The Columbia school district will have two high-profile new faces after Thursday’s school board meeting.
The board hired a new assistant principal for Columbia High School and met the district’s new school resource officer, in addition to continuing debate on the Parkview Elementary School roof project.
CHS needs a new assistant principal because its former one, Angela Huels, is now principal at Columbia Middle School.
To replace her, the board hired Scott Kuse. He most recently worked as a science teacher at Confluence Charter Schools in St. Louis and has served as a principal in the Poplar Bluff school district and assistant principal in the Affton school district.
Kuse, who is from a small town in Mississippi, thought Columbia would be a good fit for him.
“Being from a smaller town and enjoying smaller school districts, I saw Columbia as a great opportunity for my background and skill sets,” Kuse said.
“People I’ve met here in the Columbia area have already been extremely welcoming,” he added. “I’m looking forward to a great start to a great year.”
The board did not meet Kuse, but it did meet Columbia police officer Anthony Delaney, who will be serving as the district’s SRO. He is taking over for officer Zack Hopkins, who was recently promoted to sergeant.
“We want to congratulate Zack and commend him for a great job,” Columbia Superintendent Gina Segobiano said. “It was the first time we’ve had an SRO, so he was able to provide some insight and suggestions. We really appreciate Zack.”
Delaney has been with the Columbia Police Department for less than a year, as he recently graduated from the academy. Prior to working in Columbia, Delaney worked as a police officer in Cahokia and as a detention officer at the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Center.
He has a master’s from Lindenwood University, where he also worked in the school’s public safety department.
“He has pretty good knowledge as far as campus safety and things at a higher level, so we think he’ll do a really good job for us,” Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul said of Delaney. “He’s very personable, and I was joking with Dr. Segobiano earlier today that I think he’d rather talk to people and shake people’s hands than write a ticket.”
Segobiano said the district is happy to have Delaney.
“We’re excited to have Anthony, and we’re also excited to have Zack to be able to support him in his role, which will only continue to flourish,” she said.
In addition to these personnel changes, the board continued to debate issues surrounding the Parkview Elementary roof.
Board member Tammy Hines, who has driven much of this discussion, said she obtained bids from a third party for other roofing companies on the project.
According to documents provided by Hines, the two other bidders on the project – Shay Roofing and Bartch Roofing – bid $388,258 and $457,544, respectively.
She said the board was told CTS Group, the company running this project under a performance-based contract, selected the lowest bid from a company called D.E. Martin Roofing for the work in question.
Thus, Hines alleged the district was overpaying CTS for the project because she said they are being paid $678,000 while an architect probably would have charged a 10 percent fee to manage the project.
Board member Greg Meyer also took Hines’ side on this issue.
“We’re talking about a quarter million dollars here,” he said. “This is worth some time and investigation.”
Other board members disagreed with Hines and Meyer.
Board president Scott Middelkamp and vice president Greg O’Connor examined the bids with Segobiano when this project began, and both men said they were fine with the numbers.
“Greg and I sat down, we looked at those bids, we saw that was the lowest bid and I was completely satisfied that (CTS was) going ahead in our best interest,” Middelkamp said.
Middelkamp and O’Connor said they could not remember the exact numbers because they looked at them months ago, but Middelkamp said they were not “anything like” the ones Hines quoted.
Segobiano also disagreed with Hines and Meyer.
“Greg, Scott and I, we had the open bid,” she said.
“We saw the fees. We saw the costs. CTS is a reputable business. We’ve had great success with them.”
The board took no action on this item because it came up during the superintendent’s report and therefore was not an action item.
Also in the superintendent’s report, Segobiano informed the board the turf field at CHS will not be able to be replaced until November.