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School board approves funding for Dear

After a short discussion, the Richmond Board of Education voted unanimously at the board meeting Tuesday to finance $350,000 to provide up-front funding for the completion of the safe room/multi-purpose room at Dear Elementary in Richmond.
Dr. Roger Adamson of L.J. Hart & Company presented a preliminary financial analysis packet to each board member for consideration prior to the board meeting. The plans included the addition of a brick façade, security equipment and other improvements for the tornado shelter/multi-purpose room.
The financial analysis presented information on a $300,000 loan and a $350,000 loan, both as a Capital Facilities Lease to produce up-front funding and a 10-year approximately level repayment plan. At current rates, the $300,000 loan would end up costing $318,000, and the $350,000 loan would end up costing $370,000.
Superintendent Jim Robins recommended the $350,000 loan saying, “It doesn’t affect the budget much.” Payments would begin in 2010 and run around $40,000 per year. Hart told the board that a portion of the classroom trust fund, totaling $495,000-$500,000, could be transferred from Fund 1 to Fund 4. However, he reminded them, “You can transfer into Fund 4, but not out of.”
Board member Steve Rittmiller verified that the district’s portion of the safe room/multi-purpose room is $180,000, the 25 percent portion of the FEMA grant. Adding the brick façade is estimated to cost $42,000-$43,000.
Robins encouraged the board to allow the go-ahead for the district to apply for insurance to get a rate for all of them (the project) together. “We need to lock in,” said Robins. “There’s no cost to the district to lock in a rate.”
The board approved the recommendation.
In other business:
The board approved the school calendar for the 2009-10 school year. The board opened the floor for public comment regarding the proposed calendar, but there were no remarks made. School will begin Aug. 17, 2009 and run through May 17, 2010. The state mandates factoring in six snow days. Christmas break will be approximately two weeks, as it was this year.
Approval was also granted for security system bid specifications and for the district to proceed with the bidding process for future security and surveillance upgrades for each of the district’s schools.
“We may use some one-time stimulus money,” said Robins. “We may need to delay the actual purchase of this equipment due to the budget picture, but I would recommend we go ahead with the bidding process in order to be ready should additional monies become available for this project.”
Robins reported to the board that the district’s health care provider has indicated a 20 percent increase in premiums. Robins said, “I told them to take what we spend this year and take it back next year and get all we can for the same price. We know it would be less coverage, but the person could buy up. There is a basic package or a buy up.”
Board President Chris Minnick acknowledged there would be no guarantee that the district would receive the same coverage. Robins pointed out it would probably be less coverage.
“They always start high, but it seems like it comes down,” said board vice-president Gwen Weate.
“Even down from 20 to 10 percent, we can’t afford it,” Robins said. “Can we pursue it as presented?” he asked the board. The board approved the recommendation.

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