School Board rejects insurance bids

By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer

 The USD 333 Board of Education rejected two bids for property insurance Monday night.
 Two bids were received for the district's property coverage–from Peoples Insurance, Concordia, and Conrade Insurance Group, Inc., Newton, Kan. The bid from Peoples Insurance was $80,083, while Conrade's was $55,553.
 USD 333 Superintendent Bev Mortimer told the Board that the discrepancy in bids was because Conrade Insurance bid the coverage with a $5,000 deductible, while Peoples' deductible was $1,000. Mortimer said the Board could not accurately compare the bids because the deductibles were so different. The bid specifications, she said, did not specify what the district was looking for in terms of a deductible.
 Steve Lindsey with Peoples Insurance said he had received a call at 1 p.m. Monday asking if he could change his bid to reflect a $5,000 deductible. Lindsey said he could change his bid, but it would take more than four hours to do it.
 Board President Rick Limon said the Board is interested in saving money and in being fair to both businesses. He suggested rejecting the bids and giving both the opportunity to rebid with identical deductibles.
 The Board did vote to reject the bids, and rebid with a $5,000 deductible. A special meeting is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. for the Board to consider the bids.
Mortimer presented the Board with information on the district's Nov. 5 bond election. Last month, the Board approved a resolution calling for a bond election to issue up to $5.5 million to pay the costs of building, equipping and furnishing an addition and improvements at Concordia Elementary School, which will include classrooms and a FEMA-approved storm shelter; and installing energy conservation measures, including HVAC replacement at CES, as well as lighting and other improvements at other district buildings.
 Mortimer said the bond issue, not to exceed $5.5 million for 20 years, includes $2.89 million for the energy improvements and HVAC replacement, and $2.37 million for the FEMA shelter. Currently, there is a 1.97 mill levy for the CES building, which was issued 20 years ago for its construction. To fund the project, the Board would add another two "new" mills to that, for a total of 3.976 mills. The state would also fund 40-percent of the project. Without that state aid, Mortimer said, the total project would raise the mill levy by 6.6 mills.
"If we didn't have the state aid, it would be at 6.6 mills," she said. "We're getting a bargain here–6.6 mills of work for only two."
 To put that amount in perspective, she said on a $75,000 home in Cloud County, a property owner would pay an additional $17.25 per year to fund the project.
The tentative design on the 7,299 square-foot addition to CES includes four classrooms, storage, restrooms, and a computer server storage room. Mortimer said she had been asked why CES wasn't originally built with a tornado shelter.
 In talking with the architects who designed, she said the building was never made a storm shelter. When the school was built in the 90s, there were no FEMA standards for tornado shelters. The pod design at CES includes interior rooms where students currently take cover from severe weather. However, Mortimer said, the building was not constructed with any additional reinforcements, so in the event of a severe storm, the roof could be lifted off the building.
 In other business, the Board accepted an offer of $6,000 for three tracts of land from the Nature Trail. Following an executive session, the Board also accepted the resignation of Nena Pierce, Concordia Middle School teacher, effective immediately per the terms of a mutual agreement.
 The Board also approved the Site Council memberships for the 2013-2014 school year, and accepted an offer of $50 from the Cloud County Health Department for the purchase of two white boards.


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