Members of the public who tuned in via YouTube to the first wide-advertised livestream of a Jefferson City school board meeting witnessed some historic moments take shape Monday night amid the usual financial and logistical reports.
The board unanimously approved its contract with Nabholz Construction as the district's construction manager at-risk for the two high school projects — the renovation of the current high school and the construction of a second.
Nabholz already had been working on the projects for weeks without a contract, awaiting final details and approval.
As of Monday night, the contract wasn't officially signed; that bit of finality will come with the stroke of board President Steve Bruce's signature. "It's just a signature, but it's a real honor," Bruce said.
The naming committee for the second high school will meet at 5 p.m. today at the district's central office, 315 E. Dunklin St. It will review district guidelines on naming buildings, discuss recommendations and review the public's 1,212 nominations for the new building's name, according to Amy Berendzen, district director of school-community relations.
In her update in the board's information packet for Monday's meeting, Berendzen said when the naming committee reconvenes Oct. 24, they will prepare a "top 10" list of nominated names, create a shortlist of three to five names and rationale for the board to consider and prepare a final report for the board.
Tonight also will be the second of three community town hall meetings organized in light of the recent racist photo incident involving some Jefferson City High School students.
Like the first meeting, this meeting is not sponsored by the school district, but JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum will be a part of it, along with Mayor Carrie Tergin. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at One in Christ Baptist Church, 900 Jefferson St.
At the board meeting Monday night, Linthacum outlined three of the district's upcoming community engagement events on race and diversity. The first of those district-sponsored events will be 6-8 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Boys and Girls Club. Linthacum said the two following events are planned for Nov. 7 and 8, but locations are still being determined. He expects them to be announced within the next couple days.
"I think it's important how we go about doing that, how do we reach that, and I applaud (Linthacum) for at least taking a look at that and how do we actually get there," board member Michael Couty said of examining hiring processes and how the district can develop a more diverse body of staff that matches the diversity of its student population more.
"We can give a lot of lip service, but I'd like to see action back into that," he said. "I think as a district and as a board, I think that we need to able to listen more than just talk. I think we need to listen to what those issues are, concerns, where people are coming from, where students are coming from. I think it's welcome."
In other business, Kurt Mueller has resigned as district safety and security coordinator. Mueller retired from a 30-year career with the Missouri Highway Patrol to take the position at the district about the beginning of the calendar year in 2016.
The district's chief financial and operating officer Jason Hoffman said Mueller left to take a more competitive position elsewhere, adding the district hopes to find a replacement soon.
Hoffman also presented a budget amendment and regular approval of the district's bus routes.
Full board packets are now exclusively being maintained electronically, and are available at www.jcschools.us/domain/3158. The recordings of the livestreamed board meetings are available at www.youtube.com/user/JCPSVIDEOS.