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home : news : city news June 27, 2017

Jamie Taylor/River News

The School District of Rhinelander Board of Education held its annual election of officers at Monday’s meeting. Re-elected to their respective offices were, from left, Mike Roberts, treasurer; Mary Peterson, clerk; Judy Conlin, vice president and Ron Counter, president.
Jamie Taylor/River News

The School District of Rhinelander Board of Education held its annual election of officers at Monday’s meeting. Re-elected to their respective offices were, from left, Mike Roberts, treasurer; Mary Peterson, clerk; Judy Conlin, vice president and Ron Counter, president.
5/18/2017 7:28:00 AM
School board approves maintenance projects
Mild winter results in savings on heating, plowing costs

Jamie Taylor
River News Reporter

The mild winter coupled with a lack of heavy snow allowed the School District of Rhinelander to save money budgeted for heating and snow removal. As a result, the district has money in its maintenance budget to complete a few projects that have been on hold.

The district's Board of Education approved the projects Monday after hearing from district superintendent Kelli Jacobi.

"Because our heating and plowing comes out of the maintenance budget, this is the time of year we wait to see how bad the winter was and see if we can get any projects done with the money we didn't use in heating and plowing," Jacobi told the River News last week after the projects were discussed at a meeting of the district's operations and strategic planning committee.

Since budgeting for heating and plowing is a guesstimate, the district tends to budget for a worst-case scenario to make sure there are adequate funds available. At the end of the school year, any excess money in the maintenance budget can then be used for various projects in district buildings.

At Monday's meeting, Jacobi again explained how the projects were to be paid for through savings in the maintenance budget.

"You're going to see a number of maintenance projects," she told the board. "We were very lucky in that we had what is spoken of a very mild winter. So a mild winter means we didn't have to spend what we could have had to spend on heating our buildings, the high cost of snow plowing, all of those things we have a lot of savings. So Jeff (Zdroik, supervisor of plant operations) and Marta (Kwiatkowski, director of business services) work very hard on prioritizing the maintenance and facility needs and try to get in as many of those projects as possible."

The board had some questions about the large differences between some of the bids. David Holperin, who ran the May 8 committee meeting in the absence of chairman Mike Roberts, said Jacobi and Zdroik assured them that all bids were confirmed with the companies to assure accuracy. In some cases the cost difference was due to out of the area firms factoring in transporting and housing workers while others were based on other factors.

New board member Benjamin Roskoskey asked if the repairs were for safety reasons or cosmetic in nature. Jacobi said that the majority of them were due to safety concerns while some, such as the roofing work, need to be done to prevent leaks from developing.

"The outside ones are definitely safety-related," Jacobi said.

The fire alarm replacement was needed due to the age of the current system and the lack of parts to repair it, plus the fact that it was beginning to trigger false alarms. The board approved all of the projects with separate 9-0 roll call votes.

The final total of the projects to be financed with money in the 2016-17 maintenance budget the committee approved is $677,267.54.

The projects are:

• Repair and replace various concrete and asphalt areas at entrances, sidewalks, ramps and curbing, etc. at various school buildings by C & M Concrete of Rhinelander at a cost of $38,126.

• Two roof repair projects at RHS and one at JWMS to be done by Mauer Roofing of Marshfield at a total cost of $202,800.

• Paint the gyms at Central Intermediate, and Crescent and Pelican elementary, the hallway of Pelican and the high school auditorium ceiling and walls by Lee's Painting of Rhinelander at a cost of $59,110.

• Replace the carpet and tile in various areas of the middle and high schools by Carpetiers of Rhinelander at a total cost of $79,921.54.

• Repave the parking lot at Crescent Elementary School and a section of the driveway at Pelican Elementary School by Musson Brothers of Rhinelander at a total cost of $62,557.

• Replace the floor of the gym, along with a new volleyball court at James Williams Middle School by Baseman Brothers Ixonia, Wis. for a total cost of $77,417.

• Replace the bleachers in the gym at James Williams Middle School by Goodson Furniture and Equipment of Milwaukee at a cost of $47,216.

• Replace the fire alarm systems and equipment in all district buildings by Per Mar Security Service of Schofield at a cost of $110,120.

Other business

The board also voted to exceed the current year expenditures paid by the district into the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Employee Benefit Fund by a total of 10 percent (5 percent extra) for a total of $2,203,539.36. Based on an actuarial survey and audit of the retirement benefits owed to the most senior teachers. This will ensure the district stays on sound financial footing in that regard, officials said.

The board also approved a 3 percent raise for all administrative staff and administrative/non-certified employees for the 2017-18 school year.

Ron Counter was re-elected board president, Judy Conlin will serve as vice president, Mike Roberts as treasurer and Mary Peterson as clerk for the current board term.

Jamie Taylor may be reached at

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