HOWARD — It’s been a busy week for the East Knox school district. The board of education approved several items necessary for the upcoming construction project and the three seals that are defined at the local level.

Each school district is in charge of defining three out of the 12 diploma seals that are a part of the new graduation requirements for the graduation class of 2023 and beyond. The three seals include the Community Service Seal, the Fine and Performing Arts Seal and the Certified Student Engagement Seal.

“We were trying not to be stringent (about the seals,)” Steve Larcomb, school superintendent, said. “If you did it (participate in a sport or club) three out of the four years. It didn’t have to be consecutive.”

He said that if a student has to sit out a season for whatever reason, the student wouldn’t be penalized and could still earn that seal.

The Community Service Seal can be completed by completing a total of 60 hours at the high school level and can not include hours completed for family members or friends. The hours must be approved by the principal or the guidance counselor before beginning. All hours must be log and signed by the supervisor and submitted to the guidance office upon completion of activity.

The Fine and Performing Arts seal can be completed by earning three credits of Fine Arts. It can be a combination of band, choir, art and/or music courses. Students must participate in one sanctioned competition or event per credit. This can include the winter band concert, solo and ensemble, East Knox Art Show, the Governors’ Art Show or the Mount Vernon Music and Arts Festival. Students must also be members of the marching band and/or art club in years when receiving band/art credit.

The Certified Student Engagement Seal can be completed by participating in three seasons of a sport or three years of a school-sponsored organization at the high school level. The student must complete the season/year and maintain good standing with regards to attendance, eligibility and participation as applicable.

Also on the agenda was the approval resolutions to take steps in the construction project in regards to the new junior high and high school building. The two big items for this was selecting the construction manager at risk and architect.

The board approved the superintendent’s recommendation of Elford, Inc. as the construction manager at risk (CMR). The superintendent, along with legal counsel, will now be allowed to enter into negotiations with Elford in an amount not to exceed $55,450.

Derrick Steinmetz, vice president of the board who sat in on interviews for the CMR, said that Elford was “very well prepared.”

“When they came in, they were able to talk about our site like our maintenance supervisor talks about our site,” Steinmetz said.

Board president Matt Schwartz said Elford was also chosen because they possessed a good security measure of running background checks on everyone who will be on site.

“They’re very impressive in their timeline,” Larcomb said.

The board also approved a contract with Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc. as the architect for the project. Fanning/Howey has agreed to provide design services and related construction administration services in an amount not to exceed $1,097,531. Larcomb said they have worked with Fanning/Howey in the past when building the elementary school building.

The board approved a contract with Master Renovations Inc. for the construction of a storage barn at the cost not exceeding $85,000. The board approved a lease for the modular classrooms units through Aries Building Systems, LLC at an amount not to exceed $963,259.48. Larcomb said that the teachers will by far have more room in the modular units than in their current situation.

Also on the agenda, the board:

•Approved the re-employment of Jessica Busenburg as the district treasurer effective Aug. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2026 at the salary of $87,919.

•Recognized Bryce Phillips as the Knox County Spelling Bee winner and the retirement of Liz Mantel, who has been a bus driver for the past 26 years.

•Approved the purchase of 25 Hewlett-Packard Chromebooks from X-Tek Partners for $7,275.

•Approved the College Credit Plus Partnership agreement with Kenyon College effective Feb. 1, 2020 for the 2020-21 school year.

•Approved the revised contract with the Knox County Educational Service Center for the 2019-20 school year for $77,280.07.

•Approved various personnel including a long-term substitute teacher, coaches, substitutes and student teachers.

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Jamie Holland: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @



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