Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Whitley County Board of Education used technology in order to conduct its monthly meeting on April 10, and voted to approve additional paid leave for sick or potentially sick employees during the pandemic, if it is necessary.
The five-person board, who were all in separate locations, met through Zoom, an online video conferencing platform. The meeting was simultaneously broadcast over the school district’s website through YouTube for the public to see.
During the meeting, the board approved a measure that gives the superintendent the authority to grant 14 additional paid sick leave days at his discretion to employees, who may have to be quarantined or become ill due to the virus. This authority will last the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, which ends June 30.
“We’re in uncharted waters,” Superintendent John Siler said about the measure.
The other main item on Thursday’s agenda dealt with a new heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system for Whitley County Middle School.
The low bidder on the project was C-3 Mechanical, which had a total bid of $712,500 out of the nine total bidders.
The total project costs will be about $890,000.
Revenue bonds to finance the project are expected to be sold in five to six weeks with the interest rate coming in between 3.0 – 3.3 percent.
“We are really at an all time low on interest rates,” said Dr. Bob Tarvin, a representative with Ross-Sinclair, which is the school district’s fiscal agent.
Revenue bonds are the government equivalent of a home mortgage, and are frequently used to finance government building projects.
The project is being financed at no cost to the school district.
Every two year biennium, the School Facilities Construction Commission sets aside revenue that school districts can use to cover bond payments on construction projects, and that financing potential can be built up over a period of three biennium, and spent during a fourth biennium.
Tarvin noted that Whitley County has sufficient School Facilities Construction Commission bonding payment revenue built up to cover the entire cost of this project, and cover bond payments on another $440,000 project should the school district need to finance one.
In other business Thursday, the board:
- Approved the school nutrition summer feeding program, which provides meals for students over summer vacation.
- Approved an audit contract for the 2019-2020 school year with Marr, Miller & Myers certified public accountants, which has conducted the school district’s annual audits for several years.