Marshall Public Schools acquires services in preparation for new school year

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Marshall Public Schools Board of Education geared up for the start of school with the approval of multiple contracts and contractor bids Tuesday, July 26.

Among the district's contracted services for the 2016-2017 school year will be: $30 per hour to Kathy Monning for supervision of licensed practical nurses, $75 per hour for physical therapist services and $55 per hour for physical therapist assistant services from Fitzgibbon Hospital, $85 per hour to Perkins Freedom Mobility for vision services, $65 per hour to Research to Practice, LLC for supervision of speech-language pathology assistants, and $85 per hour to Crossroads Behavioral Consultants for on-campus staff training in working with students with behavior challenges and $65 per hour for the same services off-campus.

The contract with Crossroads will be a new contract for the district, financed through federal Title II funding.

"We have been working for the past three years on working with students that have behavioral challenges, and just basically all students and teachers as far as ways to be more supportive of students and less punitive and actually be teaching skills to students," Director of Special Services Terri Porter said. "...This group of people would come in and do some training with a select group of people like the principals, counselors, behavior support team, instructional assistants, and then those people would share that information with teachers on an as-needed basis."

Fitzgibbon Hospital will be replacing Starz Pediatric Therapy as the district's physical therapy provider. Porter said the switch to a more local provider, at the same pricing rate, creates savings by eliminating costs for mileage and makes scheduling easier.

Two bids for services were accepted by the board Tuesday. The first bid, from Thompson Quality Concrete for $61,676.40, will include concrete work on the south end of the circle drive at the high school and the high school sidewalk. The board decided it would revisit the bid for the sidewalk if TQC does not feel able to complete the work on both areas by the start of school. Board Member Mike Mills abstained from voting on the TQC bid with all of the remaining board members voting in favor.

The second bid the board approved will pay $27,320.20 to Converged Technology Solutions for a new phone system for the district.

"We're going to have to work to come down out of the AT&T contract," Assistant Superintendent Terry Lorenz explained. "We have one more year of AT&T contract full. ...Within a year, both of the two bids are going to be saving us anywhere between $15,000-$17,000 from what we're currently annually paying,"

Lorenz also provided an update on the district's summer construction work, noting that installation of a new heating and cooling system at Benton Elementary would be completed by the start of the school year. However, he said installation of a new kitchen at the Spainhower Building would not.

"We're waiting on a second bid on a hood," Lorenz said. "Once the hood's been decided, our guys are going to put that exterior wall that's going to have to be changed. We're going to put that in. ...That kitchen's not going to be ready for the start of school, but it shouldn't be too far after that if we get these bids on these hoods done."

The board also approved the federal form for free and reduced lunches. Mills said it was important that the district utilize the same policy at each school for the handling of students who are in arrears on their lunch money, something he said he felt was still not handled consistently from one level of school to the next.

"When the kids are in line, how do we deal with it when they get to that cashier if they've got the wrong pay," Mills said. "I'm still hearing stories about that, and I don't care how we do it. I just want to be consistent from kindergarten until they graduate."

Superintendent Carol Maher said the matter had been discussed with the principals during the last month of the school year and they agreed to end practices that would publicly designate or identify any child that owes money or receives reduced-cost lunches. Porter said she believed that, in the past, some of the secretaries had been passing out letters notifying of overdrawn accounts directly to the students, whereas now they would mail those to the parents.

Contact Arron Hustead at ahustead@marshallnews.com

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