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Road project to curb bus traffic issues; surveillance bid accepted

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Purchase this photo at dailystatesman.com NOREEN HYSLOP-nhyslop@dailystatesman.com Dexter's City Engineer, Richard Cochran, presented the proposal Tuesday to improve safety on two Dexter School campuses by rerouting bus traffic behind the middle school and Central Elementary schools. The roadway project will be placed before the board for final approval during February's meeting of the Board of Education.

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City Engineer Richard Cochran presented Supt. Dr. Thomas Sharp and Dexter School Board members with an overview of the proposed roadway project that will serve to provide easier access for both parental and bus traffic at T.S. Hill Middle School and Central Elementary. The plan, which has been discussed for several months, calls for construction of asphalt bus loops on both campuses where parent traffic will be prohibited.

Cochran will make some slight modifications to the proposal, based on board discussion Tuesday night. The final plans will be submitted at the February meeting for approval.

"If the plans meet with approval at the February meeting," Cochran said when contacted Wednesday, "we're looking at getting pricing bids opened in March or April and by May we should begin work."

Through an Interlocal Agreement entered into with the City of Dexter in September 2012, much of the work at the two campuses will be done by city employees. The agreement created a cost savings by utilizing city resources and expertise. While bids will be accepted for the project's asphalt and dirt work, a portion of the work such as tree removal and other tasks, will be performed by city employees.

The 2013 session of summer school also came under discussion during the January meeting. Plans call for the session to begin Monday, June 3 and to run through Friday, June 28 from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. The schedule calls for the teaching staff's day to begin at 7:15 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.

Assistant Supt. Dr. Roger Alsup presented a bid from High Tech Communications in the amount of $76,942.80 for a security project that will include the installation of state-of-the-art surveillance equipment district-wide. Board Member Kevin Bishop questioned as to why the High Tech bid was the only one received for the project. Alsup assured the board that three companies providing security systems were approached for a bid, but that High Tech was the only one to respond.

Alsup said High Tech was the only source around with the capability of providing the type of equipment and quality system needed.

The system will provide the district with some of the highest quality surveillance available, Alsup noted. The board agreed to the purchase.

On the same subject, Sharp said he and members of the Building Committee had inspected all four campuses recently to identify current security needs. Sharp conducted a walking tour with the school's architect to discuss possible upgrades, which include secured entrances requiring visual identification before an individual is allowed to enter a campus building. A cost estimate is forthcoming to accommodate the district's security needs.

Also discussed was the 2013 Rib-City Agreement. The Rib-City basketball tournament on Dexter's campuses has become one of the region's best attended summer boys' and girls' sports events.

"This event is not only good for the school system," said Board Vice President Betty Keirsey. "It's a tremendous boost for the city's economy, and we're very proud to have it continue in Dexter."

The agreement met once again with the board's approval.

The board also approved the 2013-14 school calendar, with an adjustment made to distinguish Professional Development Days from Professional Days. The calendar calls for a historic change in instruction days, with 175 days for student attendance, two short from the previous 177. The calendar also traditionally has three built-in snow days. The 2013-14 calendar has only one.

"The change was made in order to provide increased professional development to address major curriculum and evaluation mandates," Sharp told the board.

Board Member Nancy Mayer questioned how the calendar may play out with Gov. Jay Nixon's potential request to lengthen the school year to 180 days of student attendance. The extension, all agreed, will be dealt with if and when it materializes.

Sharp also told the board that only Herman Morse and Nancy Mayer, the two incumbents, had filed for a board position in the April 2 election. With no opposition, the two will be reinstated at the April meeting.

Along with personnel items (see sidebar), in executive session the board approved a recommendation for the A+ program sponsorship duties to be assigned to the high school guidance counselors. The duties were added to the sponsors' stipend list at six percent, making it three percent for each counselor for the two grade levels they serve. Current A+ Coordinator is Ann Polsgrove, who announced her intention to retire at the conclusion of the current school year.

In other business, the board:

* agreed to properly dispose of outdated technology-related items deemed to have no value.

* re-appointed Dr. Roger Alsup as Foster Care Coordinator for the district.

* adopted the revised 2012-13 budget, which had been previously adopted at the June 2012 meeting of the board.

* was presented with a proclamation from Gov. Jay Nixon commending their efforts during this School Board Recognition Week.

* heard a review by Dr. Roger Alsup regarding the initial CSIP meetig and follow-up plans. Information regarding the meeting and implementation of measures to improve scores will be presented in a forthcoming article.

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