By Krystal Fowler - Lifestyle editor
The Centerville School Board met for nearly three hours Monday evening, discussing the sale of two elementary school buildings and how to move forward with safety procedures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. among other items.
The board first took care of old business, including approving a service agreement contract with Alliant Energy and discussing the results of a work session for Board and Superintendent goals held Jan. 8.
The board then approved the final reading of the school permit policy with board member Michelle Moore voting against.
The board also finished discussion on the volunteer policy, indicating they would keep their current policy, but that in future, the board would like volunteers that require certification or training, such as coaches, to be approved by the board.
The board then began the process of refinancing bonds with Ruan Securities.
During their December meeting the board decided to move forward with the refinancing through Ruan, who had proposed a savings of approximately $41,000.
During the Monday meeting, a Ruan representative said the savings as of now would be slightly less, approximately $38,500, if the board wished to move forward. The board voted unanimously to move forward with the refinancing. The board also approved Ahler Law Firm as bond counsel.
A date for a public hearing on renewing the two percent instructional support levy was also set for Monday, Feb. 11 before their regular February meeting with an alternative date of Tuesday, Feb. 12.
The board then began discussing the possible sales of the Cincinnati and Mystic Elementary buildings which were closed at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
The board received one bid for Cincinnati Elementary from the city of Cincinnati. The city proposed paying $5,000 to the district, $500 now and the rest after July 1 in the city’s new fiscal year.
According to an e-mail from Mayor Dave Rummans, the city wishes to use the building for their City Hall, and let their current City Hall be completely taken over by the fire department and maintanence department.
Rummans also wrote that the building’s gym/cafeteria area would be perfect for City Council meetings, public hearings and as a polling location during elections.
According to Rummans, the size of the building and its central location in town mean it could also be used as the community emergency shelter. The city owns a back-up generator that is capable of supplying electricity and heat to the building in emergency situations.
Nichole Moore was on hand to represent the city and answer any questions the board had. Board members were concerned about what could happen to the building if the city decided to abandon it. Moore said the city had indicated they would be willing to put into any sale contract that the school would be offered the building back in such a case.
Board member Marty Braster asked about the sale price.
“The $5,000...has no relation to the actual value of the building,” Braster said. “Would we entertain the possibility of transferring the building to the city for $1?”
Several board members voiced support for the $1 idea. Both the city and board will have to hold public hearings before any sale can move forward, but the board indicated to Moore, they were happy to move forward.
The board also received one bid for the Mystic Elementary Building from Derrick and Becky Wray. The Wrays also bid $5,000.
In an e-mail the Wray’s outlined some things they would like to use the building for, including a restaurant and grocery store.
The board was unsure if they wanted to sell to private individuals and wanted to ask questions of the Wrays before possibly moving forward. Several board members also expressed wanting to get more than $5,000 for the building, if it was to be used as a for profit business after the sale.
The board did not move forward with the sale and also asked Superintendent Tony Ryan to approach the city of Mystic about purchasing the building.
The board approved the resignations of Richard Brent Oden as assistant softball coach, Shannon Spears as special education aide specific at Lakeview and Brad Jones as Director of Transportation/Buildings and Grounds. Jones has worked for the district for approximately one year and has accepted a position as Transportation Director in the Clinton Community School District.
The board approved the transfer of Judy Earhart from special education aide specific to kindergarten aide to replace Iva Doggett.
They also approved employment for David Hornaday as bus driver, Jamie Lewellen as substitute bus driver, Eric Doll as substitute bus driver and Kimberly Mitchell as a non-contracted temporary position of administrative office secretary Monday through Friday from 8-11 a.m.
The board then approved with SIAC advisory committee list and discussed the upcoming joint meeting with the Moulton-Udell School Board.
The board then began discussing building safety issues. Board members brought up several issues, including possibly going to a locked down district with a buzz in system for visitors and implementing name tags for school employees and visitors.
The Sandy Hook school shooting was brought up, with board members saying before any changes are made to current procedures, the district should define what they are trying to prevent, from intruders in the building to parents with restraining orders taking their children illegally or any other situations.
The board also urged the administrators to hold drills using the current plans that have been in place for several years to familiarize staff with the procedures. They worried that new staff especially might not know the procedures.
They also agreed with Superintendent Ryan’s wish to meet with local emergency authorities to get their advice and perspectives on any changes that should or could be being made by the district to update their emergency response plans.
The board reviewed administrative reports and approved the financial reports before adjourning.
The Centerville School Board will next hold a joint meeting with the Moulton-Udell School Board Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Lakeview library.