Manila School Board discusses farm contracts

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Manila School Board held the last regular meeting of 2017 on Dec. 21. Business discussed included farm contracts, property issues, and any changes in the Facilities Master Plan.

Superintendent Pam Castor asked the board to consider possibly extending the length of the farm contracts. There are two contracts up at this time.

“Both are quality farmers and I think both will be interested in continuing,” Castor said. “We can discuss the terms and invite the farmers to make a presentation to the board at the January meeting.”

Several years ago the board staggered the contracts so all do not come up the same time which has worked out well.

Castor also said the district is working out the details and paper work on two properties near the school that have been donated to the district. She went on to say there is another property near the school the district may obtain at a fair price.

The board agreed to move forward with the purchase if the property becomes available.

The board expressed their appreciation for the donations and the sale of property to help with needed space for the school district as it continues to grow.

Castor then presented the Facilities Master Plan. She explained the Master Plan has to be reviewed each year and any changes or additions have to be submitted to the state department. The Master Plan has to be turned in by Feb. 1. Castor said the district would not be eligible for any partnership funds unless the Master Plan is in place.

“That doesn't mean we will receive funds for the projects, but we must have the plan in place to be eligible to apply,” she said.

After a lengthy discussion, the board decided to reverse the dates of construction on the track and softball/baseball fields. The cross country and track team numbers are increasing.

“Having our own baseball/softball fields would be nice, but right now our teams have fields to use at the city park and they do not have anywhere to run track, practice or host meets,” Board member Tracy Reinhart said.

Board member Monte Middleton agreed saying if they are going to compete they need a track on campus.

The renovations on the gymnasium were left in place including replacing doors, restroom work, general painting, etc.

“I've asked the contractors working on the building to look at the ceiling paint in the gymnasium and see what it would cost,” Castor said.

It was estimated a track around the football field will cost about $1 million.

Castor also said the putting greens, on the Master Facilities Plan, will be going in this spring after the new high school building is completed.

The board was in favor going forward with the gym renovations and the track.

“We are the only school in Mississippi County without a track,” Board president Jeremy Jackson said.

The board was in agreement to start plans for the track in 2018 to hopefully be completed by 2019, and then the board will begin looking at softball/baseball fields.

It was the consensus of the board Manila's population is growing and they need to consider all projects to meet the growth.

“We do not want to spend a lot of money on projects and then it not be enough,” Castor said. “There are some things we have to do now and we need to look at long term.”

Board member Tommy Wagner asked if the district is facing having to pass a millage for the track and gym improvements.

“My thoughts are most of the work can be done within the school funds unless we look at a new gym or a large addition,” Castor said. “Then we would have to look at all funding options.”

The board approved two policy changes, adding hazing into the current bullying policy and changing the wording in the policy adding students found to be guilty of bullying by the principal can be removed from club membership or team membership.

Castor announced the next school election date will be May 22. Petitions can be signed from Jan. 30 to March 1 and the filing deadline is noon March 1.

The two seats currently up for election include seats held by Danny Robbins and Paul Wayne Hicks.

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