Changed meeting dates; BEST request submitted

RBC | Meeker School District Superintendent Chris Selle discussed with the Board of Education at their regular meeting last week submission of the district’s request for a state Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant for construction of a new high school.

“We make a compelling case, but it will be up to the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Capital Construction Assistance Board’s opinion at this point regarding prioritizing our application against the others submitted.  As discussed with the board, with all the required soft costs, contingencies and anticipated construction escalation, the total projected cost is $51 million.  If our grant and waiver are successfully approved, our voters will need to provide about $32 million of this amount, some of it through bonding,” Selle said.

The deadline for application was last Friday. Selle reported one reason for the cost estimate is so high is that projected construction costs escalate at one percent per month. Selle also emphasizes that the total cost includes construction, contingencies and costs like asbestos abatement, inspection fees, furniture and equipment, architect fees and owner’s representative fees.

The capital construction board Selle refers to consists of nine members who, in conjunction with CDE staff, review grant applications for each fiscal year.

The goal of the BEST program is to provide first class, high performing, 21st century facilities and to help alleviate health and safety concerns throughout Colorado. The BEST program is competitive, being available to all public school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services and the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind for application.

The funding basis of the BEST program comes from four sources:  State Land Trust revenues at more than 76 percent of the program funding; marijuana excise taxes at 16 percent; Colorado lottery spillover funds at just more than 5 percent; and account interest at just more than 2 percent. To date, BEST has accumulated more than $662 million.

The board also approved changing their planned 2018 monthly work session and regular meeting dates from the first and third Tuesday to the second and fourth Monday. This was partially due to concern that the hospital, town and recreation district boards also all meet on the Tuesday night schedule. The board’s next work session will be Monday, March 5 at 7 p.m., while their regular March meeting will be Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m. Also approved were the school year calendars for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

At their March 5 work session, the board will talk with representatives of George K. Baum and Company of Denver, a bonding and investment banking firm which helps school districts with bond election strategies.

Personnel hires approved were Kenneth Rennick as a high school volunteer track coach and Roberta Kinnamon as a food service worker. It was also announced that BOE member Kevin Amack had been elected president of the county Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), while Rangely BOE members Joyce Key and Sam Tolley will serve as the board vice-president respectively.

The reports of the superintendent and three district principals considered Feb 20 can be found on the school district website under the “current board agenda 2018-2-20 link.”

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