A Lyon County Board of Education special meeting was hosted on March 8 at 5 p.m. at the Lyon County School District’s Conference Center in Eddyville. All six board members were present, as well as Superintendent Russ Tilford. There was no public attendance.

The special meeting was called to deliberate on the BG-3 — Statement of Probable Costs, COVID-19 funding, and legal training updates.

“This should have been a conversation we had weeks ago,” said Paul King, president/architect of Peck Flannery Gream Warren Inc., the architectural firm charged with the infrastructure renovation. The renovation estimates were marked up by 10% across the board, raising the base cost from $4.26 million to $5.8 million.

Robert W. Baird and Co. Inc., the fiscal agent responsible for determining the Lyon County School District’s bonding capacity, the district has $6.01 million in available funds for the construction project.

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) requires school districts and their third-party architects to submit school construction forms and documents to the KDE’s District Facilities Branch (DFB) for review and approval, per Section 162.060 of the Kentucky Constitution. KDE ensures statewide education facility infrastructure provides adequate and equitable learning environments for all students.

School construction projects cannot begin without a KDE reviewed and approved BG-1 Project Application form, the first step in initiating a project. A BG-5 Project Closeout Form is the last step before projects break ground.

Tilford and King began planning and negotiating in 2019. Two years later, the Board of Education remains undecided on the $5.8 million renovation project.

Kent Schoonover, board vice-chairman, said “All of a sudden, I’m feeling pressurized.” Schoonover invites faculty input to facilitate upcoming board negotiations. Chairman Denny Gray noted that school ends in 7 weeks.

The infrastructure update will replace windows, lighting, HVAC units, flooring, and includes several other electrical and cosmetic upgrades.

The high school is in poor condition, considering its 1960s construction. The elementary school was built in the 1990s, so it is in considerably better condition. These two wings will see the most improvements.

A regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 15, wherein the board will vote to begin the bidding process.

Other agenda items included updates on COVID-19 grants, school foodservice, special education enrollment, staffing needs, Medicaid billing, and a legal training update.

There is $723,182 for the second round of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund that is available for use.

A total of $176,398 remains in COVID-19 federal grants available for use for daycare services.

There was a net worth change of $257,510 in school foodservice. “A net change of over a quarter-million dollars — I’m really happy with that,” Tilford said.

The addition of a mental health professional indicates that special education and student mental health are a priority. With these expanded services and reprioritizations, a Medicaid billing position will be added to meet staffing needs. “Having the mental health counselor has been an asset for our kids,” Tilford said.

House Resolution 1319, American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, provides $1.9 trillion in relief funds for schools, public health, state and local governments, businesses, and other economies. During the weekend, the plan passed in the Senate, and with its implementation, Lyon County School District anticipates receiving close to $1.7 million in grant funds. President Joe Biden may sign it into action by the end of the week.