BLUE EARTH - Blue Earth Area School Board approved a bid Tuesday for reconstruction of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at the K-8 building in Blue Earth.
The board accepted the bid of $5.4 million from Rochon Corporation of Plymouth.
The bid originally was $5.7 million, but contractors were asked to submit five alternate bids based on elimination of items such as roof access ladders and replacement of electric panels, which might be added at a later date.
Plymouth also submitted a single- phase construction schedule, which deducted $288,000 from its bid. Totaled, the alternatives reduced Plymouth's bid to $5.4 million.
"They wanted the work in January," Superintendent Evan Gough said of Rochon's desire to do the work in one phase.
Gough said $125,000 for asbestos abatement could have come from the local property tax levy, but that possibility has changed.
"We have worked with Ryan [Hoffman, of ICS Consulting] on coming up with $125,000 in the construction budget," he said.
That will result in a decrease of 0.85 percent in the property tax levy.
Jesse Hough, board member, suggested the money saved could be used to make technology upgrades.
On another topic, as the board was perusing the monthly bills, board member Dawn Fellows asked if new federally mandated changes to the food program - requiring schools to serve more fruits and vegetables - are creating more expenses.
"We haven't noticed any yet," said Al Wilhelmi, district business manager. "It's something we'll take note of mid-year when we update the budget."
In other business, Al Cue, assistant principal for K-8, said he researched how many students are being referred to his office for bad behavior: "Ninety-one percent of students K-8 have not received an office referral," he said.
Furthermore, he found out the worst day for referrals is the middle of the week.
"Our goal: start to figure out why," he said.
Turning to another matter, the board heard a report from teacher Gary Holmseth, who discussed the new "flipped" accounting class.
"I had a lot of [students with] really good grades, but the flip classroom is an adjustment," Holmseth said. "I think we're molding it in the right direction."
Hough commended Holmseth and other teachers who are utilizing the flipped classroom. It helps kids take classes they normally could not fit into a block schedule.