Middle school bid approved; last day of school now June 5

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

Two big items – one having to do with future school years and one dealing with this year’s calendar – were approved by the Monticello School Board during its regular meeting Wednesday, April 24. 

First, the board approved the bid of Portzen Construction, Dubuque, for the middle school project. The project will include construction of a new middle school which will connect to the south end of the high school building. It also includes three high school renovations: the entryway, auditorium addition, and bleachers for the gym. 

The low bid came as a relief to board members. In February, the board had concerns that costs for the project would exceed the amount approved by the September 2018 bond election by more than $1 million, but the low bid came in at $18,998,000, making the total project cost $22,339,604, or $539,604 over. Part of the board’s approval was for SAVE (penny sales tax) funds to be used to make up the difference. 

The estimated construction cost for the grade 5-8 middle school building is $17,098,000. The costs for the high school projects – all of which were included in the bond vote – are $1,300,000 for the high school entry, $475,000 for the auditorium addition, and $125,000 for the high school bleachers. Design/agency fees and owner purchased items, minus the tax-exempt amount, bring that total to the above-mentioned figure. 

The other big item involved this year’s school calendar. The numerous snow days encountered by districts throughout Eastern Iowa had pushed the last day of school to June 7. On Wednesday, the board took the recommendation of Superintendent Brian Jaeger, to use more of its hours originally allocated for early-outs and late starts, to knock two more full school days off the calendar. The move leaves slightly more than six hours available for weather events, and changes the last day of school to June 5. 

 In other board business 

• The board approved the 2019-20 proposal for substitute pay. Most figures will remain the same as this school year, with the exceptions of the daily salary for substitute teachers and nurses, which will increase by $2 to $122 per day; and teacher/nurse long-term substitute pay (after 10 consecutive days in the same assignment), which will increase by $1.15 to $160.46. 

• The board approved an agreement with Kirkwood Community College and the Workplace Learning Connection for the Concurrent Enrollment Partnership Program. The board had tabled the item at its previous meeting for lack of a quorum. 


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