EPS board approves summer bond projects bids

EVART – Evart Public Schools will spend nearly $300,000 for an asbestos abatement as part of its summer bond projects at the middle school.

The EPS Board of Education approved a bid of $285,000 from Abatement and Demolition Services during its regular monthly meeting on Monday. Voters approved the district's bond request in 2015.

“We had a bid much lower than this bid, and there were some questions regarding the company that submitted the bid,” Superintendent Shirley Howard explained to board members and the public. “It's an out-of-state company. In the end, it was recommended not to accept that bid. … There were questions about extending the project and the extent of what the project would be.”

Howard said the price tag may seem a little high, especially after the lower bid. However, the superintendent added the next two bids for the project were $340,000 and $400,000, respectively.

“It's a big project,” she added. “It includes removing asbestos from the school, from the windows and the heating system, which includes pipes and tunnels.

“I'm happy with the bid of $285,000.”

The project is expected to be completed during spring, providing enough time for air testing, Howard said.

Board members also approved the summer bond project bid submitted by Quality Environmental Services of $9,620 for the gym/cafeteria floor. The project would be done during spring break, Howard said, in order for them to continue hosting the summer feeding program at Evart Elementary School.

Board members also determined Monday night to use the Collin's Superintendent Evaluation System as the tool to evaluate the superintendent, beginning this school year. Other districts in the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District have also approved the tool.

The board also approved the EMS road trip to Detroit for June 7. The trip will include stops at Ford's production plant in River Rouge, Hockeytown Cafe, among others, and finish at Comerica Park, to watch the Detroit Tigers play against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This is the 13th year the middle school trip has taken place, EMS Principal Jason O'Dell told board members via a video request.

Board members approved the senior trip to Chicago from March 25-27. Tentative plans include car-pooling to Grand Rapids and utilizing public transportation to and from, as well as during the time spent in the Windy City.

Howard updated board members on a handful of items during Monday's meeting.

The district has used all of its snow days for the year, the superintendent said. However, the district has been approved to apply for a waiver for three additional days, Howard said.

Howard also said representatives from the ISD's schools will be meeting to discuss the common calendar.

“All the districts have to agree on Christmas break and spring break,” she said. “This year, there were some other days that were brought up that there needs to be more discussion on.”

Howard said some districts elected to have school on the opening day of firearm deer season, while EPS did not. There also are other conflicting dates including Good Friday.

The superintendent also told board members the district's move to Chemical Bank is nearly complete. New checks and deposit slips are available and the changeover should be completed by the end of February.

“We moved to Chemical because we are saving money in fees and getting (a better interest rate),” she said.

The final item Howard updated board members on was the scoreboard at the football field. The superintendent said the district still owes money on that, and she and athletic director Pat Craven have discussed ways to raise the funds.

“We have received donations, and there are spots on the scoreboard to recognize those who have donated $2,500 or more,” she said. “(Craven) is not just going to businesses, but people who are willing to donate to help support the scoreboard and getting funding for it.”

The next regular monthly EPS Board of Education meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, March 12, at the board room.