Board will lease to purchase buses

Robert Blackford/Editor

After much discussion The Mercer County School Board agreed to lease to purchase five buses for the new district for a term of five years. The district will trade in three buses (two 14 passenger and one 65 passenger) to use as a down payment. The district will purchase two 71 passenger buses, two 35 passenger buses and one 18 plus 1 bus. Midwest Transit.

Mercer County Superintendent Alan Boucher made the suggestion to the board at the May 13 board meeting. Boucher said he was confident in Ernie's abilities to do maintenance work on the buses but believed the district will need to hire a mechanic's assistant. The buses will be purchased from Midwest Transit.

After much discussion the district agreed to purchase five base station radios for use in each of the district's school buildings. Board member Steve Willits felt that one base station was enough.

Food Service

The district will be hiring two cooks. The members of the food service committee are looking for a cheaper steamer than the $17,000 one they were originally quoted. The district will be moving the high school salad bar to the junior high school and will be purchasing a new salad bar for the high school.

Cell phones

The board members discussed providing cell phones to certain district employees. Superintendent Alan Boucher was instructed to contact the employees and see if they desired a district cell phone or to use their personal phone. The board also discussed paying employees to use their phones on work related business.

Bank of Record

Members of the board discussed determining a bank of record for the district. The district's checking account will be at this facility. Freedom Bank in Seaton, THE National Bank in Aledo and Country Bank in Aledo each made offers.

Boucher said the difference was in the interest rates on the accounts. Freedom Bank's offer was nothing less than 2.55 percent. The National Bank's offered 1.50 percent. Country Bank offered .0.75 percent.

Interim Superintendent Bill Rees noted that Freedom Bank's offer would mean an additional $10,000 in interest would be coming to the school over the course of a year. The district keeps about $1,000,000 in the account.

Boucher noted the fact that Seaton is farther away than the two Aledo banks but told the board Freedom Bank agreed to come to Aledo and pick up the deposits.

Aledo received $195,000 in ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) stimulus money while Westmer received $114,000 in stimulus money from U.S. President Barack Obama. The money will be used for a handicap accessible elevator for Mercer County High School and possibly for making a restroom handicap accessible in New Boston.

Rees said he wants to put up a fence around the grade school at New Boston for the protection of the children there.

In other news:

• The board approved the treasurer's job description.

• The board agreed to allow each school building to keep money from the building's activity fund in whatever school they choose.

• The board agreed to allow Jenny Russell to purchases pom pon uniforms for the squad from Varsity for $2,716.90.

• The board approved allowing junior high band director Marsha Krstic to purchase band shirts for $30 apiece.

• The board appointed Mike Retherford as the Black Hawk Area Special Education District Representative.