The Lansing School Board met for the first time in the new year Monday night, and board members heard a concern from an athletic track construction bidder.

The Lansing School Board met for the first time in the new year Monday night, and board members heard a concern from an athletic track construction bidder.
Board members Debbie Deere, Jeff Martin, Beth Stevenson, Claudia Logue, Richard Hauver, superintendent Randal Bagby, and board president Richard Whitlow also heard a construction update, and discussed a new after school program for Lansing Elementary Schoo.

A representative from Beynon Sports Surfaces, Dennis Regan, spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting. Regan's company was one of the unsuccessful bidders for the new Lansing High School athletic track installation project.

He raised a concern that the successful bid from Fisher Tracks didn't meet project requirements, specifically violating a prohibition against multi-layer tracks.
Regan said multi-layer tracks contain polyurethane, and he believes have less durability than "full-pour" tracks.

After hearing Regan's concerns, the board heard from Larry Jordan, of Hollis and Miller architects.

Superintendent Bagby asked Jordan: "The board needs to hear the truth about the bidding process and the product that they're committed to purchasing. The track surface that we're going to receive is not going to be layered, correct?"
Jordan said specifications clearly state the track cannot be multi-layered, and Fisher Tracks "submitted a substitution request that says, 'We meet the track requirements.'"

"They've put their name to it, that we're going to conform to the requirements of the specification," Jordan said.
Jordan said Fisher Tracks is a reputable company that has produced quality work around the country, and that he had seen no data to support the contention that higher polyurethane content resulted in a better track.
"That is part of what you pay us for during construction, to make sure you get what you pay for," Jordan told the board.

"We're well aware of what bad things can happen to a track, and we certainly don't want that to happen here. We're going to be very careful with this track."
Whitlow suggested testing the track before payment to make sure it meets project specifications. Jordan agreed the test is a good idea.
"Because you've outlined nice things you can measure," Whitlow said. "But, it is one thing to measure in a sample and another thing to measure on the track."
Jordan now plans to retain an independent testing agency to test a sample of the track before the project is completed.

In addition to the track discussion, Jordan updated the board on the progress of new school construction, noting that foundation is being poured and steel structures are going up.

"Nothing exciting has happened, and that is good news," Jordan said.
"We've done pretty much all the digging we're going to do, and we haven't found any surprises in the soil, so that's another good thing."

McPherson Contractors and Hollis and Miller Architects will begin taking bids on athletic buildings — the press box, home side concessions/locker room building, visitors' concession/locker room, baseball concessions, and six dug outs — next week.

Logue asked about a recent fire department inspection.
Mike Williams, director of operations, said the fire marshal has done the inspection, and he was "perhaps a little stricter," but "nothing major" was found.
Also on Monday night, the board accepted an electric piano donation to Lansing Middle School from the estate of Colonel Alfred E. Hylton.
Whitlow expressed his thanks to Col. Hylton and his estate for the donation.
Next, the board heard a proposal from Vicky Kelly for a new after school program for Lansing Elementary third-graders.

Kelly cited recent findings from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that showed a correlation between third-grade reading competency and high school graduation rates.

"Third grade is so important because it is a pivotal year," Kelly said. "It is a transition year. It is the year students go from learning to read to reading to learn."
Third-grade reading teacher Libby Stevenson and third-grade math teacher Jeremy Farr, both graduates of Lansing High School, came up with the program to help "bubble students": third-graders whose test scores are adequate, but are not showing improvement from one testing period to the next.
Stevenson described the students as "about to grade level, but just need that extra push."

The proposed program would fill gaps between programs already in place to help students who are falling behind, and those performing ahead of their peers.
"This is help so that those students don't fall through the cracks and become the students that need a 'para' or an intervention program," Farr said.
The program would go from 3:15-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and would involve groups of seven or eight students participating in 30-minute sessions of focused help from either a teacher or a computer teacher in math or reading.
The program would involve more kinetic learning aids, like the use of beach balls, games, and whiteboards, especially for math.

Farr hopes the intensive, personalized instruction will help students get beyond recitation and towards understanding concepts, also noting that that understanding is helpful for meeting new Common Core requirements.
"You have to understand how you're getting your answer and why you're getting your answer," he said.

Kelly noted that while details are still being worked out, transportation home from school would be provided.

Bagby said money for the program is in the budget and the school district is "well within being able to afford" the program. The board unanimously approved the new after-school program.