Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


        Citizens, Parents, and Schools working together to bring Avon Grove into the 21st Century!

Special School Board Meeting to Approve Contract with KCBA Architects

Public Comment Resulted in a Resolution to have the School Board Approve all Contracts before Signing.

July 9, 2018

The School Board met on Monday, July 9th for a special school board meeting to discuss the contract being negotiated with Kelly, Clough, Bucher and Associates, Inc (KCBA) the architects  being considered by the School Administration for the project to construct a new high school and renovate the existing high school to a middle school.  School Board members include: Ms Tracy Lisi (Chair), Mr John Auerbach, Mr Charles Beatty, Mr Jeff Billig, Mr Rick Dumont, Mr Herman Engel, Ms Lynn Weber, Mr Bill Wood, and Ms Bonnie Wolff.  All were present for the meeting.

The meeting started with public comment.  Numerous members from the public expressed their concerns on the decision by the School Board on June 26th to authorize the approval of a contract with D’Huy Engineering without reviewing the contract. (Please see the update: School Board Votes (5 to 4) to Authorize Contract for Construction Management Firm Without Reviewing the Contract).  Members of the public stated that they believed it was the School Board’s responsibility to review the contract before approving it.  This is not something the School Board should abdicate to the School Administration.  There were other members of the public who stated that they believed the School Administration was in the best position to negotiate the contracts with the project manager and the architect and that a review by the School Board of the final agreements was not necessary.

A motion was made by Mr Wood and seconded by Mr Engle to authorize the approval of a contract with KCBA architects for the project to construct a new high school and renovate the current high school to a middle school as stated below: 

Motion to name and approve Kelly, Clough, Bucher and Associates, Inc. (DBA, KCBA Architects) to serve as the Avon Grove School District’s Architect for the project to construct a new high school and renovate the existing high school for conversion to a middle school; this award being in general accordance with KCBA Architects proposal and the RFP, subject however to final development, review and approval of contract documents and related terms by the solicitor and administration; and to authorize District Officials to execute such final documentation as necessary to memorialize the engagement approved herein.

Mr Beatty opened the discussion by stating that the board is voting on another resolution to approve a contract, this one over $4 million, without seeing the final draft.  Mr Beatty stated that by agreeing to this motion the School Board was declining to do its due diligence since it had not reviewed the final contract. In fact negotiations are still ongoing with KCBA architects so there currently is no final contract. Right now all the School Board has seen is a 1 page document with a few key terms

 At one point during the discussion, the school solicitor, Mr Andy Rau, explained that he understood that at the last meeting the School Board voted to approve the contract with D’Huy Engineering and at the current meeting the School Board would be voting to instruct the administration to proceed with contract negotiations with the architectural firm.  Mr Beatty then asked for clarification as to why, with the exact same wording of both resolutions, we are able to achieve two different results.  To correct this Mr. Beatty suggested that what is needed is another resolution to clarify that the School Board will review the final drafts of all contracts before authorizing the signing of those contracts.

Mr Wood responded that he believed that all the necessary items that required review by the School Board have been disclosed in the RFP  (Request for Proposal) submitted by the 2 firms.  Mr Beatty stated that the RFP was not complete and that he would like to see all the relevant elements memorialized in the contract.

Mr Dumont, who referenced Section 508 of the school code  and Mr. Auerbach stated that they believed it was their responsibility as representatives of the AG community to review the contract with the architect as well as the project management firm before the contracts are considered final and then executed.

Mr Wood was concerned that waiting for the School Board to review the final contracts could delay the project. He would like work to start as soon as possible. He is concerned about increasing interest rates and the cost of steel.  Mr Billig asked how we ensure that the School Board does not become involved in the negotiation of the contracts.

The school solicitor suggested that the School Board agree to the motion on the table but that a second motion could also be voted on that requires the final contracts to be approved by the School Board before the administration can execute them.  Approval by the School Board of the first two contracts should occur before the start of the 2018-2019 school year. 

The vote on the first resolution to name KCBA as the architect and to have the administration negotiate a contract with KCB passed 9-0.

The vote for the second resolution to require that the School Board review the contract for the project manager and the architect before they are considered final passed 8-1.

Mr Engel voted “no” because he felt that a “yes” vote indicated a lack of trust in the administration’s ability to agree an acceptable contract with the architect and the project manager.

Auerbach, Beatty, Billig Dumont, Lisi, Weber, Wolff, Wood – yes
Engel – no

Another Special School Board meeting will take place before in August to approve the contracts with D’Huy Engineering and KCBA Architects.

The public should be commended for coming to School Board meeting and expressing their concerns.  Your voices were heard and your concerns were addressed.

*Call to Action
It is important that your position on increasing taxes and the construction cost of building new school facilities is heard. It is critical that community members attend upcoming school board meetings and/or send letters via e-mail to the school board and administration to make their position known. The District Calendar can be found
here.   Watch the district calendar for updates.  Information about the board, including E-mail addresses, can be found

Please take a moment to join our mailing list to make sure you receive all future updates as they come out.

Click here to stay up to date. Encourage your fellow community members visit our website and do the same.