Piggott School Board Reviews Bond Sale

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The details on the sale of bonds approved by Piggott School District patrons earlier this fall was reviewed at Monday night's regular board meeting. The board also approved a number of purchases, agreed on a soft drink supplier for the district and handled several personnel matters. During her report, Superintendent Charlie Powell noted the census at both campuses had fluctuated since the start of classes, although the overall total had remained fairly static.

With board vice president Hope Burns absent due to illness, the meeting was called to order by President Jeff Benbrook and the body dispensed with the usual consent agenda items. Also in attendance was board secretary Bradley Dunlap and members Chris Roberts and Jennifer Rahn.

On hand to review the upcoming bond sale was former Piggott superintendent Dan Lovelady, of First Security, Beardsley Public Finance. Lovelady was in attendance for Marshall Hughes, the representative who normally handles the district's business with the firm.

Extension of the current bond issue was approved by Piggott patrons during the regular September election, and the proceeds are to be utilized for a number of construction and repair projects. Lovelady reviewed all the particulars of the $6,950,000 bond sale, and the repayment of the note.

The funds from the bond sale will also be used to retire several other bond issues, along with providing the funds for construction and repair at both campuses.

Lovelady noted the bond sale was held Oct. 27, and will be finalized Nov. 19. He added there were a total of four bidders, which was a good indication. The trustee bank for the sale is Farmer's Bank and Trust of Magnolia.

He outlined the details of the sale, noting the first payment of $331,190.63 is due in February of 2016, and the final payment is set for February of 2045 to retire the issue. Lovelady also added the district has three years to obligate the funds to specific projects.

Following his presentation the board approved a resolution to allow the process to continue on a vote of 4-0.

The issue of the district's HVAC problems was reviewed by Powell, who indicated the new unit for the PHS cafeteria was being constructed. She also noted a contractor had been acquired to install the unit, at a cost of just over $31,000. Board members approved the expenditure without dissent.

In a related issue, the board also gave Powell permission to begin the process of bidding the replacement of the two HVAC units which serve the new gym. "We calculated our needs based on having 1,500 people in the gym in order to be able to adequately cool the building for an event such as graduation," Powell noted. Based on the suggestion of the contractor, the district is also planning to have small fans installed on the ceiling of the gym to better manage the HVAC system.

The bidding process on the gym units was approved on a vote of 4-0.

The board also approved a variety of purchases, including new computers for the administration office and several replacement surveillance cameras. "The computers in this (administration) building haven't been replaced in several years," Powell explained.

The board approved the purchase of six computers from ITsavvy at a cost of $709.31 each, and six monitors at $98.11 each, for a total of $5,238.92.

Board members also approved the purchase of 10 surveillance cameras from the same firm, for both indoor and outdoor use. Six of the standard cameras will be ordered at a cost of $344.11 each while four of the weatherproof units will be ordered at a cost of $470.17 each. Total price tag for the acquisitions was set at $4,339.87 and both purchases were approved without dissent.

The board also reviewed bids for the purchase of soft drinks, and approved a five year contract with Pepsi. Both Pepsi and Coke had offered bids on providing product to the district, and the various concession stands operated during sporting events. For the past year the district has not had a contract, instead opting to purchase from various vendors and pay C.O.D.

Powell noted the contract offerings were similar for the two soft drink giants, with Pepsi felt to have the more saleable products. The company will also provide a $2,000 rebate to the district each year of the agreement.

The board voted to enter into the contract with Pepsi on a vote of 4-0.

During her update to the board, Powell reported a cooler/freezer at PES failed early Sunday morning-but noted the warning system was down at the time. Luckily, the back-up system is still in place, and the problem was brought to the attention of maintenance personnel. A burnt-out fan was deemed to be the cause of the problem.

Powell also noted there have been changes in the census at each campus in the first nine weeks of school, although the total has remained nearly the same. "We dropped from 470 students at elementary at the start of school to 452," she explained. "But, at the high school we climbed from 427 students at the start of school to 438 now, so there's not a lot of change overall."

She also reported new weather-stripping has been installed at both campuses, and the effort is expected to save some $7,000 in energy over the course of a school year.

The board then turned its attention to personnel matters, and voted to contract lunchroom duty personnel at both campuses. The responsibility comes with a stipend of $900 for non-certified and $1,200 for certified personnel. The list was approved on a vote of 4-0.

Powell then presented the board with the resignation of Nikki Speer as PHS head volleyball coach, effective immediately. She noted Speer would continue as the Lady Mohawk softball coach, and as P.E. teacher at the elementary school. After a brief discussion Benbrook offered the motion to accept the resignation, and put the matter to a vote. But, Benbrook cast the lone yes vote, with Roberts, Rahn and Dunlap all voting no on releasing Speer from her contract.

Based on the action of the board the next item on the agenda, to consider hiring a new volleyball coach, was tabled.

Afterward, the board voted to hire Nancy Seal as the special needs bus aide at PES, replacing the late Tammy Parks who passed away earlier this year. The matter passed on a vote of 4-0.

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