The Mexico School District No. 59 Board of Education discussed at its Nov. 20 meeting security and safety at its schools, as well as support from soft drink companies due to a change in products sold at events.

The board moved at its March 20 meeting to have the Missouri School Board Association Center for Education Safety perform walkthroughs of its buildings to evaluate building safety and security. The cost for the evaluation for the district is $17,000 — a $5,000 base fee and $2,000 per district facility.

Since CES has yet to do the evaluation, Superintendent Zach Templeton provided an update to the board about the process.

“They overpromised they had the ability to do it,” he said. “They were inundated with requests and couldn’t keep up with demand.”

Templeton said CES did an initial walkthrough of the buildings to compile the scope of work for the safety audit. However, CES has come back to the district saying they are not able to complete the work and are contracting it out, Templeton said.

“I don’t know if that price point will remain the same. I don’t know if the board is interested in that work still being done. We can continue forward if that is your wish, or do something different,” he said.

When a memorandum of understanding between CES and the contractor is finalized, CES or a contractor will return to the district.

Board member Kelli Teel said it would be nice to see what CES comes back and quotes for the audit cost. The previously quoted amount only covers the cost of the audit, not the bill for security upgrades at district facilities.

“Maybe come back with a new quote?” Templeton asked. “See if it is the same, and then make a decision based off of that?”

Board member Nathan Birt said that is the way to go, and member Brian Rowe agreed. Templeton said he would bring the new quote before the board as soon as it’s provided by CES.

Coke or Pepsi?

Rowe said that a booster club starting selling Pepsi at events and thus Coca-Cola pulled some of the support it gives the district. Rowe asked if the district should put out a request for proposals to then get a contract to sell one product over the other.

“We don’t have to accept it, but what are they going to offer us, because they pay money for that every year,” he said.

A contract to exclusively sell one company’s product would cover the needs of booster club as well as other clubs holding events where refreshments and snacks are served, Rowe said. Board President Dustin Pascoe wondered if boosters are a separate legal entity, which could limit the board’s authority in the matter.

“Are we in a position to tell them what soda they can and can’t serve?” Pascoe asked.

The boosters choice to sell Pepsi definitely affected the rest of the district, which would give the board some pull, Rowe said.

“Are we leaving money laying on the table we could be taking advantage of?” Rowe asked. “We could go to one of the districts that already have (a contract) and say what are your RFPs (request for proposal). … There is an opportunity for the (district) to have extra funds, and if we can use that to buy a scoreboard, uniforms or help improve our facilities, then we should.”

An RFP doesn’t commit the district to contract, Rowe said. He had a few more calls to make before he could make a motion to have the district draft an RFP to send out to the beverage companies.

Templeton suggested the district contact neighboring districts for their contracts, then revisit the subject in February or March, which would better align with the next district fiscal year plans. A decision could potentially then be made by May. The board decided to revisit the discussion at a future meeting.

In other business:

Custodian Basil Brown, who is retiring, was recognized by the board for his years of service to the district. He was not able to be present at the meeting. The Mexico High School softball team was recognized for winning the state championship in October. Filing for board positions starts Dec. 11. Those interested in filing for seats on the school board currently held by Heather DeMint and Scott Hobbs will have until Jan. 15, 2019 to file at the district office. The Dec. 18 Board of Education meeting will start 6 p.m. rather than 7 p.m. The board’s Christmas reception will take place from 3:45-5:45 p.m. with Pioneer Rewards distributed at 4:45 p.m.