BRAINARD – The East Butler Board of Education gave the nod last week to not only its new budget, but also to the next step in a proposed construction project.

The proposed project would renovate the kitchen and add a commons area onto the school building in Brainard.

Superintendent Sam Stecher reported the board approved on a 5-1 vote Sept. 5 advertising for Requests for Proposals (RFPs)from construction managers

Stecher said the district has a preliminary plan and estimate for the addition from architects Clark Enersen Partners in Lincoln. The RPFs would bring in candidates to put a final dollar figure on the project as well as oversee construction.

According to the superintendent, the kitchen area has needed attention for some time.

He said it is undersized for its current use and there are mechanical issues.

“So, it definitely needs to be updated,” Stecher said.

The new commons area would provide cafeteria space, something that is a bit of a make-do situation now.

“We are using one of our gyms as a cafeteria,” he said.

The problems that develop from that is the gym is also needed for recess and sports practice. Juggling the use of the gym can prove difficult at times, Stecher added.

No specific timeframe for the proposed construction is set. The superintendent said that will depend on the RFPs and the successful bidder.

The board also approved the district’ new budget and levy at last week’s special meeting.

The new tax rate was set at about 60 cents per $100 of property valuation. That is up from the previous year’s 58 cent levy.

Stecher said the general fund budget and levy was kept relatively flat, but the extra pennies come from an additional levy for the special building fund.

The fiscal year 2019-2020 budget puts about $450,000 of new money into the special building fund in anticipation of the proposed building project.

Stecher pointed out the overall tax asking from the district went down about $15,000. He said that was because land valuations for the district went down about 2 percent.

Property valuations in both Butler and Seward counties decreased, while Saunders County increased.

The board was still scheduled to meet in regular monthly session this Wednesday evening. Stecher said the special meeting to address the budget and construction was called last week because two board members were unable to attend this week’s meeting.

“Whenever it’s budget, I get nervous if we don’t have all board members,” he said.

Because of the deadline to submit the budget with the state, he said he didn’t want to chance waiting until this week and not having enough board members to pass the budget in time.

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