Any way you look at it, FCMG contract is a bad one for school

If you missed the July 18 New Hampton School Board meeting then you missed the “best contract ever meeting.”  None of the teachers, principals, or the superintendent have this great of a contract!  The board voted almost unanimously, 4-1, to  uphold the non-valid Facilities Cost Management Group (FCMG) contract indefinitely.  According to the superintendent, FCMG's contract goes "in perpetuity.” Hey, it's a NO SHOW job, send a couple drawings via e-mail, a little correspondence letters once in awhile. Just to make sure the "contract" stays open and maybe send a bill for unaccounted labor and "expected profits" and get paid. I haven't been able to find out if [FCMG owner] Merle [Rambo] is getting FREE health insurance through the school, but I wouldn't put it pass him.At least everyone else has to renew their contract annually. According to the superintendent, FCMG is the only one that can break the contract.The New Hampton district is "locked in" to one representative forever for all school district building plans, remodeling, or expansion.  And will get very handsomely rewarded for staying the course.  FCMG gets a $15 per square foot of existing building remodeling or expansion. Although that is NOT in writing, the board is allowing that verbal commitment to stand. (By the way, I believe nothing is in writing that would hold up in court, they’d have to sign another contract or amend the old one for that to happen.)  Plus, FCMG has the School Board over a barrel with the "it's either pay me $450,000 to get out of the contract or build my over sized, over priced school and pay me millions."  Either way Merle makes out like a bandit. This is probably why the Woods and Aitken Law firm advised NOT to sign a contract with FCMG.    I might sound a little sarcastic here and you might think it's got to be made up, but that's what's happening.  It's a tragic tale of events. NO one should have signed a contract  before bond passage. Especially this contract.  The board is convinced the only way to go forward is to stay in a bad contract. They have no plans to clarify the contract or get it in writing.  The superintendent said that, and I’m paraphrasing here: The only way out of the contract is to have several bond votes defeated, then maybe FCMG will concede and pull out.Part of me wishes to support that idea and that might happen anyway. There are other paths out there to follow. A good start would be to be open to suggestions besides FCMG.  You can get concept drawings for little or no money up front.  The only solution at any meetings so far was to do the 5-8 grade addition at the high school.  Remove the 1913 building and build a single story over the essential boiler, electrical service  and lunch room.  Remake the elementary wing with larger rooms.  And maybe something with an addition to the high school FFA shop area.  That proposed cost was over of $21 million.  I'm not sure if that includes FCMG's fees.  It's not in the contract to let anyone know.  If you don’t start asking questions then the next bond referendum will be here before you know it and you’ll be forced to vote NO on a building that you didn’t have a say in. 

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111
Email: tribune@nhtrib.com

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