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HSD Tweeks Its Supplier Diversity Program, Probed By NAACP

New methods of verification were approved at Tuesday's HSD Board of Education meeting, and the St. Louis Chapter of NAACP announces its intent to seek council to probe district bid and contract records.

You could call Tuesday's Board of Education meeting short and sweet. It lasted all of 20 minutes, but some meaty subjects were discussed and approved, including some changes to the district's supplier diversity program.

The board of education approved a change to the verification process of companies that submit proposals on district bids. The change means companies will have to include certifications proving its Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), or Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) status. The companies will have to provide certifications from the Missouri Regional Certification Committee (MRCC), along with state certifications and documentation from other bona fide certification agencies in the United States.

"This will allow the district to include all bona fide MBE and WBE certifying agencies on a local, state and national level," said Assistant Superintendent for Communications, Diana Gulotta. "HSD also recommended the inclusion of an early payment provision for MBE and WBE firms."

Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis Branch of the NAACP, also discussed the district's supplier diversity program during patron participation. Pruitt, who regarding concerns he had about the amount of true MBEs and WBEs being awarded bid projects, announced the NAACP would be reaching out to the United States Justice Department with its probe into the district's Minority Suppplier Diversity Program and bid awards.

"We have reached a point were we are elevating our review," Pruitt said. "We've secured outside council that is working with us on some of our findings. We've also engaged the Justice Department to work with us and to look at our findings."

Pruitt said he hopes to have the organization's concerns regarding the district sent to the Justice Departmet's legal council by Monday. He expressed that major areas of concern involved the contract award of the lead construction project manager, along with architects and engineers used on construction projects. Pruitt added that the organization wanted to "get a feel for" the district's conflict of interest policy as it pertains to the construction manager and awarding of the bid contracts.

"Up until now, we are fairly satisfied that the district has been responding to us in an appropriate way," Pruitt said.

One of the contracts the NAACP questions, Pruitt said, is the district's construction project manager.

The board of education approved a new contract for Tom Mangongna, the district's current construction project manager. Mangogna has been contracted to serve as the acting project manager for construction projects and will oversee construction and renovation work done through Proposition H, Gulotta said. Mangogna's contract amount was approved at $8,500 per month, Gulotta said.

In other news, the board stayed conservative when approving the 2011-12 school year student fees and school lunch rates.

Student Fees

High school activity pass $45 High school parking permit $10 High school yearbook $40 Middle school yearbook $17 Replacement ID $5 Fee for paid transportation ($210 per semester)
$420 All fees remained the same, except a $1 increase in the yearbook charge, Gulotta said.
  Child Nutrition Meal Plans
Elementary School Rate
$1.55 Middle School Rate
$1.90 High School Rate $1.90 Adult Rate $2.50 The student lunch prices for full-price lunches only, increased by 5-cents, which is required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, Gulotta said. The adult rate increased by 25cents

The HSD Board of Education also accepted an Ameren UE grant award. Gulotta said the district plans to spend approximately $680,000 on upgrades to HVAC systems and system controls at both Hazelwood East and West high schools. Upgrades that she said equate to about $340,000 in annual energy savings. 

"The district expects to receive approximately $157,000 in reimbursement of the capital outlay expenditures from Ameren UE," Gulotta said.

The last matter of business the board approved was a bid awards to purchase 10, 72-passenger buses, along with elevators for Townsend and Walker elementary schools.

See below for details of the bid summaries for each award:

Bus Transportation Bid

No. of Bids

 three companies bid

Winning Bid Amount

$733,550

Winning Bid Contractor

Ponder Equipment Co, Inc.

Lowest Bid Amount

$733,550

Townsend Elementary Elevator Bid

No. of Bids

four companies bid

Winning Bid Amount

$232,000

Winning Bid Contractor

Wright Construction Services, Inc.

Lowest Bid Amount

tie at $232,000; Wright Construction Services, Inc and C. Rallo Contracting Co. Inc.

Walker Elementary Elevator Bid

No. of Bids

five companies bid

Winning Bid Amount

$362,000

Winning Bid Contractor

Wright Construction Services, Inc.

Lowest Bid Amount

$356,400; Novack Construction

Update: An earlier version of this article reflected the district transportation fee as $210. The fee is $210 per semester, $420 per school year.

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