With school just finishing within the last few weeks, the Somerset School Board started looking toward the 2019-2020 school year at its June 17 regular meeting. The board heard an update on the upcoming construction projects from Superintendent Dr. Mark Bezek, approved a contract for athletic training services and approved the preliminary budget for 2019-2020.

Construction update

According to Bezek, he recently held the last walkthrough for prospective construction companies who are looking at submitting an RFP for the upcoming construction projects. The deadline for RFP's, Bezek said, was June 24.

"The committee will narrow down the submissions to the best two or three to bring in for an interview. The core teams at the middle and high schools met last week and are taking tours ... to get a look at what's out there as far as different renovations," Bezek said. "What will happen now is that we will look at the scope of the project and set the budget, but when stakeholders get involved there is always more that they want. We have to keep reins on the dollars, but that is the process we will engage in over the next month or so."

The tours took the core teams to schools on the western side of the Twin Cities that have similar issues to what Somerset is running into as far as work to be done, Bezek said.

Athletic training services

The school board approved the athletic training services contract with Westfields Hospital & Clinic during the meeting.

"The proposed bid from Westfields is actually less than what we have currently been spending. And it is an increase in services. I would say that the services being provided are at least the same quality, or even better," said Activities Director Trent Probst. "One of the things that stood out was that they were able to guarantee double-coverage for events. So if we have a volleyball game and a soccer game going on they will provide coverage of both sites at no additional charge for us."

The contract with Westfields guarantees the rate for three years, Probst said. Westfields currently works with the New Richmond School District to provide athletic training services.

Preliminary budget

The board also approved the preliminary budget for 2019-2020, which included estimated expenditures of $19,053,094.34 and revenues of $19,063,275. This would lead to a net gain of $10,180.66 and push the district's fund balance to $3,324,616.

"You can see that there is a lot yet to finalize and to update before we get to where we end up. Right now, it is about a net budget. The other bigger one is that we have our health insurance RFP still out right now, but we included a 9% cap because that is what HealthPartners offered us. So that is what we are using as our conservative estimate," said Director of Business Services & Operations Dave Gerberding. "We also have to know our student third Friday count in September, because that is a huge factor into what our revenue side looks like. The revenue on this budget does include the referendum and also has the current proposal from the Republicans at the state legislature, which is a $200 increase to the revenue limit per pupil aid."