ES school board approves bid for asbestos removal at old high school

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The old Eureka Springs High School property still needs a little improvement before the Eureka Springs Highlander Community Center Foundation takes it over.

On Thursday, July 21, the Eureka Springs School Board approved a $19,214 bid from Gerken Environmental Enterprises to remove asbestos from the building. Superintendent Bryan Pruitt presented the bid, saying it was the lowest bid the district received. Pruitt said Chris East, a representative of Cromwell Architects Engineers, looked into Gerken Environmental Enterprises to confirm if the company is legitimate.

"He recommends them, so if we approve the bid he will draw up the contract and have them sign it," Pruitt said.

The board voted to do so, and board member Al Larson brought up the role Cromwell Architects Engineers plays in the school district. Larson said the company has worked with the school so far without a contract but said the district should look into contracting with Cromwell in the near future.

"In fact, I got an email from them this morning saying they would like to begin [a contract] in writing, which would probably be on a percentage basis where they handle these contracts," Larson said.

Drawing up a contract for Cromwell, Larson noted, will be useful once the community center foundation begins working more directly with the old high school property.

"In the future, there are going to be a number of things the community center is going to have them do, and that would be a relationship between the community center and Cromwell," Larson said. "Having them on board is going to be in our best interest."

The board agreed to look into that, moving on to discuss bids to fix the roof of the old high school. Pruitt said the district hasn't received any bids for that work, so the board took no action on it.

Also at the meeting, the board heard from Lynn Worley. Worley, who works with KESA radio station, explained that he's been covering basketball games for the district for six years now. Last year, he said he covered around 73 games.

"Every year, we try to add something a little different," Worley said. "We also try to do the Highlander updates on the radio. We try to put as many on Facebook as we can."

President Chris McClung and other board members agreed that Worley's coverage is valuable to the district.

"You do a good job," McClung said.

Worley noted that he wouldn't be successful without the sponsors and others who volunteer time to help out.

"We're always able to get people on there to help us," Worley said.

Board member Candace Spaulding moved to approve the athletic broadcast agreement with KESA for the 2016-17 school year, and the board voted to do so. The board also voted to approve Act 1120 Resolution. Pruitt described the resolution, saying it needs to be passed to designate employees who received a 5 percent salary increase from the previous year.

"We have approximately 22 people," Pruitt said. "Most of the were moved from part time to full time. That's how they get affect by that."

He continued, saying the board also needed to approve a budget revision for a bus purchase. He said he had planned on using enrollment funds to purchase the bus but said the district received growth funds that could be used instead. Treasurer Pam McGarrah noted that the district received these funds because of declining enrollment.

"Growth funds are slightly higher," McGarrah said. "It helps out the legal balance if we make these changes in the operating budget."

The board voted in favor of the budget revision, also voting to move funds into the building fund. Pruitt explained why this was necessary.

"We have to make sure we don't have too big of an increase on our end-of-the-year budget, so we're going to move some funds into the building fund," Pruitt said.

"That's exactly right," McGarrah agreed. "Something that our legislators watch is our legal balances. We want to have an increase every year so we're not in fiscal distress."

McGarrah presented the financial report, saying the bank balance at the end of June was $7,414,000 and the preliminary legal balance was $2,891,000. The preliminary total fun balance, she said, was $7,498,000.

The board's next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18 at the administration building.

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