MSD saves $433,650 on refinance; superintendent search to begin

MEEKER I Major business items were on the agenda at the Feb. 3 Meeker School Board meeting including saving district taxpayers significant dollars by refinancing the remaining portion of the district’s 2008 general obligation bonds.
Also on the agenda were the resubmission of a grant request for the renewal of the football field and track; support of a statewide effort through the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) urging state legislators to pay back “negative factor” funds since 2010; and planning the hiring process for a new superintendent.

The board adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance of 2015 general obligation bonds to re-fund outstanding bonds in the principal amount of $7.265 million at a significantly lower interest rate. The bonds are to be issued at approximately 2 percent, a considerable savings over the current 5.19 percent.
Superintendent Mark Meyer said this should amount to a $433,650 savings over the remaining life of the new bonds.
The board agreed to meet with representatives of their partners, the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District and the Meeker Education Foundation, to perfect the resubmission by ERBM for a $350,000 grant request to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for the renovation of the football field and track at Starbuck Stadium. The total cost of this project, foundation president Mary Strang told the Herald Times, is $815,000. The ERBM Recreation District is committing $400,000 in matching funds, she said.
The board also agreed, by resolution, to join the effort initiated by CASB and 174 of the 178 district superintendents in Colorado, to request the Legislature “to honor the intent and language of Amendment 23 by prioritizing (the repayment) of the negative factor and to leave decisions regarding how those funds are spent to locally elected school boards.”
Amendment 23, passed by the voters in 2000, was intended to provide stable and predictable increases to education funding.
In response to Meyer’s resignation as superintendent, the board agreed not to use the available services of CASB to find a new executive at the cost of $10,000, but to proceed on their own, with district finance director Janelle Urista serving as search coordinator.
The position is to be posted by today, candidate application reviews are to begin March 17, and interviews with teachers are to be April 10.
On property matters, the sealed-bid process for the sale of the old kindergarten building at 345 Main St. in Meeker is now posted in the Herald Times and on the district website. Bids are due to the district by Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.
Meyer is working with Joy Surveying to perfect the legal description for the old town swimming pool property. The one-acre former Powell Park school property next to Highway 64 is still possibly being reverted to the original land ownership since it’s no longer being used as a school.
On personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Laurie Simonsen as the high school secretary, effective Feb. 28, and approved the following high school coaching assignments: John Strate, head track; Kris Casey, first assistant track; Ben Quinn, second assistant track; Shane Phelan, Pat Ibach, Heather Burke and Brittany Shubnell, volunteer track; Jason Browning, head baseball; and Brian Merrifield, assistant baseball. The board’s superintendent evaluation process will continue to the benefit of Meyer and the board.
Mary Strang, president of the Meeker Education Foundation, announced that the foundation had established a Jason Hightower Memorial Fund for scholarships. Contributors can take their donations to Mountain Valley Bank or send them to the Foundation at P.O. Box 255, Meeker.
Board member Bud Ridings took the occasion to ask Strang how the foundation was going. Strang said the foundation was “really getting going.”
“We’re announcing what’s to be a big annual fundraising activity on March 1 this year at Marvine Campground,” she said.
Ridings asked if there is a set goal.
Strang said, “The sky’s the limit.”