Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2017

School board approves bid for middle school parking lot

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | May 16, 2017
Photo by: Nicole Major/Ledger Photo Fairfield Middle School principal Laura Atwood speaks about her students’ growth during the Fairfield Community School District’s board of directors’ meeting Monday night.

During a public hearing Monday night at the Administration/Curriculum/Technology Center, the Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors approved Mike Nelson Concrete Paving Co. of Burlington to complete renovations to the Fairfield Middle School parking lot.

Matt Walker of French-Reneker-Associates told the board that the firm opened seven bids Monday, and recommended Mike Nelson for approval.

Walker said $487,000 was the base bid. Mike Nelson’s bid came in at $380,664.85. Other bidders included Jones Contracting of West Point at $397,777; Schaus-Vorhies of Fairfield at $436,546.68; Wesley Barton Construction of Mt. Pleasant at $437,821.08; Woodruff Construction of Tiffin at $450,026.00; TK Concrete Inc. of Pella at $452,860 and MJ Daly Construction Inc. of Burlington at $473,517.

An audience member asked where the money to pay for the parking lot would come from.

District finance director Kim Sheets said the parking lot funds would come from the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy fund. She further explained that the PPEL fund, which is derived from property tax, could only be used on capital improvement projects, such as the parking lot.

“School financing is just something that the more you study it, the more you get to know it,” said school board president Phil Miller, later adding that the district wanted to spend its money on the things that it needed, such as good parking lots, buildings and buses.

“We’ll be selling some bonds next month against future revenue generated by that levy,” Sheets said during an interview today. “It’s just like borrowing so that we can do it now instead of waiting five years. The parking lot needs to be done now. The air conditioning needs to be now.”

Sheets said the parking lot should be completed by fall.

May is school board appreciation month, and the district celebrated school board members.

FMS math teacher Lisa Greenig told board members that she appreciated their support, and that although she couldn’t give them $100,000 for all of the volunteer hours and all of the work that they put in, she could give them a 100 Grand Bar.

School Superintendent Laurie Noll gave school board members a certificate of appreciation for their service.

“The hours that you put in and the decisions that you are making are definitely affecting the entire community,” Noll told them, adding that they help to provide a sound education for students. “We are stronger than we have been in two decades.”

Fairfield High School senior Savannah Kelley gave thanks to her principal Brian Stone and Noll for all that they do.

FHS senior Anuja Pharasi received an ovation from the board, after sharing her experiences at the 55th United States Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C., in March. Pharasi was selected to join 103 other exceptional students from around the country at the USSYP as a delegate — representing both her state and Fairfield.

“The biggest takeaway is that there are an endless amount of opportunities from the Fairfield Community School District,” she said, explaining that students were not “disadvantaged” due to less funding, and that teachers should continue to bring the passion for education that they started out with to really help students achieve.

She said students in Fairfield could shoot for the stars.

Pharasi will attend Columbia University in New York in the fall.

The Ledger will have more on the school board meeting later in the week.

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