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story.lead_photo.caption In this Oct. 30, 2019, photo, students raise their hands to answer safety questions from location safety manager Patty Rodwhick, left, during a First Student Safety Dog Bus Tour at Moreau Heights Elementary School in Jefferson City. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Board of Education discussed student behavior, the construction contract with Nabholz, and transportation bids at Monday's meeting.

Chief of Learning Brian Shindorf announced office referrals have decreased by 1,000 from December 2018 to December 2019, and out-of-school suspensions have decreased by 2,000. He said he is working on forming a student behavior committee that will offer behavioral support structures for teachers.

While they are making progress in behavior, he said, the MAP assessment scores are not improving, so the curriculum team designed test-taking strategy workshops for the staff that will be available in a couple weeks.

On Dec. 20, Chief Financial/Chief Operating Officer Jason Hoffman said, the district received responses from three companies about energy performance contracting. They are currently evaluating those responses and deciding if any are a good option.

Hoffman also said they are working on solicitations to bid on Simonsen 9th Grade Center, which was declared a surplus property in November. This will be discussed at a special board meeting Jan. 27.

Hoffman said they added $9.9 million of scope to the contract with Nabholz Construction while still staying under budget. Additions added after the original bid include replacing the roof over the science wing and cafeteria at Jefferson City High School; adding additional window treatments to Nichols East Elevation; replacing drives and parking lots at JCHS; repairing brick structures at four buildings; and adding turf athletic fields to four stadiums.

The board approved a change order that increases the guaranteed maximum price by $1,687,000. A million of that will be covered by moving the contingency into the GMP.

In December, the district opened bids for transportation services. They have received bids from three companies: Durham, Illinois Central and First Student. Hoffman said they couldn't afford their first choice, which was a 29 percent increase.

One alternate bid from First Student adds 19 percent to the rates of the current contract as First Student provides the trainers and drivers, and the district would do complete administration of transportation — buying buses, hiring management, securing the facility and handling maintenance.

The other option would be to do it all themselves as a district. Hoffman said this option might save money, but there is a risk of increasing health insurance, and the additional employees would add to the payroll and workers compensation.

Hoffman said they have negotiated with First Student, and they have agreed to a 15 percent increase in the first year instead of 19, but then it would increase by 4 percent at the final. It would be a three-year contract with two one-year extensions. Hoffman said this seems like the best option, and he is working to negotiate that the contract does not include liquidated damages. A contract needs to be set in place by the time summer school ends.

The board approved the pricing structure for this agreement. They have not yet approved the contract.

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