Keystone hopes to start building negotiations soon
by Dennis Sharkey
Negotiations for a possible move for Keystone Learning Services could begin before winter break for schools.
Last month the Keystone Board appointed Ron Langston, JCN USD 339, Ed Courtney, McLouth USD 342 and Keystone Director and JCN USD 339 Superintendent Dr. Tim Marshall to serve as a negotiations committee with the Jefferson West USD 340 board. Jefferson West followed up last week by appointing Superintendent Dr. Scott Meyer, Board President Dreana McClurg, Don Knowles and Linda Jones-Giltner to serve on the committee to negotiate.
Last week Marshall told JCN USD 339 board members that some initial number crunching has begun and assessments to districts could increase by $1,200 to $2,400 per district except for Jefferson West. Utilities costs would be about the same.
“The goal is to come as close as we can to break even,” Marshall said.
There will also be an up front one time cost for the moving of all of the facilities to Ozawkie. That cost has not been determined yet.
Marshall said he doesn’t know what Jefferson West board members are looking for in an agreement but said he thinks they will be mindful of the cost to the other districts.
“It’s really early on to know really what their board wants,” Marshall said. “They’re going to want to save as much as they can but I think they also know that if they look at a retail rental agreement they’re running themselves and the rest of the districts out of business.”
Oskaloosa USD 341 Superintendent Jon Pfau sees a lot of positives with a move and that it could pay off in long term savings for all seven school districts. However, before any move is made, any additional assessments to districts will be monitored but he doesn’t see any expenditure growing to a number that could halt the process.
“You always got to make sure you know what the cost is going to be to make sure it’s not a budget breaker,” Pfau said “But I don’t think it will be by any means.”
Jones-Giltner said at the September Keystone meeting that Jefferson West had solicited the building to other agencies but did not receive a lot of interest.
Meyers said last week that he hopes the two groups can meet at least once before the winter holiday break.
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