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Officials say funding secured for new JC High School building

Board awards one-time employee bonus

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JUNCTION CITY — At a board meeting Tuesday, Junction City School District Superintendent Robby Lowe announced funds will be available to fund the high school elective building project by early November.

Though Eddie Bryan voted against it because he was “uncomfortable with it,” the board approved Lowe’s recommendation to authorize Beardsley Public Finance to move forward with selling a $1.3 million construction bond to finance the building project during a special budget meeting held Sept. 19.

“I’ve been in contact with Mr. (Ray) Beardsley. The construction bond is projected to sell during the first week of November. He will be at our November board meeting with paperwork to get the final signatures on and then that money will be put into an account,” Lowe said. “The design on that building project is on schedule. I talked to Michael (Rogers) today and he said he’s in the process of putting construction documents. Everything is on schedule … During Christmas, that’s kind of our project start time with a wrecking ball.”

The Junction City School Board approved Lowe’s recommendation for one-time bonuses of $1,000 for licensed personnel and $600 for classified personnel that’ll be paid out in the November payroll.

While it was revealed in the district’s Annual Report to the Public that there’s an “inconsistency” with comparative data, board Vice President David Barnette said he would like to see if the district could award merit-based bonuses in the future.

“What I’m used to seeing being on the other side of bonuses by employers in the past, it’s more consistent with producing results and reward. I understand not on an individual basis, but as a group goal or something along those lines,” Barnette said.

Elementary school Principal Teresa Matochik said the school’s leadership team will apply for grant funding from Lanxess for a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) laboratory that will be housed in the school’s library.

“That’ll be utilized during our library classes, but also classroom teachers are going to be able to come in, bring their classes in there and use that. We’re really excited about that,” Matochik said.

The high school already has a maker space and furniture was recently ordered for the space. High school teachers would use a Lanxess grant for “more maker space-typed things,” said Principal Joy Mason. Three teachers have attended a robotics workshop.

“The cost of going to the workshop they received that back in our robotics equipment so that’s really neat to see the things they can do there,” Mason said.

Board members also approved a student transfer to El Dorado; resolutions to accept the Cognos Report for salary increases and to hold annual school elections in May; the resignations of paraprofessionals Jasmine Brown and Laurie Mayfield; and to keep board positions as they are.

The Junction City School Board’s next meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the district’s special programs meeting room.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or bwilliams@eldoradonews.com. Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

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