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School board OKs referendum on $14.2 million bond issue

Nearly five years to the day, a major announcement has come out of the Kenmare School District.

11/27/18 (Tue)


Proposed plan on display at high school . . . An architect’s rendition of the proposed addition to the Kenmare School includes the new grade school classrooms, shown as the gold colored portion to the upper right. An addition to the kitchen is also shown in gold in the lower center portion of the drawing. The rest of the addtion would consist of a gymnasium, shown in green, at the upper center portion of the drawing. Part of the expense will also include upgrades to the building for security. A bond issue of $14.2 million will be up for a vote on Jan. 22.

Nearly five years to the day, a major announcement has come out of the Kenmare School District.

On Nov. 18, 2013, voters turned down a $14 million bond issue that would have made improvements to the present high school.

On Nov. 20, 2018, the Kenmare School Board approved a resolution for a $14.2 million bond issue that will provide for additions on to the school including five new classrooms to replace the current elementary building, a new high school gymnasium, a school security improvements.

The resolution passed on a 6-0 roll-call vote. School board president Jason Zeltinger was absent.

“We’re trying to get it narrowed down as much as we can,” said building committee Chairman Blaine Huff. “A $14.2 million bond doesn’t mean we’re going to spend that much, but we can spend up to that amount.”

He said about 1,000 square feet have been shaved off the original addition proposal and he is scratching the idea of an access point off U.S. Highway 52 because of the added expense.

“The access road will come from the south,” Huff said. “We’ll have to gate it during the day.”

He added he found little dissent while taking a straw poll during a recent landowners meeting.

Five years ago, that wasn’t the case as Huff’s pitch then was often met with reasons not to expand.

This time around, Huff indicated the public is more aware of what the school’s needs are, is aware that inflation in 2013 was a big issue and that patrons now know what kind of shape the current, 1957 elementary school building is in.

Still, Huff is shooting for a public meeting on Jan. 7 to inform patrons more in detail what the board plans to do should the bond issue pass. In addition, he wants to have a second meeting on a date yet to be determined.

Bond issue election on Jan. 22

But it will have to be soon as the board later voted, also on a 6-0 roll-call vote, to call for the bond issue election on Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 8 a.m., to 8 p.m. The high school and the elementary school will serve as the voting precincts.

Several other votes related to the bond issue were passed on Tuesday night. They included an agreement with Consolidated Construction Co., of Bismarck as general contractor. A unanimous vote called for CCC to be the construction manager and a third vote accepted CCC’s fee proposal.

Following the 11 percent defeat in 2013, Superintendent Duane Mueller and then school board President Jan Kostad both told The Kenmare News that eventually changes were going to have to be made.

At the time, a cost of nearly $10 million would have brought the elementary school up to code.

“We’ll need that (funding) to remodel and we don’t have the funds,” Kostad said. “One way or another, we’d need some kind of a bond issue.”

In other business:

• Activities Chairman Lars Christensen reported on a meeting with Bowbells and Lignite representatives regarding a 2019 baseball co-op with the two communities.

“A coach is hired, we hashed out salaries and talked about uniforms and expenses,” Christensen said. “It looks like our baseball co-op should be well on its way.”

• Huff and high school Principal Sarah Beckedahl discussed a plan to update the school’s website.

According to Beckedahl, it’s finally a cost-effective way to get everything up to date and current without spending a lot of money on technology or hiring additional staff to operate the website.

According to Huff, the initial cost is $6,000, then $4,000 annually and $3 per student.

“One website could control everything,” Beckedahl said. “It’s a one size fits all for the school. This would allow one program to handle everything in a cohesive manner.”

Huff called it, “kind of a no-brainer.”

“Tioga has been using it since 2012,” Beckedahl said. “It’s very user friendly and we don’t have to know web design, we just need to know content.”

She would like to see the new app, called Appogee, to be implemented by late July or early August 2019 so it is ready for the new school year.

The board later passed a motion to purchase the package and have it operational by July of next year.

• The board discussed Christmas gifts for staff. In the past, the board has provided staff members with $50 in Kenmare bucks. Business Manager Mary Ann Melin told the board money for this is set aside in the budget.

A motion to give each staff member $50 quickly passed.

• In her report to the board, Beckedahl said she is considering Title I across the board next year.

What it means is it’s a testing title for teachers, but all students can get help when needed.

Title I is defined as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that provides financial assistance to state and local educational agencies to meet the needs of educationally deprived, at-risk children.

The goal of Title I is to provide instructional services and activities to meet the needs of disadvantaged children identified as failing or most at risk of failing the state’s challenging performance standards.

• Mueller told the board in his report he is happy to report that five school bus drivers are now on staff for the five routes.

In addition, he said school will dismiss early on Dec. 7 to accommodate all the wrestlers who will be in Kenmare for the invitational tournament. School is expected to dismiss at 1:30 that afternoon... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!