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High school renovation bids below estimates

BALTIMORE – Liberty Union-Thurston School Board members got more good news when bids were opened Oct. 2 for the renovation of the high school.

A total of 12 general trades bids were received. Though determination of the lowest and best bids isn’t complete – meetings are being held with the lowest priced bidders, architects and construction manager – the lowest price general trades bid from Robertson Construction came in just over $1 million (38.14 percent) below the estimate. That is the most significant percentage variance from the estimates.

HVAC, from Gutridge Plumbing, came in $295,000 or 22 percent below the estimate. Electrical, from City Electric Services, Inc., was $197,00 or 18 percent below the estimate. Fire protection, from TP Mechanical, is $37,000 or 31 percent below the estimate. Plumbing was just 6 percent below the estimate.

“It looks like we’re off on the right foot on this one,” Superintendent Paul Mathews told board members.

Bids for the new middle school to be constructed just east of the elementary school should be out soon. Site preparation is complete.

In other business during the October 12 board meeting, board members, following an executive or closed session, approved a new one year contract with teachers. Contracts have typically been three years. Mathews said uncertainty about the economy and state funding for districts lead to the one year term. “These are very uncertain times,” he added.

Teachers will receive a 1.5 percent pay raise across the board and will still be eligible for step increases. Teachers will also receive a $500 bonus next August. School gets out early this coming summer and starts later next year to accommodate the high school renovation project, Mathews explained. Benefits were not changed.

Members also discussed how to handle the one half percent income tax that expires next year. Residents are currently paying a 1.75 percent income tax – 1.25 percent is permanent. Options include seeking to make it permanent or expanding its reach to tax all income rather than just earned income.

Board members opted to just seek a five-year renewal. “Go for the renewal for what voters have already approved,” board member Joe Farmer said. The renewal will likely be on the May ballot.

The first students-of-themonth for the new school year were honored at the meeting. They were: Junior Ryan King, son of Mike and Sherrill King. He is a football and basketball player, a scholar athlete, 4-H member and a student council member. Junior Evan Schaffner, son of Ed and Shirley Schaffner, is a member of the marching, pep and jazz bands; a teachers aide; and active in Boy Scouts.

First grade teacher Angie Linscott was honored by her peers as teacher-of-the-month. Mathews said she is a “high energy teacher.”

Board members also accepted the resignation for retirement purposes of athletic director Scott Williamson effective at the end of the school year. “He will be sorely missed,” Farmer said. “He will be hard to replace.” Mathews added that his early notice is appreciated since it provides more time to find a replacement.

A contract with Study Island for site licenses to use its Ohio Graduation Test remediation program was approved. Students who haven’t passed the OGT can access the program via the internet from home or school. It starts with a pre-test to assess their needs and then tailors the program accordingly.

Treasurer David Butler reported that income tax revenues continue to drop. The district receives four installments each year – last day of July, October, January and April. July’s installment was down $90,000 or 13 percent.

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