By Mark Johnson, Staff Writer
The Richmond R-XVI School Board failed to act on a proposal to replace the aging phone system at Richmond Middle School, deciding instead at a July 10 meeting to leave the decision to Superintendent Dr. Damon Kizzire.
For the board, the proposals came down to replacing the current system with another basic system from Sun Telephone at the cost of $4,495 or a more complex system provided by Midwest Computech, which would incorporate greater future flexibility and incorporation with the internet, at a cost of $9,896.
Board president Chris Minnick said he was concerned that by purchasing a more limited system, the school district could be forced to purchase another one in the not too distant future because of the pace of technology.
“I don’t want to have to buy the same system twice,” he said.
Other board members were concerned about the cost of the Midwest Computech system, considering the other building needs the school district currently has.
What board members didn’t have, though, were additional alternatives to consider for a new phone system at the middle school since that proposal was not formally sent out to bid.
When asked about that in an e-mail, Kizzire said, “As is stated in board policy, $15,000 is the amount that requires bids and neither of these quotes (for a new phone system) is at that point.”
Board policy, however, states:
“Purchases of $3,000 or more are to be competitively bid.”
In other business:
• Board members learned a large capital expenditure could soon be on the horizon – replacing the heating unit for the high school gymnasium.
“That unit is more than 25 years old and when it breaks down again, it’s not going to be able to be repaired,” Kizzire said. “It’s going to need to be replaced immediately.”
The superintendent also expressed concern that the work is going to take a significant part of the $100,000 budget set aside in the 2012-13 for building needs.
• Concern about the building needs budget led board members to table for the time being an energy-savings project at the high school, which would cost just under $40,000 and have a payback period of less than three years. The work would focus on the installation of new energy-efficient lighting and include a rebate from KCP&L.
• A technology update report delivered to board members highlighted the installation of two new servers that are up and running and significantly reducing processing times associated with the old equipment. Computers are also being prepped for the start of school in August, the report noted.