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Building and budget main topics for School Board

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The Gettysburg School Board spent over four hours discussing everything from the building to the budget during the June 16 regular meeting.
With about 60 days until the school building is scheduled to be completed, Scott Sikkink of HKG Architects was at the meeting to go over details of the building project. The board reviewed changes, costs, and possible savings.
Some of the safety items addressed were fire rated doors, push button locks for the classrooms, and the electric stripe to the office door. That will allow staff to enter using a key fob, but once the school is locked when classes start, parents or guests will only be able to access the building by having someone in the office buzz them through, which Sikkink said is a security issue.
A new flag pole is being donated by the VFW, since there will no longer be a need for one as tall as was in place at the front of the three story school building.
The existing lab stations from the old school that are being used in the new science lab only have on/off plumbing, not hot/cold, so they were left with only a cold water option. Hot water is available in the lab, but only at one station.
The board told the architect that they needed to look at the costs and alternatives. The stressed the importance of having cost savings listed and accounted for, and the need to know of any changes that may have additional costs.
Board members Kay Schmidt and Brian Robbennolt serve on the building committee and said they have been trying hard to get the changes done but were feeling some frustration about the need for the architect to make sure some of the issues were dealt with. Sikkink assured the board that he would not sign off on it, and he needed to hear what are the board’s priorities.
Drainage and parking on the east side of the building were talked about, and Robbennolt said he had attended two city council meetings but did not have the numbers to give to the council regarding the costs. He said that he felt at the meeting that it seemed it would be possible for assistance, but the school needs to provide the city with numbers. He also said that city maintenance supervisor Russ Anderson was talking with them about the underground drainage.
The preliminary budget was another major topic during the meeting.
Business Manager Barb Everson went over the items in the budget and told the board that they are budgeting less than last year. There were some big savings she pointed out to the board regarding work comp, saying that a new quote through the Associated School Board dropped from almost $48,000 to $13,000. She also said that Judy Hellhake at the bank in Gettysburg provided a quote on property casualty that provided another $1,000 cost savings.
She also said that this year it was budgeted to take only around $50,000 with the opt out, which is the same as last year.
It was again stressed that this is only the preliminary budget and not the final budget. The budget hearing was set for a half hour before the July 14 meeting for 7 p.m.
Other meeting topics:
• Mrs. Patty Stoner talked to the board about the effectiveness and the morale of the educational institution. She expressed concern about a lack of communication between the board, administration, and staff and shared some obstacles and unprofessional occurrences that she felt a staff member endured, along with emails that staff member received from people regarding his positive performance. It was explained that the board cannot go into executive session with her to discuss issues regarding another person, and steps needed to be taken for the board to be able to discuss other concerns.
She said she thought she had read every page of the Gettysburg School Handbook, and referenced the page regarding constructive criticism of the board and that the staff should be given every opportunity to consider issues with an attempt to resolve problems.
• The board talked about some of the positions still open at the school including a cook, band instructor, and some aides.
• Bids will be advertised for the parking lot project, and will be opened at a special meeting on July 7 at 7:30 p.m.
• Brad Cihak was hired as the Ag/FFA teacher starting on Dec. 8. He is also doing some summer work.
• The board will appoint Kenny Goebel at the July meeting to fill the open position on the school board.
The minutes of the meeting are published on page 13 of the News. They are also available online at www.pottercountynews.com and at sdpublicnotices.com
-Molly McRoberts

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