Bids for work on elementary school OK’d

JERSEY SHORE – The Jersey Shore Area School Board took the next step in an elementary construction project as it awarded contracts Wednesday.

The base bids for the project at Jersey Shore Elementary School totaled $11,787,678, which is less than the project’s construction budget of $12,573,000. The board also approved alternate bids the administration recommended, bringing the total construction cost to $12,581,898.

The board voted 6-1 to approve the bids. Board member Harry Brungard was the only “no” vote.

Brian Haines, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, noted that the bids came in last week with “a lot better results,” than the last bid opening. The project was put out to a second bid after it came in about $1 million over budget in February.

Brungard raised some concerns over the bid total as he noted that architectural design and project management fees were not included. Haines explained that the bids only were construction costs. The total project cost – which does include those costs plus permits – is set at $14.2 million, he said.

Burt Francis, borough resident, also raised concerns about the cost of the project during courtesy of the floor, stating that he expects a higher cost to the district. And no matter what the cost, he said “it is still tax dollars,” paying for it.

Another action the board made and the public worried about is their participation in upcoming school board meetings.

The board voted 5-2 to approve changes to policy 903, which deals with public participation in meetings. One change is that each member of the public now will have three minutes to speak instead of five minutes as it was previously.

J. David Smith, solicitor, stated that most of the changes came from the state School Boards Association. Superintendent Richard Emery noted that the change in time was an option the administration gave the board.

Smith said most area boards allow three minutes. The board president does have the right to allow a member of the public additional time to speak.

Keith Barrows, of Porter Township, asked the board to keep the time at five minutes because it takes some people longer to make a point than others.

Brungard and Heather Williamson voted against the changes.

In other business, Smith explained that the board directors will be redistricted into three regions. A special election will be held for one of the seats on May 21.