The Iredell-Statesville Board of Education held its first virtual meeting on Monday in order to comply with an executive order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper that bans public gatherings of more than 10 people to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The committee of the whole meeting began at 3 p.m. and the regular board meeting followed at 6 p.m. Both sessions were streamed on Facebook Live. The meeting could also be viewed on the I-SS YouTube Channel.

The board met in person as a governing body at the Career Academy and Technical School; meanwhile, Superintendent Brady Johnson and school administrators joined the meeting through ZOOM platform.

The school board has regularly livestreamed all of its meeting this school year, but Monday was the first time the board used ZOOM. The board has a policy in place that allows it to carry out the district’s business in a virtual setting.

Provisions were made to allow comments by email ahead of time and anyone who shows up to the meeting to speak would be allowed in one at a time.

Discussion of construction projects and the school board auditor contract were among the topics covered in the I-SS committee of the whole and board meeting Monday night.

The board unanimously voted to approve G.L. Wilson, a Statesville-based company, as the low-bid general contractor of the Brawley School project. The bid is $2,630,580 for renovations to the school.

The renovation work includes:
• Renovating the locker room areas;
• Turning eight classrooms into four combined classrooms for collaborative learning spaces for the IB program;
• Updates to the area behind the media center where there is leaking and fixing the high windows that leak in front of the media center.

• There are also two alternates built into the project. Alternate #1 is for HVAC upgrades in the administrative office area. Alternate #2 is converting the old cafeteria building into an arts and drama building for the IB program.

Mt. Mourne IB students will move into Brawley School and Northview IB students will move into Statesville Middle School in August 2020. Both schools are poised for renovations and updates.

According to Kenny Miller, I-SS assistant superintendent of facilities and planning, the funds used to pay for renovations will come out of the recurring capital budget. These projects were identified with the 2014 bond referendum projects, Miller said.

Board member Bill Howell reminded the board of the construction of the new I-SS high school. He said $80 million, the amount approved by voters in a March referendum, will not be enough to fund the project. He said that some things need to be put on hold and that the district needs to be frugal in the upcoming construction projects.

In other business, the school board discussed whether or not to change financial auditors.

While financial firm Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams and Co. came in as the low bidder with a fee of $27,500 for 2019-2020, I-SS Chief Finance Officer Wike shared her reservations with the board.

She said that the firm doesn’t usually audit individual school activity. Also, they received a poor recommendation from another school district.

After some discussion, the board asked Wike for input and she recommended the board continue with Coffey, Lovins and Co. with a fee of $30,700 for the 2019-2020 year.

The board voted to approve the firm Coffey, Lovins and Co. to provide audit services for the next three years. The fee schedules are as follows: $30,700 for both 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 and $31,300 for 2021-2022.

Wike said district administrators have been pleased with the firm’s services and believe the district gets a thorough review of its accounting and internal controls annually.