WORTHINGTON — The District 518 school board responded Tuesday night to a resolution from the Nobles County Board of Commissioners by passing a resolution of their own.
The county's resolution raised a concern about safety at the Oxford Street/Crailsheim Road intersection, where it's common for drivers to go too fast, especially coming from west of town. Worthington Middle School is located near that intersection, so the county asked the school board to use crossing guards to encourage drivers to slow down and assist students in crossing the street safely.
Board member Brad Shaffer expressed irritation with the county board for seemingly passing the buck to the school board rather than working together to find a solution.
"All they did was make themselves feel good by putting the resolution off on us," he said. "We were already thinking about doing it, then all of a sudden, they're these big heroes."
"I'm not defending the county board," said board member Steve Schnieder, who, outside of the school board, works as the Nobles County Public Works Director.
Schnieder suggested that instead of the two boards continuing to throw resolutions back at each other, everyone should pitch in and solve the problem as a team.
"What is education's part?" Schnieder asked. "There's got to be more we can do."
He offered possible solutions such as teaching students how to cross the street safely and working with drivers to help everyone understand why obeying the speed limit is important.
The proposed resolution asked the county to consider moving the speed limit sign on Oxford Street farther west, so drivers would slow down sooner. Schnieder pointed out a couple of problems with this request.
First, the county doesn't set the speed limits; the state does. All the county could do would be to request that the Minnesota Department of Transportation do a study and reevaluate whether that placement makes the most sense.
Secondly, the county recently had such a study done, with the results stating that moving signs doesn't prevent crashes, but implementing crossing guards has been found to have a marked improvement.
In the end, all board members present voted in favor of the resolution asking the county to do what it can to help with the safety of the roadway, and also agreed to have crossing guards in place.
Another point of contention Tuesday was the approval of contracts for architecture and consulting services on the planned community education building.
ICS Consulting asked for a lump sum of up to $496,000 for planning, oversight and close-out of the project, plus $36,000 for commissioning. Wold Architecture asked for $861,000 plus 5% contingency.
Initially, board members Adam Blume and Mike Harberts favored seeking other bids.
"That should have been done before we went down this road of planning and designing, which was approved a couple months back," Superintendent John Landgaard said, noting that three planning meetings have already occurred.
Landgaard also pointed out that the district has worked with ICS and Wold for some time now, and both firms have rapport with district officials and understand the district's model already. It was also noted that industry-wide, bids are likely to be similar from other companies.
"I don't think we're going to save any dollars by changing horses in the middle of the stream," board member Joel Lorenz said.
After hearing what the others had to say, Blume changed his mind. The final vote was 4:2, with Harberts and Tom Prins opposed. (Board chair Lori Dudley was not present at the meeting.)