The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday rejected an offer from the sole bidder, NJ Wilbanks Contractors, Inc., to build the new entrance. The Cherokee County-based company put in the offer for $2.97 million, roughly $200,000 more than the district's projected cost of $2.7 million.
The entrance would improve safety and traffic flow.
“This is not about there being a problem with the contractor,” the superintendent said, adding the one proposal was from an “extremely reputable firm.” “This is related to questions about soil conditions, and contractors tend to err on the side of caution when there are unknown factors in a construction project.”
District staff will investigate and test the soil at the site.
That information will most likely be helpful in the district's effort to receive a second round of proposals that will hopefully fall within the district's budget.
In other business, the board also tabled the proposed fiscal year 2015 budget for the Cherokee County School District.The $530 million budget was tabled along with the board approving a spending resolution which would be in effect July 1-31.
Additional public budget hearings will be held at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9 and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, at the auditorium. The board will vote on the proposed budget at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 23.
The proposed budget calls for no increase in the operating millage rate and elimination of the debt service millage rate, which currently is set at .4 mills.
It also allows for: continuation of the full 180-day school calendar for students; hiring of: additional teachers to reduce class size for kindergarten through fifth grade, half-time graduation coaches for all high schools and additional police officers and bus drivers; elimination of the remaining three furlough days for all employees; new initiatives to enhance communication with parents and school safety; increases in budget reserves; and other improvements to services.
“I really appreciate the staff’s effort on the budget,” Board Chair Janet Read said. “I’m especially excited that we’re looking at no furlough days… and how many teachers we’re able to hire. Everyone here is a taxpayer – thank you for everything you to do support us. The governor and legislature also didn’t have as much of a State ‘austerity budget cut’ for next year – and we really appreciate that.”