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APS deems King CLC work ‘urgent necessity’

8/15/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

The Akron Public Schools (APS) can now again seek bids for work to complete the King Community Learning Center (CLC), thanks to a vote by the Board of Education approving a resolution to proceed under urgent necessity.

The vote at the board’s Aug. 12 meeting enables the APS to dispense with the required competitive bidding process. This will permit the district to proceed with soliciting proposals for the work without having to take the time to advertise, said Paul Flesher, APS director of facility planning and capital improvements.

The board terminated the general trades contract that had been awarded to Giambrone Construction Inc., of Hudson, following work on the building’s fluid-applied air barrier that was deemed unacceptable.

Giambrone’s contract also included roofing, masonry and interior work, according to Flesher, and now that work will have to be rebid. The district is hoping Giambrone’s bonding company will take over responsibility for the work and expense, but Flesher admitted there is a possibility of litigation.

The alleged failure of Giambrone has delayed other contractors from beginning their work, he said, and “all of the bad has to be repaired and new masonry put up.” He estimated the rework would cost about $1 million.

According to Board President Jason Haas, the vote for urgent necessity will “get work started again so the building can open in fall 2014.”

In other business, board members approved spending more than $304,000 to upgrade the computer systems in the schools so the district can comply with mandates imposed by Ohio House Bill 59, the new two-year state budget.

Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, Ohio’s students must take standardized tests on computers, but many schools are not sufficiently equipped, and the state has not provided funding for the increased level of technology that will be required.

Of that $304,000, $250,000 of it was passed as urgent necessity to upgrade the bandwidth at 18 of the buildings to enable the online testing. The money to pay for the required increased technology is coming from the General Fund, said Superintendent David James.

“The budget for technology has increased significantly this year,” James said. “We knew it was coming, but it [the extra cost] still means pinching somewhere else.”

In preparation for the start of school, 22 teachers were hired, along with several new building administrators. Among them was Maria Meeker, who will be the new assistant principal at Litchfield Middle School. Meeker was formerly a special education teacher and then dean of students at Innes Middle School.

The first day of school for students is Aug. 28. Haas said some schools already have students and teachers in them, adding, “Slow down!” while driving near schools.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway St. in Downtown Akron.

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