Leader Blues

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

TOP STORY >>District seeks aid from state to rebuild

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

The Cabot School District and its insurance company are no closer to a resolution regarding Cabot Junior High North after a meeting last Friday, Dr. Frank Holman, superintendent, told the school board Tuesday night.

“There is still no resolution on an agreed upon price of construction and if the building is useable,” Holman said.
Because of that, the board agreed to revise the district’s master plan to include the rebuilding the burned out CJHN as part of a partnership program through the Arkansas Commission for Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation. The school district will know by May 1 whether it will get funding with the program.

The partnership program would provide state funds to the school district to help with construction costs as long as the building project was in the school’s master plan.

“This will cover all avenues with applying for the partnership program if the insurance company does not agree on a settlement,” Holman said.

Jim Dalton, assistant superintendent, said that adding CJHN to the master plan was “just one other way to cover ourselves.”
Holman added that the partnership program would put the district in both windows (insurance settlement or state funds) so that the district would not be left out in funding.

The district has received $7 million from Great American Insurance Company of Ohio for the fire that destroyed the $9 million Junior High North in August, but that’s not nearly enough to rebuild the eight-year-old school.

A preliminary budget to rebuild the school puts costs anywhere between $14-$18 million and is expected to take two years to rebuild.

The district has spent $3 million to date to cover operational costs and textbooks since the fire, which was ignited by a faulty light fixture, Holman said.

The 1,200 displaced students have been attending classes all year in trailers set up between the tennis courts and the Cabot Junior High North gym.

It is costing the school district $40,000 per month to rent the more than 30 trailers used to house the students.
Cabot School District has a blanket policy of $100 million for all the school buildings in the district.

The policy covers full-replacement value of the buildings. Full-replacement value is what it would cost to rebuild any of the buildings at current construction prices.

The district pays $123,000 annually for the coverage from Great American; the policy also covers the cost of contents and personal property.