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Board Unanimously Rejects Barwise Weight Room Bids

Board Unanimously Rejects Barwise Weight Room Bids

The promise of a new weight room continues, but affordability is key

 

WFISD board members unanimously rejected all bids from three vendors to build a weight room at Barwise Middle School because they came in almost twice as much as a prior estimated cost of $130,000.

 

“We could get a Taj Mahal” for the price of the bids, said board member Bob Payton.

 

“Or a four-bedroom house,” added board member Elizabeth Yeager.

 

The project, which was promised to Barwise parents and students when the school merged with Zundy several years ago, is still desirable, but board members said they will look for an affordable solution.

 

Board members voted 7-0 to reject the bids for the weight room at the June 19 school board meeting.

 

The meeting drew one parent comment in its Open Forum. Barwise parent and Parent Teacher Organization member Andrea Russell reminded board members that the Zundy PTO had raised thousands of dollars to purchase weight room equipment that is now sitting in storage, unused, waiting for its promised home.

 

The original estimate three years ago for the weight room came in at $130,000. With the same general project scope, the bids this year came in at $205,900 (from Cunningham Clark Construction), $208,526 (from Wendeborn Construction), and $217,377 (from Santa Rosa Construction).

 

“Our plan is to go and rebid this,” said Superintendent Mike Kuhrt.

 

Recently he spoke with two construction vendors who said they did not bid on the project but did not know why the construction bids were so high. They told him they would be able to bid on the project now if it were re-bid.

 

“We may get a better plan or move forward with something else,” said Mr. Kuhrt. The promise to Barwise won’t be ignored, he said. But it “has to be something we can afford,” he said.

 

“I’m disappointed we haven’t seen this through,” said Board President Dale Harvey. “I don’t think a delay would be catastrophic. I’m shocked at these amounts.”

 

Board member Bill Franklin emphasized that Barwise must have a weight room, but that the bids received “were not fair to the taxpayer.”

 

Skyward license agreement

In other business, board members voted 7-0 to accept a three-year software license agreement for Skyward, which will begin Sept. 1 and extend through Aug. 31, 2020.

 

The change is prompted by the ending of a state-sponsored student information system deal that provided Skyward to school districts at a discount.

 

In the new agreement, WFISD will host the program itself – saving a hosting fee – and will lock in the agreement for three years instead of just one, taking advantage of a reduced multi-year rate.

 

WFISD paid $149,943 for Skyward in the 2016-2017 school year. The new, self-hosting agreement for one year would cost the district $107,029 but the three-year contract brings the cost to the district down to $93,050.

 

Financial reports approved

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved financial and investment reports as submitted by Tim Sherrod, chief financial officer. The reports represent the revenue and expenditure position of the District for eight months, through April 30.

 

The District has collected slightly less of its projected revenues this year compared to last. By April last year, the district had collected 75.04 percent of projected revenues, compared to this year’s 73.52 percent. Expenditures were higher this year – 63.07 percent of budget -- compared to 49.98 percent last year.

 

In the General Fund, revenues were similar -- 73.52 percent last year compared to 74.88 percent this year. Expenditures were 61.04 percent last year, compared to 64.81 percent this year.

 

In the Food Service Fund, revenues were higher last year at this time. They were 78.50 percent last year, compared to 75.74 percent this year. Expenditures were also slightly higher last year at 63.87 percent compared to 61.32 percent this year.

 

In the Debt Service Fund, revenues were higher this year. Revenues were 100.20 percent this year compared to 94.07 percent last year. Expenditures were also higher this year at 78.39 percent, compared to 77.11 percent last year.

 

Consent agenda

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the Consent Agenda’s four items:

  • Updates  to Policies DCB(Local) and DEC (Local)
  • RFP #17-40 Basic Life and AD&D Insurance, Voluntary Term Life Insurance and AD&D
  • Personnel Report
  • Minutes

 

Board members deliberated in closed session before returning to open session and approving, in a 7-0 vote, the applicant pool of 11 new hires. The applicants included nine teachers, one diagnostician, and one teacher/coach slotted for Rider High School.