Ewing, Clearwater-Orchard

EWING — After concerns were expressed about the timeliness of materials presented to board members and a subsequent phone call to a school attorney, Orchard Original Board of Education members gave approval to a reorganization petition.

The Clearwater Original and Ewing boards also approved the petition during a joint meeting Wednesday evening here.

Orchard member Terra Williby cast the dissenting vote, leading to a 3-1 final tally, with board members Terri Hergert and Kristi Schutt absent.

According to petition language, a two-thirds vote was required for passage. What wasn’t clear initially was whether language in the petition required a two-thirds vote of those members present or the total board.

Ewing Superintendent Ted Hillman, along with Clearwater and Orchard superintendent Dale Martin, consulted with Steve Williams of KSB Law, who reported four affirmative votes were necessary to advance the petition.

That prompted Williby to say that she voted against the petition because “part of my deal with this was that I haven’t read anything.”

DeAnna Clifton of Orchard, who voted in favor, said she felt the same way. “You sit down to a document like this ... and you feel like you’ve got a couple minutes to look at it,” Clifton said.

Martin acknowledged that administrators need to do a better job of getting information to board members on a timely basis.

The document up for approval was an updated version originally presented and discussed with Williams during a May 23 meeting in Clearwater.

Williby subsequently moved to re-vote on the petition. She then changed her vote, allowing it to pass on a 4-0 total.

Earlier in the evening, all three boards approved hiring Hausmann Construction as the construction manager-at-risk for the project.

Four firms submitted requests for proposals and subcommittee members narrowed the field to Hausmann and Kingery Construction of Lincoln.

Firms gave presentations to a group comprised of board members, community residents, construction experts and administration on Tuesday.

Ewing Principal Greg Appleby said both firms fielded and answered questions about the proposed project.

Cathy Cooper, Orchard principal, said Hausmann’s presentation offered a strong local commitment. “That was a strong reason to go in that direction,” she said.

Clearwater Original board member Regina Krebs voted against the motion. “I’m not going to vote for a contract I haven’t seen. I haven’t read it,” she said.

Orchard and Ewing boards unanimously approved the motion.

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