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LP School Board begins new talks about building upgrades
Nov. 21, 2011

By Ivan Raconteur

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Lester Prairie School Board canvassed results of the Nov. 8 election during a special meeting last Monday.

The proposed $5.2 million building bond was defeated with 631 no votes, 391 yes votes, and two spoiled, defective, or blank ballots, for a total of 1,024 votes.

Based on those results, the board began preliminary discussion of what direction to take next in order to address facility needs.

Superintendent Mike McNulty said the facilities committee met after learning the results of the election and looked at some of the items in the building bond proposal.

The committee identified heating and science needs as two areas that must be addressed.

McNulty, along with committee members Board Chair Bob Carlson and School Board Member Gregg Machemehl met with representatives from Energy Services Group (ESG), the company that developed the proposed plan for improvements, to discuss options.

These are merely some of the possibilities that were discussed. The board will discuss the scope of the project and related costs in more detail during tonight’s (Monday, Nov. 21) regular meeting.

The estimated project totals for the scaled-back improvements is $3.2 million.

McNulty said the revised proposal includes no dehumidification, except in the central business office, which is occupied year-round.

It also includes no piping changes for the heating system. However, McNulty said the pipes would have to be tested to see if this is a viable option, since in the original proposal, the pipes were to be replaced.

If the pipes need to be replaced, this could cost an additional $900,000, McNulty said.

The science rooms would not be moved under the revised proposal.

The new proposal also included replacing the existing steam boiler with another smaller steam boiler, rather than with a hot water heating system as was in the original plan.

McNulty said the board will need to have a plan in place in the next few weeks if work is to be completed next year. Otherwise, due to “blackout dates,” the district would have to wait another full year.

Board Member Joe Miller said rather than adding ventilation to upgrade the existing science rooms, it would make more sense to add ventilation to the rooms where the science labs will ultimately be located.

Miller also asked if the revised proposal would use up all of the district’s local levy.

McNulty said it would use up approximately 52 percent of the deferred maintenance funds for the next 15 years.

Carlson asked if the school will need additional roof repairs in the near future.

McNulty said the largest section of the roof is a concern, and the last estimate for repairing that section was $100,000 to $200,000, depending on what type of system is used.

Miller noted that the board will need to consider some technology needs, such as upgrading electrical circuits in classrooms to accommodate new technology such as computers and interactive white- boards.

Discussion of the possible building improvement options was added to the agenda for tonight’s (Monday, Nov. 21) regular meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the school media center.

Audit report presented

Joel Stencel, audit manager for EideBailly, presented an executive summary of the district’s financial audit.

Changes in fund balances from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 included:

• general fund balance increased by $71,783;

• food service fund decreased by $25,446;

• community service fund decreased $7,239; and

• debt service fund increased $6,564.

General fund operating fund balances have increased each year since fiscal year 2007. The balances, including all reserved and unreserved balances, have been:

• FY 2007 – $569,681.

• FY 2008 – $804,965.

• FY 2009 – $944,384.

• FY 2010 – $1,105,849.

• FY 2011 – $1,177,632.

General revenue in fiscal year 2011 was $3,832,137. Sources of this revenue included 66 percent from state sources, 18 percent from local property tax levies, 8 percent from federal sources, 6 percent from other local and county sources, and less than 1 percent from local sales and insurance recovery.

General fund expenditures in fiscal year 2011 included 69 percent for salaries and wages, 22 percent for purchased services, 7 percent for supplies and materials, 3 percent for capital expenditures, and less than 1 percent for debt service and other expenditures.

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