The February 6, 2023, school board meeting was, for the most part, business as usual.
Tanya Pesses Cole, a 1st grade teacher from Browning Elementary, was presented the Employee of the Month Award by Scott Walker of Taylor and Sons. Her accomplishments will be showcased in a future Minden Press-Herald article.
Outside the regular maintenance fund expenditures, several high-dollar agenda items were approved, and the progress of the construction of Minden High School’s new multi-purpose building was discussed briefly.
The school board approved a new multi-year contract with IK Network Solutions for the purchase of E-Rate Category 2 Products and Services to replace the existing WiFi network in all the schools in the Webster Parish school board network for the amount of $549,603.50. E-Rate is a universal service support program through the Federal Communications Commission which helps schools obtain affordable broadband. The Webster Parish School District’s E-Rate is 85%, which means that the district will only be responsible for 15% ($136,101.03) of the total, which will be paid for out of the general fund. The current network is seven years old and was not built to handle 30 Chromebooks in every classroom.
The board also approved Change Order #2 for the new complex for the Minden High softball project in the amount of $40,051.22. This will be funded by the District 6 ½ Cent Sales Tax Fund.
Walker Construction Company was awarded the base bid to build the new visitor grandstand at the Minden High School football stadium. The contract amount is $798,400 and will also be funded by the District 6 ½ Cent Sales Tax Fund.
The regular maintenance fund expenditures will be detailed in a future Minden Press-Herald article.
Finally, Edward Angel, Sr. and Edward Angel, Jr. of ELA Group, the construction company charged with building the new multi-purpose building at Minden High School, gave a presentation to illustrate the reasons this project is so far behind schedule and over budget. In a nutshell, the reasons given were excessive groundwater issues and supply chain issues. The board will meet again to discuss this in-depth and make some decisions about how to proceed.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for March 13 at 6 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.