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April 2017 bond projects progress report

posted Apr 29, 2017, 9:09 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Apr 29, 2017, 12:43 PM ]
Here are some updates for the end of April 2017 on various construction projects funded by the August 2016 bond issue:

Tennis Courts work will continue in May 

Construction work on the new tennis courts at BHS will continue for awhile longer. In addition to finalizing the areas around the courts and laying sod, inspection of the fencing and court placement revealed some court and fence placements did not conform to the plans.
  
So on May 1 the new courts will be closed so that corrections can be made. The cost of shifting the fencing and net poles and providing two new coats of court colors  to match the placements in the specifications will be borne by the contractor.

The district has been impressed by the quality of the materials and surfaces provided by the contractor. Superintendent McCauley said, "The contractor has been great to work with, and we are confident these fixes will provide us with superb courts for our tennis teams that match precisely with the bid specifications."

This project is still coming in overall less than the original purchase order.

Tennis courts plan

Some work will be done in May to conform the new tennis courts to the plans.

Tennis courts in April

Bruin Activity Center remodel is almost complete

The new athletics weight room and cheer room in the indoor practice facility should receive occupancy clearance soon, after cleaning and clearing final punch list items.

Doenges Stadium renovations are 90% complete

New lighting and flooring have been installed. Now waiting on the delivery of lockers to complete the work. They are scheduled to arrive the second week of May

Softball field work slowed by rains

The work at the softball field west of Madison Middle School has been greatly slowed by spring rains. But new dugouts and locker room slabs have been poured and concrete block work is starting first on the dugouts and then on the locker room.

More buses arrive

Transportation Manager Orville Burks reported that four more new route buses arrived on Friday, 4/28. 

Bids status update

Bids have been received on the renovations for Madison Middle School and the auditorium seating projects at Madison and Central middle schools. The architects are working on contractor schedules.

Several bids come in the first week of May:
  • Hoover Elementary School and Central Middle School renovations
  • Jane Phillips Elementary School renovation
  • Boiler replacements for Bartlesville High School and Ranch Heights Elementary School
The architectural drawings for the driveways at Madison Middle School and Hoover Elementary School and for the remodel of the bottom level of Custer Stadium are 90% complete and should be completed in early May.


General fund relief partially offsets continued state revenue failures

Outside of the various construction projects, the prime motivation for the August 2016 bond issue was to shift some operating expenses from the district's general fund, allowing its fund balance to recover and to offset continued cuts in state funding. The funding collected since the bonds were sold in late 2016 has allowed $450,000 in general revenue expenses to be shifted to bond funds.

This bond funding has helped the district absorb about half of the net state revenue reduction it is expected to suffer by June.  Those revenue failures mean our district fund balance at the end of the fiscal year will be around 7%, whereas a few months ago we were on track to end at around 10%.
   
The district is projected to lose $900,000 in state funding by the end of this fiscal year in June 2017. The overall loss is due to revenue failures in the state's 1017 Fundwhich was established in 1990 as a dedicated revenue source by the HB 1017 school reform law. On April 27, 2017 State Superintendent Hofmeister announced that the state's public schools had lost $82 million since February 2017 and would lose over $100 million by June. This loss of funding is on top of the legislature's decision in May 2016 to eliminate all $33 million in textbook funding statewide and cut another $38 million in public schools activities funding, despite some politicians' misleading claims they held school funding flat and their failure to acknowledge that ever-increasing state enrollment means the budget would have to actually increase to keep pace.

Regrettably, state leaders have repeatedly failed to address the structural deficit in the state's budget caused by repeated income tax cuts, various corporate and industry tax breaks, various off-the-top funding streams, and failure to budget for the long-term economic cycles of the petroleum industry. Instead, in recent years they have relied on one-time money, a state roads bond issue, and draining various fund balances to balance the state budget. The schools suffered repeated state revenue failures in 2016 and now that has recurred in 2017 because the various financial tricks are now played out, with fund balances so low that cash flow problems in the 1017 Fund now directly impact schools after their budgets are adopted and employee contracts are signed.

So it has been up to the district and local voters to make up for the state's fiscal failures. The district is on track for over $1.3 million in personnel cost reductions in 2016-2017 and has implemented another administrative streamlining for 2017-2018 that should save an additional $160,000. The 2016 bond issue, which allowed $450,000 in general fund expenses to be shifted to bond funding in 2016-2017, will allow $700,000 to be shifted in 2017-2018. 

So the bond issue is why the district is not expecting other significant personnel reductions for 2017-2018, which will preserve programs and class sizes for its students. THANK YOU, BARTLESVILLE, FOR HELPING US WEATHER THIS STORM. However, unless the state addresses its revenue problems, we can expect additional staff cuts in future years and a worsening of the teacher shortage due to low teacher salaries.