May 9, 2011 by wcobserver
Savings Fund High School Facelift
By Susan McCarthy
GREENLAND- In a nearly three hour school board meeting, board members worked through a packed agenda and were even serenaded by Greenland’s new high school choir. Greenland’s school board rehired its classified staff, approved a bid for lawn services for its Winslow campus, and got their first glimpse into plans for a makeover at its high school.
Following an executive session at the April 21 meeting, Superintendent Charles Cudney announced the board had voted to rehire 43 classified staffers. They also accepted five resignations including Margaret Gaill Street, gifted and talented teacher, Michael Aucana, IT support, Barbara Armstrong, special education aide, Freddie Wood, building trades teacher and Debra Emerson, school nurse. Emerson will still be employed by the school, but in a letter to school board members requested her position be reduced to 25 hours a week. Wood is retiring at the end of the school year and Cudney said the position will not be filled until they have a clearer picture of what a regional technical program might look like.
School board members also approved J & A Lawn Care’s bid to mow the grounds of the former Winslow School. They will be paid $300 per mowing and will be contracted to mow twice a month. Cudney said the lowest bidder for the project had turned down the project, stating they couldn’t complete the project for their bidded price. Cudney said this is the first year the lawn care services have been bid; costs last year totaled just over $5,000.
The second lowest bid from Wagnon & Smith of Greenland garnered board discussion. Ahead of the meeting, Cudney had asked them to mow the former school grounds in Winslow and two school board members voiced dissatisfaction about the work performed.
Board Member John Collins said he had inspected the work and felt it was unsatisfactory and questioned the company’s work ethic. He said weed eating had not been done appropriately and that the mower had driven around a large limb without picking it up. Terry Reed said she’d also driven by and concurred. Both pushed to bypass the second bidder and move to the third bidder, J & A Lawn Care.
Todd Bohanan said he was in favor of giving Wagnon & Smith the benefit of the doubt and a second chance. The motion to accept J & A Lawn Care’s bid was passed 6 to 1 with Bohanan voting no.
School board members also got their first glimpse of drawings for a cosmetics update at Greenland High School. The plans include replacing the floor tile in the oldest wing in the high school and repainting hallways and eight classrooms. Cudney said the project will be funded by funds remaining from a 2008 bond that funded a new roof at the high school and new air conditioning and heating units. The project, which has just been completed, came in under budget by about $150,000, according to Cudney. Cudney said bids for the tile and paint work will go out next month. He hopes the work will be completed by August 1.
In other school board news, Cudney told board members the school would have to refund $88,533 to the state board of education in a one-time payment before June 15. Cudney explained that the district receives a state guarantee of $6,023 per student in what’s called a Uniform Rate of Tax (URT). Twenty-five mils is collected from Greenland taxpayers for education and applied toward the $6023 per student funding, according to Cudney. He said the state board of education guarantees that 98 percent of the school millage be paid to Greenland School District. However, this year’s collection rate was 102 percent which Cudney says sometime occurs with the repayment of delinquent taxes and penalties.
Cudney emphasized the repayment has no effect on the school’s budget because those funds were never a part of the budget. He said state law requires the funds be returned to the pool so they can be used to ensure each school receives the guaranteed funding of $6023 per student. Preliminary URT calculations show West Fork, for instance, will receive a one-time payment of $16,783 as funds are redistributed.
Rick Gales, the school’s technology director, told board members that 78 i-pads would be in the hands of special education and speech pathology students in coming weeks. The school funded the $45,666 purchase with American Recovery Act funds, according to Gales.
A special school board meeting was scheduled April 27, 5 p.m. at Greenland Middle School. Bids to repair drainage problems at the Winslow High School gymnasium will be reviewed at this time.