Royal Heights Elementary is the latest Joplin school to be targeted for asbestos removal.

The Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday night approved a $43,500 bid from Gerken Environmental, the lower of two bids submitted, for removal and disposal of asbestos floor tiles in five rooms as well as in tunneling left over from an old boiler system.

The work will be done when students are not in school, said Kerry Sachetta, assistant superintendent of operations. During a second phase of the project, the tiles will be replaced by carpet squares.

"There's not a problem right now as far as the asbestos itself; we check those (areas) twice a year," he said. "But we just want to eradicate that area."

The school board previously approved $166,000 for asbestos removal projects across the district as part of its 2019-20 capital outlay budget.

"We have about a 10-year plan to really minimize that throughout the district," Sachetta said.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

• Approved $29,500 to bring Great Minds, the publisher of the Eureka Math program that the district uses, to Joplin to hold three days of professional development training for teachers next summer.

The district has previously sent its educators out of the state to such training sessions. By bringing the training to Joplin, the district would avoid extra travel costs, lodging and meal reimbursements to its teachers, administrators said.

"Bringing them locally is going to save us quite a bit of money," said Sarah Mwangi, assistant superintendent of learning services. "We are at a similar price, without the cost (of travel and lodging)."

• Continued to discuss "multiple properties," according to board President Sharrock Dermott, for the location of a planned new elementary school to combine Columbia and West Central, the district's oldest elementary schools.

The district is pursuing a bond issue in next April's election for the construction of a new school that would house up to 450 students and cost an estimated $19.6 million. The bond issue, as proposed, would not raise the tax rate but would instead extend the amount of time that residents pay that rate.

Board members have been meeting in closed session, as allowed by law, for the lease, purchase or sale of real estate. But no decisions have yet been made on a property, Dermott said.

Emily Younker is the assistant metro editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.

Recommended for you