The architecture firm managing the Wichita school district’s bond issue would receive an additional $720,000 under a proposal school board members will consider Monday.
A proposed addendum to the district’s contract with Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture would award the firm $40,000 per month this year and $20,000 per month next year to continue managing the bond issue.
Shortly after voters approved the $370 million bond issue in 2008, the district hired Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey as bond manager.
The company’s fee – 1 percent of the total of the bond issue, or about $3.7 million – “was paid as of the conclusion of the contract” in December, said district spokeswoman Wendy Johnson.
“There have been no plan manager payments since that time, but … the plan management work has not ended, and SJCF has continued to perform plan manager duties,” Johnson said.
The firm creates project timelines, coordinates bidding, helps with property acquisition, works with district officials to keep the public up-to-date on projects, prepares cost reports and helps develop design standards that serve as guidelines for bond work, among other duties.
The bond issue, now in its seventh year, is taking longer than expected to complete because in 2011 the board voted to put bond projects on hold. At the time, officials were grappling with losses of about $4.5 million a year in capital outlay money from the state and millions more in federal funds for storm shelters.
Since then the district has opened five new schools, closed five old ones, redrawn attendance boundaries and launched the construction of its largest bond project, a $60 million new Southeast High School, scheduled to open in 2016.
On Monday, the school board approved a $1.3 million addition for Coleman Middle School. Only one bond project remains to be let out for bids and presented to the board: a new auditorium, practice gym and storm shelter at Robinson Middle School.
“Because of the pause and study … the original amount (for the firm’s management fee) was expended ahead of what will be final completion” of bond projects, Johnson said.
Schaefer Johnson also managed the bond issue in 2000 and was the district’s consultant on the 2008 bond campaign.