The Clarke County School Board was repeatedly in full agreement at two special meetings on Tuesday night clearing the way for forward movement on both the school budget and building project.
At its last meeting Chairperson Robina Bouffault raised the issue of whether building contracts should be administered directly by the School Board or through a more conventional “general contractor” approach. After consulting with legal counsel the School Board voted unanimously to select a general contractor to administer the seven to eight contracts that will be required to construct the new building. The Board also voted unanimously to switch to American Institute of Architects (AIA) contract standards rather than continue to use the CMA.
The School Board also revisited the issue of whether Chairperson Bouffault will act as the School Board’s agent in monitoring the construction contracts. The School Board’s legal counsel also provided an opinion that Chairperson Robina Bouffault can serve as the Board’s Authorized Owner’s Representative provided that Bouffault does not personally obligate money or project changes without approval of the entire board. The legal opinion reinforces concerns previously expressed by School Board members that Bouffault not negotiate independently on behalf of the School Board.
In keeping with recent precedent, no citizens attended the 7:00 p.m. budget hearing. With no public input the School Board unanimously approved Superintendent Mike Murphy’s proposed budget. The school budget now heads to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors for further review and consideration as part of the county’s overall budget considerations.
With its budget deliberations complete, the Board took up the issue of Mosby Boulevard with its land-use attorney. The discussion was prompted by a letter from Berryville Town Manager Keith Dalton demanding that the School Board immediately surrender the Deed of Dedication for Mosby Boulevard (see Division Over Mosby Reaches Critical Juncture, Clarke Daily News, February 23, 2010). While Dalton’s letter left little doubt about his preferred solution, it opened the door for an alternative “perpetual easement” approach to the proposed Mosby right-of-way. Under such a compromise, the School Board would offer Berryville a perpetual easement that reserves use of the property intended for Mosby Boulevard until the street is actually built out. The School Board voted unanimously to offer the perpetual easement to the Town of Berryville provided that the Clarke County Zoning Administrator will not require additional public hearings on the matter.
Reopening the public hearing process could potentially delay the much anticipated school construction ground-breaking scheduled for early summer.