School Board agrees to sell bonds from two district projectsThe Jamestown Public School Board approved a financing option intended to save taxpayers about $2.8 million at its regular meeting Monday. The board approved selling bonds from the Jamestown High School and Middle School projects. The plan knocks off four years of payments, said Myron Knutson, who advises schools on bond issues and indebtedness. The district will pay off the bonds by 2017 rather than 2021, saving a $100,000 homeowner about $96 a year for each of the four years.
The Jamestown Public School Board approved a financing option intended to save taxpayers about $2.8 million at its regular meeting Monday.
The board approved selling bonds from the Jamestown High School and Middle School projects. The plan knocks off four years of payments, said Myron Knutson, who advises schools on bond issues and indebtedness. The district will pay off the bonds by 2017 rather than 2021, saving a $100,000 homeowner about $96 a year for each of the four years.
The district would have to pay a fee of about $350,000 because it’s refinancing earlier than allowed under the terms of the original bond, said Sally Ost, business manager. However, now is the time to refinance because interest rates are low and may increase, Superintendent Bob Toso had said. That increase later could cost more than the current $350,000.
The board awarded the bid to Robert W. Baird & Co. based out of Red Bank, N.J.
In other business, the district approved hiring five companies for its various construction projects to be paid for with stimulus dollars. The board hired Scherr Construction, Valley City, N.D., for general construction; A&R Roofing, Grand Forks, for moisture protection; Red River Glazing, Fargo, for entrances and windows; Northern Plains, Jamestown, for mechanical construction; and RBB Electric, Grand Forks, for electrical.
The board tabled a decision to hire Scherr Construction for its acoustical work in the high school swimming pool area. Currently, parents and teachers complain the pool echoes too much for students and athletes to hear.
The district installed baffle pads on the east and west walls of the pool about three years ago at a cost of about $13,000. But parents and teachers still say the sound quality is poor.
Scherr Construction was the lowest bidder at $77,000 for an additional baffle project, this time adding the pads above the pool.
For School Board member Gail Martin, that price tag is too high. She said other groups and clubs that use the pool should also chip in to pay the $77,700.
“I think if we’re going to do any more, then somebody better step up,” she said.
Martin also said she doesn’t hear the complaints from parents and teachers. Board member Tanya Ostlie said the public does have its concerns.
“Just because they aren’t calling you doesn’t mean they aren’t calling,” Ostlie said.
An added problem to the acoustics is the pool’s speaker system, Toso said. The district would need to pay $20,000 to fix it, he said.
Board member Heidi Larson questioned if the district needed to do both. If the district fixed the speakers or added the baffles, would it need to do both projects?
The School Board tabled the decision so its architect could inspect the pool and offer an opinion.
Also, the board approved moving forward with the proposed Talented and Gifted Program.
The Talented and Gifted Program would offer challenging curriculum opportunities to academically successful students as determined by teacher assessment and test scores. The program would serve about 40-50 second- through fifth-graders each year. Teachers would pull students out of their regular classrooms and give them the Talented and Gifted instruction with the other Talented and Gifted students in their grade.
The program would begin next school year and requires two full-time employees. It would cost about $160,000.
Toso expressed concern regarding the cost of the program, saying the board would likely have to prioritize its other expenses to pay for a program like this. But if the board wanted to move forward with it, the district could afford it.
“We can make this work in the budget,” he said.
Board member Greg Allen said he was in favor of the program, but he was concerned about funding for other programs to help struggling students.
The board also reviewed Toso’s superintendent evaluation. His average score was 7.031, out of a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest.
The Jamestown Public School Board has an Open Mike Night set for 5:15 p.m. March 22 in the Thompson Community Room at Jamestown High School.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at email@example.com