Whether it was ready or not, students and staff have already moved into the new East Middle School. That accomplishment is scheduled to be recognized tomorrow during a ribbon-cutting ceremony which reportedly may be attended by Gov. Jay Nixon.
One day after that and more than five weeks after the last classes were held in the warehouse East Middle School, Superintendent C. J. Huff will ask the board to extend the lease on that warehouse for at least three more months and possibly more, so the district can get the property back into the shape it had promised for its owner.
The current lease for the building, which has housed East since the original building was damaged by the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, is set to expire Friday.
The following information was provided to the R-8 Board of Education prior to its 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Administration Building at 32nd and Duquesne:
The verbal agreement to remediate the building when temporary school use ended was inadvertently omitted from the initial lease. The proposed lease includes a remediation provision and an extension to April 30, 2014, to allow for the contractor to perform the remediation. If remediation by contractor, FEMA, or Joplin Schools requires additional time to complete, the lease date will be extended further to accommodate the project.
Despite the fact that the district has indicated in previous information released to the public that it is paying $36,000 a month for the temporary East Middle School building and will likely be paying a contractor or school personnel to do the work, the district's Chief Financial Officer Paul Barr attached a fiscal note which indicated it would not cost a cent:
Fiscal note- No cost to adapt this amendment. Lease cost and provisions to continue per previously approved items.
Simple math would indicate that the extended lease alone will cost at least $108,000. FEMA's part of the remediation will be to remove the buildings which were used for the gymnasium, music classes, and the safe room.
(Note: FEMA will likely pay a portion, at least, of the rent, but as hard as it may be to believe this, that's our taxpayer money, too.)