Sheldon school board

Sheldon School District Board of Education members Steve Waldstein and Lori Richards listen to superintendent Cory Myers’ give an update on the district’s financials during meeting on Nov. 9 at the Sheldon Middle School library.

SHELDON—After reviewing a positive financial report, the Sheldon School District Board of Education moved forward with discussion on remodeling Sheldon High School during the Nov. 9 meeting.

The board unanimously approved the process of opening the project up for construction managers for preconstruction services.

“Really, what this is, it is just us being able to put out to construction managers and say, ‘We would like you to submit information to us,’ so we can make a selection on a construction manager,” said district superintendent Cory Myer. “This has to be out there for 14 days. Then that gives them time to look at it. Then they have to submit their qualifications. That has to be out there for 14 days after they submit those qualifications. Then we have a review time where we review those qualifications.”

The district will publish a request for statements of qualifications for construction manager at-risk services for the high school project on Nov. 28.

It is a two-step solicitation process with qualifications based on the following criteria:

  • Projects of similar size and score in either the public or private sector.
  • Past performance.
  • Safety record.
  • Proposed personnel.
  • Proposed methodology.

At the proposal stage, qualified respondents will be asked to submit their estimated fees for the project.

In December, the district will evaluate the construction managers and request proposals.

Then in January, the board will perform the interviews with the potential construction managers and later award the contract.

“It’s similar to how you would do an architect now, which is just more complicated than it used to be,” Myer said. “The process takes a couple of months to actually go through, so hiring a construction manager will take a couple of months.”

He said it will be specified to those who apply that it is a two-phase project.

The first phase will be the construction manager helping with the initial data collection and determining what the true costs of the project could be.

The second phase is the actual project, which would be remodeling the high school.

Construction of a new high school is out of the question because the district does not have enough bonding authority to do that.

However, changes to the outdated high school building are necessary.

“The first phase is something that we really know we need to do,” Myer said. “We need to bring somebody on board to give us a better idea of what we’re really talking about. Then the second part of that, that’s where the real work comes in.”

Board member Kecia Hickman said, with the complexity of the project, getting a construction manager on board will be good for hammering out the many details of the project, which have not been determined yet.

“Then we can decide from there where, what our options are, which direction we can go,” she said.

Board president Susan Resink said this gives the board another set of eyes on the project, especially ones with more expertise that will help with the planning and to meet the district’s needs for the building.

The 5-0 vote allows the district to move forward with the process to hire a construction manager.

Before that topic, Myer gave a review of the district’s financial shape, which he said remains steady and strong.

“It’s all really positive,” Myer said. “There really aren’t any concerns with anything.”

The district closed out fiscal year 2021-22 with at total general fund balance of $11,602,504, which is up $1,074,513 from the previous fiscal year’s balance. Last year was the first time the district’s general fund balance exceeded $10 million.

Once again the district benefited from federal funding in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021-22, the district received $1,416,374 in federal funds, an increase of $380,390 compared to the previous year.

“COVID did skew those numbers a little bit but still a really good financial position,” Myer said.

The district’s cost per pupil between the two academic years did increase though. In the last fiscal year it was $7,227, which is an increase of 2.4 percent or $179 per student. That total will increase to $7,413 for fiscal year 2022-23. The number is set annually by the Iowa Legislature through state supplemental aid.

With inflation exceeding state supplemental aid increases, Myer is a little concerned.

“I am very nervous that it won’t go up enough to keep up with inflation, which fortunately for us, we’re in really good financial position right now,” Myer said. “So, that’s going to be OK, but there are some long-term concerns of what that will look like — not now but a few years down the road.”

The district’s cash and investments also rose from $5,411,359 in fiscal year 2020-21 to $6,345,593 fiscal year 2021-22.

Those numbers represent how many days the district could stay open with the cash it has on hand. The answer is 169.8 days, which is an increase from 151 days during fiscal year 2020-21.

The target for cash flow is 90-120 as recommended by the state.

“If anything happened, we’d be in good shape,” Myer said.

OTHER BUSINESS:

Also at last Wednesday’s meeting, the Sheldon School District Board of Education:

  • Accepted the resignations of Sheldon High School volleyball coach Heather Keizer, assistant volleyball coach Nicole Dibbet and freshman volleyball coach Bailey Hennings.
  • Approved the following contracts for hire: Kristin Oldenkamp as an East Elementary paraprofessional and Christopher Kopel as a Sheldon High School paraprofessional for $14 per hour at 6.75 hours per day.
  • Had a second reading for the board policy review.
  • Approved a transfer from the management fund to the physical plant and equipment levy for $4,500 due to wind damage to the bleachers at the high school baseball and softball fields.
  • Approved a high school girls wrestling sharing agreement with the Sibley-Ocheyedan School District.
  • Authorized the district to dispose of school equipment that is no longer needed or deemed obsolete. Equipment sold will be advertised on the school’s website under garage sale items.
  • Approved the School Board Review Committee Application for a modified supplemental amount of $79,497 for open enrollment out.
  • Approved the School Board Review Committee Application for a modified supplemental amount of $45,886.47 related to the English Language Learning Program.