Summary of February 17, 2022, Board of Education meeting

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — The Geary County Schools USD 475 Board of Education held a special Board meeting on Thursday at the Mary E. Devin Center for Education Support.

The meeting began with Geary County Schools Executive Director of Personnel Services Tim Winter presenting to the Board the Personnel Report for approval, including the recent hirings, resignations, and retirements. The Board approved the report as presented.

Following, Geary County Schools Chief Information Officer Karl DeArmond presented to the Board a plan to purchase network equipment from educational consultant company K12itc for approximately $237,497.04. Due to the district’s free and reduced lunch numbers, the district is expected to receive an 80% rebate on this equipment through the E-Rate program by the FCC and the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC). The Board approved this purchase.

DeArmond also presented to the Board a plan to lease fiber service from Twin Valley Communication for approximately $850 per month for three years. After seeking bids from three different companies, DeArmond found Twin Valley Communication to be the best offer, and the Board approved the purchase. This will also be covered by the E-Rate program, and the district can expect to receive an 80% rebate on this service.

Following this, DeArmond recommended to the Board approving the purchase of 78, 75-inch SMART Panels from Kansas City Audio-Visual for $236,210. Currently, the district is working to remove classroom projectors in all buildings where the classroom size does not require a larger size. The district identified the following buildings in need of new SMART Panels: Early Childhood Center (11), Hauge building (1), Heim building (7), Lincoln Elementary School (19), and Seitz Elementary School (40). The Board approved this purchase.

Lastly, DeArmond presented to the Board a plan to dispose of computers at the Junction City High School that was purchased in 2016, since the district replaced all the computers across the district in the summer of 2021. DeArmond sought proposals from three different companies for purchasing the devices and found that EOLTek provided the best offer of a minimum of $25,000. The Board approved this plan.

The final Action Item of the evening was regarding the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the renovation of the existing storage building at the McConnell Maintenance Facility, as presented by Chief Operations Officer David Wild. Originally, the plan was to renovate the facility in the summer of 2022. However, doing so now would allow for efficient use of personnel from the new Junction City High School construction project before they begin work building the new elementary school on Fort Riley. The total GMP, as determined by Hutton Construction, for the renovation is $149,800, which would be funded by Capital Outlay. The Board approved the GMP.

To begin the Discussion Items, Superintendent Dr. Reginald Eggleston asked the Board to consider the new or updated Board policies by the Kansas Association of School Boards. The policy changes will be brought back to the Board for a second reading and approval at its next meeting on March 7.

The Board also briefly discussed Board Policy JGECB but determined it best to table the discussion until the Board Retreat in the upcoming months.

The Board then discussed the cost and timing of the proposed demolition for the former Junction City High School with Wild. As a part of the new high school’s bond campaign in 2016, the project cost estimate included a $2 million line item for the demolition of the old school. After instruction from the Board to accelerate the demolition process in November, district staff received a proposed GMP to be near $2.8 million, including a $300,000 allowance for asbestos contingencies and other unforeseen site conditions. This price increase is a result of the approximately 40-point inflationary spread of the Producer Price Index over the past six years.

The final Discussion Item of the evening was regarding the district’s mask policy. The Board asked that district staff present a plan at the Mary 7 Board meeting for having masks optional in off-post schools while mandated in on-post schools, as well as a plan to remove the Test-to-Stay Program in all district schools.

Following the discussion, the meeting was adjourned.

Thursday’s meeting can be viewed on the district’s YouTube page. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 7, at 6:00 p.m. at the Mary E. Devin Center for Education Support. This meeting will be live-streamed on YouTube.

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