Fulton schools approve qualifications on lighting project

The Fulton School Board approved qualifications during a special meeting Thursday for a contractor to perform the lighting upgrade project.

Facility Solutions Group was the only firm to respond to the district’s request for qualifications for the project, and Superintendent Jacque Cowherd recommended the board approve their qualification statement, which outlines FSG’s ability to design, plan and complete the lighting upgrade.

Although the estimate for the district-wide lighting modernization originally was anticipated at approximately $214,000, a qualification statement is not the same as a bid, and as such did not contain a dollar amount for completion of the project.

“So by accepting this, we’re not locked in if (their bid price) comes back at $250,000?” board member Rodney Latty asked.

Cowherd noted that was correct, adding that requesting qualification statements is required for zero-interest loans through the Department of Natural Resources that the district currently is pursuing as a potential source of supplemental funding for the project.

“One of the reasons we went ahead with the loan (application) is if we get to the end and we don’t have sufficient funds,” he said, although he quickly added, “I think we’re going to have plenty of resources available.”

Also during Thursday’s meeting, Cowherd talked to the board about Fulton Schools’ overtime compensation policy.

Noting that many educational institutions historically compensated employees who worked extra with extra time off, he said the district’s current policy allows for hourly staff to receive overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week — regardless of whether that 40 hours includes actual work hours, vacation leave or personal leave.

His proposal was that if the regular 40 hours includes vacation or personal time, extra time would not be paid as overtime at time-and-a-half.

“If they are on the job 40 hours that week — physically present — then eight hours on Saturday is time-and-a-half,” Cowherd said. “If there was personal or vacation time, it’s straight time until they reach 40 hours (of work).”

Board member Rick Gohring pointed out his place of employment follows those guidelines, a point which was echoed by board members Dennis Depping and Lisa Pierce. The board voted unanimously to approve the revised overtime policy effective Jan. 1, 2011.

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