By Andrea McCann Times Sentinel Managing Editor
Zionsville Times Sentinel
---- — There were no comments at a public hearing Monday evening, March 10, prior to the ZCS Board of Trustees meeting, on an additional appropriation of $100,000 from Zionsville Community Schools’ Rainy Day Fund.
The board had authorized advertising for the hearing during its Feb. 10 meeting. The money is needed to replace the primary boiler at Eagle Elementary School. The boiler “suffered a profound catastrophic failure rendering it unusable,” according to ZCS Chief Financial Officer Mike Shafer.
“The school is now being heated only by use of a secondary boiler, which is of the same vintage as the one which failed,” he said. “Given the age of the failed boiler, the damage it has suffered, and its overall condition at this point in time, we are advised that attempting to repair this unit will not be feasible or cost effective.”
Shafer said preliminary cost estimates for replacement, including delivery and installation, will likely fall in the $60,000 to $80,000 range.
“Capital Project Funds are not available in the 2014 budget in an amount sufficient to meet this need,” he said. “Accordingly, this additional appropriation will allow us to access the Rainy Day Fund to deal with this situation.”
In old business, the board had the second reading of policies for “defense and indemnification of board members and employees” and “military service.” According to Superintendent Scott Robison, the policy revisions will keep ZCS current with state requirements. The revised policies were approved.
New business items included awarding a masonry bid for the high school capacity expansion project. The board had approved awarding the rest of the bids at its Feb. 24 meeting, but Victor Landfair with Skillman, the construction management company on the project, explained the lowest bidder in the masonry category didn’t appear to meet all the requirements. Landfair recommended allowing legal counsel to evaluate the bid.
On Monday, the board approved awarding the masonry bid to the second-lowest bidder. That bid is $15,000 more than the lowest bid, but the board’s attorney reviewed the matter and is comfortable with the recommendation.
Skillman received a total 105 bids in 19 categories for the project, with an average of five bids per category. Generally, Landfair said, they like to see a minimum of three bids per category.
“This is far more than we’ve seen on average,” he told the board last month.
In other good news, the estimated $9 million project — which includes all fixed equipment such as bleachers and scoreboards — came in at $7 million.
“The project came in significantly under budget,” Landfair said.
He said a lot of people are looking for work, this time of year is slow in the construction industry, and there was an unanticipated drop in material prices.
Board member Bill Stanczykiewicz asked Shafer at the February meeting what that lower cost means to the corporation financially.
“It gives us an opportunity to look at other needs,” Shafer said, explaining they could now look at doing projects that had been deferred for lack of funds.
There’s a deadline by which the money must be used, and it cannot be used for General Fund items, according to Shafer. Robison said there’s work to be done at Pleasant View Elementary that is a priority and will be identified.
In other new business
• Boone Meadow Principal Kris Cavolick explained the student handbook revision process and pointed out specific changes. No action was taken.
• The board authorized Shafer to advertise for request for proposals for bond underwriting and financial services. Shafer said it’s good business practice to reevaluate business relationships periodically, and this area had been not done since 2001. He said it will help ensure maximization of potential savings when the 2005 bonds are refinanced. However, evaluation criteria includes more than just the fee; experience, creativity and other criteria will be considered by an ad hoc committee that will look at responses.
Also at the meeting
Robison gave his superintendent’s report, including a presentation about moving the student service and leadership “climate” forward to a more comprehensive “culture” that is maximized, systemized and recognized.
David Poindexter added to the presentation with one of his own about the benefits of a “helping” culture. He said it builds work ethic and confidence, fosters respect for others, improves problem solving and analytic and qualitative skills as well as home skills. He said there a satisfaction found in helping others, and it’s important to college applications. Poindexter said it teaches youths to follow and be a team player as well as to be a leader. Mentors are key, he said.
There also was a presentation on Youth Art Month, which is celebrated annually in March. A student-created video showed art students talking about what they get out of art class and showed some of their work.
Prior to adjournment, Stanczykiewicz asked Robison for an assessment of the first e-learning day. Though it’s still early for a complete evaluation, Robison did have some numbers. He said there were no calls to elementary hotlines; zero use of the high school computer lab; four special education students came in to work with teachers at the high school; four Eagle students used the lab; two Union students used the lab, and two special education students worked with teachers; two Stonegate students used the lab; no other computer labs were used.