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School board moves forward with building project, discusses preliminary budget

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The plans for the new high school building moved another step forward during the regular meeting of the Gettysburg School Board on June 10.
Dean Marske from HKG Architects and Toby Morris from Doughtery and Company met to discuss the progress. Bids are scheduled to go out in the middle of July with construction to begin this fall.
Morris talked about the money side of the project. The overall budget issued for the school project is $6.9 million which he said nets out to about $6.82 million with the cost of issuance. Morris said that normally he likes to issue the bond a little closer to the time that the bids go out, but he felt the risk of the interest rate movement is greater than over issuing the amount.
Morris said that when he looks at the project analytically, if interest rates rise not quite a quarter of a percent, it will cost about $130,000 in interest costs. Showing how sensitive that fluctuation in interest rates can be, he recommended moving to the market.
He explained the cost of issuance and talked about continuing disclosure, which is done to keep in compliance with the Feds and the IRS.
Morris said that as they round everything up, his recommendation is to move to the market next week, and plan to do a closing on July 1. He said he sees a lot of indications that the interest rates will go up, and the board was in agreement that they need to move now to lock in the best interest rate for the 30 year loan.
It was pointed out that the current rate is still lower than the four percent that was originally planned as the impact to the taxpayers.
A resolution was passed to authorize the move forward on the general obligation bonds not to exceed $6.9 million for 30 years.
Marske said he anticipates several contractors bidding and sounded very positive about the progress of the building project. He also answered questions regarding the geothermal wells which will provide the climate control for the building. There will be 80-90 geothermal wells, and they are 15 foot off center. They will be at least seven feet underground, and will be covered, at least in part, by parking lot.
School business manager Barb Everson presented the preliminary budget. She explained that in the preliminary information she gave to the board, that the opt out revenue was reduced to $75,000, which is a fourth of what they could tax for, and the capital outlay levy was increased by one dollar.
Everson stressed that this is just the preliminary budget and input from the board for changes is appreciated.
The board also talked about the Maas Foundation giving money for band instruments, which will help with the budget, and some money is needed for repairs and requested for weight room equipment.
Board president Kay Schmidt told the board that they are basically budgeting only $100,000 more for the whole year which includes raises, benefits, and insurance increases, which showed that they are working hard to keep the budget in line.
The preliminary budget must be printed in July, and then a public hearing will be held, before the budget is finalized in September.
The board scheduled the budget hearing for the public on Monday, July 15 at 7 p.m. in the elementary library, with the regular board meeting to follow.
Other items discussed by the board included:
• Approving contracts for summer school teachers and approving open enrollment for the fall.
• A report from Superintendent Tim Hagedorn regarding the sports co-op with Hoven and the best way to balance practice and game schedules. It was commented that the co-op is going very well and has been a big success for the students and communities.
• The resignation of Theresa Goebel as the school secretary was accepted with regrets. That will be effective Sept. 10.
• Principal Wendy Smith said that Maas Foundation awarded money to the school for teachers to have iPads which will work with a reflector program as a learning tool for the students. The program allows what is being done on the iPad to be projected on a screen for the classes.
• Superintendent Hagedorn attended the city council meeting. They will work with the school to improve the drainage system ditch on the west side of the school and will improve the streets around the school. It was reported the city will work with the school on the cutout for the dropout area for the elementary students. He reported that it was a productive meeting and they appreciated being updated.
• Exercise equipment on the playground was donated to the city for the park. Fencing is being priced for the playground, and options for parking were discussed. He explained that although the playground will be smaller in the new location, the times for recess will change so not all the elementary will be out at the same time, so the space should easily accommodate the children.

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