Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Board searches for bond manager

April 19, 2007

The Eudora USD 491 Board of Education decided to begin a search Thursday to find the right person to oversee a November bond issue.

The district will begin advertising for a part-time project manager to help organize the district's pre-bond effort with the understanding the position would change to full-time if the estimated $40 to 50 million referendum is passed.

Before making the decision, the Board heard a presentation from Shawnee Mission School District maintenance and operation manager Bruce Kracl, who consulted with the district on possible bond management alternatives in 2005.

Kracl led the board through the duties required for project managers in the Shawnee Mission district, starting with the pre-bond responsibilities.

"If you had this individual they would be able to provide information to the public for voting on the bond issue," Kracl said.

After the bond passes, the manager would keep tabs on the architectural, construction and cost concerns of the project.

Although the district has yet to finalize the cost of the November referendum, the current understanding is the main projects will include a new first- through fifth-grade attendance center, a sixth-grade addition at Eudora Middle School and the conversion of Eudora West Elementary into a preschool and kindergarten center. The bond will also include new technical education, district and athletic facilities, a second phase to the high school, which includes a theater, and an update of the district's technology.

The district should currently focus on finding a person to help it through the pre-bond phases, before looking ahead to a possible full-time employee, Kobza said. The district currently couldn't afford a full-time manager, he said.

Because of the nature of the project, it might be difficult to find someone willing to come on part time, Kracl said.

"I think you can start looking now and maybe that person is out there," Kracl said.

The board wrestled with the possibility that if someone was hired on a part-time basis they might leave early if full-time work became available.

The position could evolve into a larger districtwide role, Kobza said.

"If you think the bond project will go at least to 2011 ---- five years from now ---- with the additional square footage we as a district will need a facilities person," Kobza said.

The potential for long-term employment should make this position a little more appealing, board member Mark Chrislip said.

With the bond referendum in November, the district still has time to find the right person, Kracl said.

The district should find an outside resource other than board members during the hiring process, board member Kenny Massey said.

"I would be leery of it," Massey said. "I know there is always more to it than what some piece of paper and what a reference will tell you," he said.

The board voted unanimously to begin advertising for the position.

In the meantime, the board also agreed to continue to rely on Kracl as a consultant.

Should the district not find a program manager, it always has the option of relying on a firm to manage the project, Kracl said.

The board will have a special meeting to discuss the cost of the bond at 6 p.m. Monday at the library at Eudora Middle School, 2635 Church St.

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