Barringer responds to failed levies

Craig Barringer, Superintendent of Schools, commented on Tuesday about the recent failed levy election in Conrad.

Here are some responses to the failing building reserves. Asked if the district was going to run another levy Barringer commented that the district could run one in the fall, but will wait until next year. 

“We should have done a better job of informing the community as to why we ran the building reserve levies for the high school and elementary,” he tells the I-O.

On the elementary, the district is still going to have to redo the roof at the Meadowlark School. They will have to find another fund and pay for that recoating of the roof.

Some of the technology plans will have to be put on hold for a year. 

Technology is a fast changing area of education. 

What the schools used five years ago now is considered outdated.  The past few years have provided major changes in how schools can use the technology to better individualize instruction, to gather data to improve student learning, and to enhance the overall learning environment in the classroom. 

“We will not be able to fully implement our technology plan this next year,” he said.

The school district was hoping to provide more efficient and natural lighting to the Meadowlark School. 

The plan to make some minor changes to allow more fresh air and better lighting into those classrooms will be put on hold.

At the high school they will not replace the bleachers on the football field this next year. 

The current bleachers are over 30 years old and time has taken its toll on them.  “We have been replacing and mending them for the past several years.  Each year it becomes more of a challenge to repair them,” Barringer noted.

On the security side, the district will still make some security updates in all of the buildings in the district.  The last legislature has allowed us to use funds from various accounts to make these needed updates, he said adding, “We will take funds from various accounts to ensure our buildings and grounds are more secure.”

Currently, the school board is in the process of making plans for replacing the boiler at Utterback Middle School.  Seven years ago an evaluation of that building projected a 10-year life of the boiler. 

Presently the boiler runs at about 60 percent of efficiency.  Regulating heat from the old boiler is challenging.  It is most obvious in the fall and in the late spring. 

“We are working on a Quality Schools Planning Grant that will help fund planning for this major change,” he said. 

The current projections put the cost of replacing the boiler with an energy efficient unit between $800,000 to $1,200,000. 

“This project will only get more expensive with each passing year. The return on efficiency will help the boiler to pay for itself over a 20 year period,” noted the superintendent.