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Pana School Board green-lights new school

Cost is nearly $1 million over original estimate

Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Writer

(PANA) — By a vote of 6-0, the Pana School Board accepted various bids from a variety of contractors to build a new elementary school on Pana’s south side during Monday night’s regular session held in the Board Meeting Room of the Unit Office on East Main St. Member Anne Dorn arrived late to the meeting.

Ryan Fuhler, senior project manager for Poettker Construction Co. of Breeze, presented the bids which were let on Aug. 4, 2022. Total construction package cost is $24.9 million for all aspects of the building project. The original estimate which was offered up in June of this year was right at $24 million.

Fuhler said all of the contractors – 15 in all – have agreed to a no escalation clause, which means the prices which were bid are not subject to increases in cost.

He indicated they were happy with the turnout of bidders which totaled 60 companies.

The bid does not include a price for the demolition of the current elementary schools – Washington and Lincoln – which would be carried out once the new school is in operation. In earlier meetings, the costs were estimated at about $1 million.

Contracts will be sent out to the successful bidders this week, according to Fuhler and he anticipated the district could plan for a groundbreaking ceremony sometime in October.

With the bids approved, Superintendent Jason Bauer will go back and re-work the tentative budget for the 2023 Fiscal Year. The tentative budget, which school board members approved on Monday night, does not reflect the costs of building the new school.

Those figures and the revised budget will be presented during the public hearing on the budget which is set for Sept. 19, 2022, at 6:15 p.m. in the Library of Pana High School. It will precede the regular monthly school board meeting at 6:30, which will also be held in the library.

There is a new teachers reception at 5:30 p.m. on that night in the Panthers Den of the high school.

The current tentative budget shows an increase of revenues in the Education Fund of nearly $4 million, pegged at $16.6 million compared to $12.9 million the year before. Expenses are estimated at $13.9 million, compared to $12.7 million the previous year.

For all of the funds in the budget, revenues are estimated to be at $22.2 million, up from a year ago when they were $16.7 million. Expenses for all school district funds are $19.1 million in Fiscal ’23, compared to $16.6 in Fiscal ’22.

In the proposed budget, the Transportation Fund shows the largest deficit for 2023. It is estimated to be short almost $179,000. There is a deficit of $143,000 in the Operations and Maintenance Fund and almost $66,000 in the Debt Service Account.

The new budget still shows a health balance of almost $22.5 million in all funds at the end of Fiscal Year ’23.

In other business, the Board approved the addition of a self-funded boys bowling team at the high school. They also approved a $500 stipend to the girls bowling coach to assume the boys duties as well. The boys season runs from the opening of practice on Oct. 24 with the first meet no earlier than Nov. 4. Regional action begins on Jan. 14, 2023.

A donation from Mike Foster for a portable fence to be used for junior high school baseball was accepted. It will be installed at the high school field, west of the junior high.

Following a half-hour executive session, the Board returned to approve the following employment matters:

Hired: Teri Cutler and Angela Neal, district substitute teachers; Caleb Brown, delivery and substitute custodian; Greg Witsman, boys and girls high school head golf coach; Miranda Bratcher, fourth grade teacher; Zachary Senger, high school History teacher; and Amme Barr and Rebecca Dagen, special education paraprofessional. Resignations: Leandra Harmston, Title I and playground aide, Lincoln School; Jeff Emery, high school History teacher; and Erin Kealen and Steven

Nance, substitute teacher. Volunteer coaches: Ryan Casner and Eric Kingery, junior high school assistant coaches.

Additional duties: Paul Donahue, assistant high school golf coach; Steven Thompson, high school girls soccer coach; Patricia Wright, substitute teacher; and Tonya Eilenberg, crossing guard.

The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

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