The bidding process was compromised last year for a multimillion dollar school complex planned in east Macon, but some lingering and new concerns about how companies are selected have again delayed the Bibb County Board of Education’s vote.
The $35 million complex for Northeast High School and Appling Middle School, paid for using money from the education special project local option sales tax, was delayed in December after Superintendent Curtis Jones’ recommendation about who should win the building contract was word on the street before the board voted.
The bid was re-advertised in December and its responses were presented at Thursday’s meeting. Sheridan Construction and Stafford Builders & Consultants, both local companies, were recommended of five that responded.
“I don’t know anything about the pricing of any of these companies,” board member Lester Miller said to the school system’s capital programs and procurement directors. “We want to get Northeast built and transportation as much as anybody … I’m just feeling real uncomfortable.”
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Miller said it’s important now to fine-tune the bidding process for the future, adding that the 10-member interviewing committee might not be diverse enough.
Board members Wanda West, Thelma Dillard, Daryl Morton, Bob Easter and Ella Carter also aired concerns about taking a vote Thursday night.
At a called meeting at noon Tuesday, the board will meet to address concerns and have questions answered.
Jones said he is “very focused on getting it done next week. … because I want to get the process going.”
Cameras coming to school buses
Motorists traveling in Bibb County illegally pass public school buses frequently, some say.
Too often, it’s without consequence, but that will end soon.
The board voted unanimously Thursday night to a contract with a Texas-based company specializing in transit safety.
The bus arm cameras offered to the district by Force Multiplier Solutions Inc. will be the company’s first in Georgia, but it monitors thousands of buses in Texas and Alabama.
The entire program is supported by fines and “there’s absolutely no cost to the district,” a company representative told the board.
The company will spend $10,000 to outfit each bus with an arm camera system and recoup its investment through violation fines.
In Georgia, the fine is $300 for illegally passing a public school bus.
The County Commission will have to pass an ordinance before the deal is official.
Also Thursday night, the board approved a $340,340 contract with Conditioned Air for the HVAC gymnasium project at Ballard-Hudson, Weaver, Rutland and Howard middle schools.