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BOE wants cheaper building options

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Two motions to accept bids for construction of multipurpose buildings failed during a Chilton County Board of Education meeting on April 23.

Boards members expressed various concerns, including that the bids were higher than what it had cost to build the Isabella High School multipurpose building, which was dedicated this week.

Two options were presented to the board for Clanton Middle School — a detached building or an addition to the gym.

Board President Brian Jackson said the Board wants to see the projects happen but wants to save some money over the current bid price.

The vote to accept the bid for the detached building at CMS failed 5 to 2. Board members Chris Smith and Lori Patterson voted in favor. Jackson, Jaqueline Sullivan, Keith Moore, Angie Sanderson and Pam Price voted against.

The detached building was expected to cost $338,500.

“Is it going to be an option for maintenance (department) to do any of it to save money, so we can be in budget?” board member Lori Patterson asked.

CCS Superintendent Jason Griffin said that would be another option that could be looked at, but the current proposal was for the company to do everything needed.

Sanderson said the maintenance department built the IHS multipurpose building for $185,000.

Maintenance supervisor Freddy Smith said the IHS pre-fab steel building was constructed before the steel tariffs were put in place, which would increase the price of future buildings.

“If he can do it for $200,000 or $225,000, it’s going to be financially irresponsible of us to do a lock and key building (traditional construction),” Sanderson said.

She said the IHS building looked “great.”

A separate bid process would be required for this option, Griffin said.

Price said the school system only had $600,000 in funding from the state for building projects through Public School Funds, and doing two multipurpose buildings and bleachers at VHS would leave nothing left.

Price expressed concern that the school system has 19 modular classrooms countywide and requests for more for the coming school year.

“What is our proposal to alleviate, do away with the trailers and put our students in classrooms?” Price asked.

Griffin said the school board, prior to the new board members taking office, had committed to multipurpose buildings at CMS and VHS. Both schools have raised funds for a portion of construction.

“I feel like I have an obligation to both these communities to present these to you since this arrangement was put in place prior to (me coming into this position),” Griffin said.

On the VHS building, concerns were expressed about price and that the elementary students would not have a place to play with the proposed location. Jackson said a new location should be chosen.

“I think each community needs a building,” Moore said. “I think we need bleachers as well, but I also think we can save money, that’s why I am voting against it. I think we still need to do it, but I think we can do it a little cheaper. If we can save money, we need to save money.”

A vote to approve the bid for the building failed 7 to 0.

Price said VHS’s main building “needs major work.”

“At some point, I feel like we have to step up and be the leaders and be more concerned about our children and getting them in a classroom,” Price said

A motion to repair the bleachers at VHS died for lack of a second. A motion to replace the bleachers failed 6 to 1, with Moore being the sole vote in favor. The bid came in over $200,000 to replace.

Also during the meeting, the Board approved:

  • Changing the rate of pay for substitute teacher assistants to $54.50 per day. This is an increase. Chief School Financial Officer LaVerne Williams said she is planning to review past data on compensation for another substitute position with the possibility of recommending an increase for these positions as well.
  • The retirements of David Moore from Chiton County High School, Child Nutrition employee Bonnie Daniels, Special Education teacher Laurie Marcus and bus driver Tommy Lenoir.
  • Several employees to work for the summer in the summer feeding program and in the maintenance department.
  • Posting to hire for a Maintenance 1 position for an employee to oversee the school system’s security cameras and do any repairs to the security locks and buzz in systems. Smith and Griffin said hiring someone would save the school system money over the contract that the system previously had.

“This is primarily camera and access control,” Smith said.

  • Software for the ESL department to help with paperwork.
  • Various field trips.
  • A 38-month contract for Williams as CSFO at $92,500 a year.