School board moves forward with bond issue

MEEKER I The Meeker Board of Education met Monday for both a special formal board meeting as well as the normal, second Monday of the month work session. The primary focus of attention in the special meeting was what, if anything, to put in front of the district’s voters on the Nov. 6, ballot regarding financing for new high school and bus garage. After months of deliberations, discussions, a full-blown facility needs analysis and community surveys, there was little doubt the group would want to put forth some related question.

Superintendent Chris Selle noted that the board first got really serious about the district’s facility needs in the fall of 2016 when they initiated a full professional facilities analysis and master planning process.

After lengthy discussion and review, the board unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an election to authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds and the levy of property taxes to pay the debt thereof. The board chose option C of three specific options before them. Option C would increase the debt of the district by $39.7 million, with an anticipated repayment cost of up to $70.5 million, causing district property taxes to be increased by up to $4.6 million annually for the bonding period. The board also committed to seeking grant assistance from the state Building Excellent Schools Today Act program and other sources to help fund the project and reduce the amount of construction bonding needed.

Specific options A and B, which the board also considered, would have increased district debt by $25.9 and $44.8 million, respectively, so the board chose a middle option in terms of debt level, supported by possible additional grants while maintaining full construction goals. Actual detailed decisions of the construction are not being made at this point.

New Hires

In other business, the board approved district hires of Roxie Chintala and Kaleyne Turner as assistant high school volleyball coaches, Matt Scott as an assistant high school football coach, and Kris Casey and Kenneth Rennick as volunteer assistant cross country coaches. Also approved was a list of 19 substitute teachers, 20 substitute teacher aides, six substitute custodians, 12 substitute food service workers and six substitute bus drivers.

Student Threat Assessment

During the board work session, a draft of new policy on student threat assessment was reviewed. The policy included provisions for a response, management and support plan for specific students, if necessary, the establishment of a specific threat assessment team, intervention and victim support processes. The policy is expected to be further discussed at the Aug. 27 and Sept. 24 meetings, and given final approval at the Oct. 22 meeting.

Community School Resource Officer

In relation to potential threats, board member Kevin Amack asked what the status is of the community discussion that began last spring with regard to resource officers who could spend more time at district schools and with students. Selle reported that a new officer hired by the Meeker Police Department last spring, Justin Yates, has been able to avail himself of school resource officer training this summer under a grant through the county public health department. Yates is expected to provide Meeker police with more school resource focus.