DEWITT — Though change orders for the Central DeWitt High school expansion and renovation project exceed the $90,000 contingency fund, the good news is the entire project is about $344,000 under budget.

Steve Zbylicki of Frevert-Ramsey-Kobes Architects and Engineers of West Des Moines told the Central School Board Wednesday the estimated cost of Phase I and Phase IA additions is $3.196 million and to date the current project total is $2,852,523. A $4,000 overage for change order No. 3 puts contingency needs at $94,000, he said.

Work has been underground, Zbylicki said, but soon that will be finished and the above ground work should have fewer surprises. The recent added cost is a result of a need for soil remediation and installation of 10 underground piers or steel shafts. There is a 99 percent chance of being under the final project cost, he added.

Central Building and Grounds Director Keith Walker noted the project was somewhat behind because of the soil problems. Phase I and Phase IA include classroom additions, a fitness center and a vocal classroom.

In the curriculum update, representatives from the Differentiated Instruction Team outlined strategies to address student learning styles. Curriculum modifications can be made in content, process and product to meet individual student needs. Teachers completed a Learning Styles Inventory as part of their professional development in understanding learning profiles, middle school team members Jeanne Rogis and Theresa Wainwright said.

The board approved requesting $245,278 from the state for modified allowable growth for the district’s at-risk population in the 2007-2008 school year. The funding supports counselors, family resource personnel and a court liaison. A request of $413,867 was possible, Business Director Jan Culbertson said, but the additional money comes from local property taxes. The request will be added to the aid and levy workshop at budget time in March.

Revisions to the 100 and 200 policy series were approved, as well as some revisions suggested by the Iowa Association of School Board’s Policy Primer. The primer gave an increase in the amount needed for competitive bidding of construction and renovation projects for public entities. The increase is from $25,000 to $100,000 for contracts after Jan. 1.

An e-mail from resident Cathy Gannon prompted early discussion on the 2007-2008 school year calendar. Superintendent Carol Hansen told the board work already has begun on calendar items to study possible changes, such as the starting date. Board President Kurt Rickard said the administration and board should be open to valid suggestions.

The board recognized former board member Larry Burken with a plaque for his service, accepted the early graduation request of Meredith Peterson and approved employment of Ryan Streets as assistant varsity boys track coach at $2,263.

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