Unanimous Selma City School Board decision expected to save thousands

Published 10:30 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not only is Selma High School construction under budget and right on schedule, but the construction of the school has allowed for minority and local businesses to be utilized.

At the start of the school’s construction, the Selma City School Board asked contractors to seek out local businesses and products rather than looking for the cheapest combination of the two. The only drawback is those minority businesses will be contracted out and replace actual Selma city employees.

On Thursday, a bid was approved at the meeting for lawn care services for all city schools. The board, in unanimous vote, approved the low bidder, Brackin Construction and Landscaping at $71,750.

Email newsletter signup

“Now there is a clause in here that if in 30 days things are not done, according to contract, then we can revaluate and we can go to the next company,” school board member Frank Chestnut Jr., said. “I wanted to make sure the playing field is leveled in Selma. In the past, minority businesses don’t have the insurance, they may have issues with paperwork.”

He said by going to this new contract, where the school system contracts out a lawn care company instead of hiring their own grounds keepers, a significant amount of money is saved.

“Our cost savings for this measure are going to be around $28,554, and that is because we had to actually lay-off the lawn care people in order to move forward with our contract,” Chestnut said. “Our contract is the way this board needs to go for certain jobs and that is a business model and it helps save.”

About 38 percent of the salary paid to the school system workers goes towards the workers benefits, Chestnut said, and by using this business model, they avoid that cost. The school system let go of three grounds keeping workers in 2012.

“And that is because of budgetary constraints,” Chestnut said. “We are not doing this because it feels good, because it does not feel good to do this, but because of the tightening of the belt from Montgomery with funds, we have to in turn tighten our belt as well.”