Staff Writer

The Liberty-Benton community expressed a clear preference on the second survey about school construction options: Build a new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade building, and renovate the high school.

Josh Predovich, a project manager with SHP Leading Design, presented the latest survey results at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Respondents were asked which of two options would be better for educational delivery, safety and security and traffic and parking.

In each scenario, survey takers preferred building a new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade building and renovating the high school.

Overall, they preferred that option by about 3-1 over renovating and adding to the high school to create a pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade building.

Those were the two options that were most popular on the first survey. The other ideas were preferred by less than 10 percent of respondents, so they were dropped from the latest survey.

The second survey got 428 responses, up from 397 on the first one. About 79 percent of respondents have children in the district, and about 81 percent said they live in the district.

The new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade building also received majority support — about 54.7 percent — on the first survey.

A community advisory team, made up of representatives from various sectors of the community, also recommended this construction plan.

Right now, the cost to the school district would be $20,639,978. That could increase if the district decides to add certain “locally funded initiatives” that the state would pay no part of, like a transportation facility.

Much of the project is split 57-43, with the state paying the bigger share, but there are some parts the state will not fund at all.

The new building could be positioned in a way that mirrors the high school, Predovich said.

It would be south of the high school. Affected sports fields could be moved to 10 adjacent acres farther south that the district purchased this year.

In other business, the board approved employing Brenda Frankart as director of federal programs and curriculum, effective Aug. 1, 2019.

This is a new position in the district. Frankart’s job duties will include overseeing special education, Title I and curriculum, Superintendent Mark Kowalski said after the meeting.

Frankart is currently the high school principal, and will be replaced in that role by Ben Gerken, who is currently the assistant high school principal and a math teacher.

Both received three-year contracts through July 31, 2022.

Rubright: 419-427-8417

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