reasons. She told the board that this way of deciding who goes first is not a written policy and maybe isn’t written down at all. And neither is the appeals process, which is to go to through the principal and the counselor. She said it results in students with excused absences not being able to sign up for the classes they need.

Houts said she knew of a number of students the lack of policy affected adversely.

Board President Darrell Eason said, “We’ll look at that for you.”

Supt. Koca presented the annual school statistics report saying, “We are not doing badly. I feel pretty good about where we’re at.

He told the board that if passed, the bond issue would leave the school far enough below the legal debt limit to have room to borrow for an emergency.

The board set the March board meeting for 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 4.

In executive session, the board accepted the resignation of Cindy Graves and Debra Roe at the end of the school year. The board employed Johnna Boch as school nurse. The board voted to trade the Morlan property with Bill Nading’s property on Park Street.

In administrative reports, Tracy Lanser and Jeni Hearting reported they have taken several steps to tighten Elementary security.

There were 60-68 Elementary students absent every day last week with the flu.

Middle School reported that 34% of 6th grade students, 47% of seventh graders and 32% of eighth graders made the second quarter honor roll. Some 200 Middle School students, or 70%, met their second quarter AR (Advanced Reading) goal.