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COLUMBUS — The Lakeview Community Schools Board of Education approved more than $1 million in improvements to be financed with Qualified Capital Purpose Funds for improvements throughout the Lakeview school district.

During its monthly meeting, the board unanimously supported paying for $1 million in improvements, such as installation of a fire sprinkler system, to Lakeview High School with the capital purpose funds, of which nearly $53,000 would be used for additional items, also approved by the board Monday.

Those improvements would benefit schools throughout the district, such as re-keying locks so they may be locked from the inside in case of emergency, adding to the existing security system and software for mass communication and emergency information dispatching.

Superintendent Paul Calvert said those items, as well as upgrading the telephone system and concrete and drainage improvements along the north side of the high school, totaling $33,650, would be added on to the six-room addition bid project.

In July, the board approved a low bid of slightly more than $1.9 million for the Lakeview High School six-room addition. The bid was $275,000 below estimated cost, which prompted discussion about potential projects that could be implemented as a result of the savings.

The addition is part of the district’s temporary junior high solution to address relocation of the Sunrise Elementary School students and overcrowding issues at Shell Creek Elementary School and is expected to be in place for the 2009-10 school year since Sunrise students must be relocated before September 2009, the deadline for the district to turn over the Sunrise facility to Archer Daniels Midland Inc. ADM purchased the building for $500,000 and donated an additional $1 million to the district in July 2007. ADM has said it intends to use the site as an employee-training facility.

New rooms at the high school are expected to provide enough additional space to relocate the district seventh- and eighth-grade students. Kindergarten through sixth graders from Sunrise would be divided between the Shell Creek and Platte Center elementary schools.

Calvert said the improvements were recommended by the district’s safety committee and some of the additional improvements at the high school could be conducted at the same time as the six-room addition to help minimize costs.

Board President John Wurdeman said these upgrades, such as additional security cameras at the elementary sites, will enhance security throughout the district and help deter and respond to any type of emergency situation.

The financing source for the $1 million would be the district’s taxpayers as state law permits a levy of up to 5.2 cents per $100 valuation, or $52 per $100,000 valuation for capital projects, for no more than 10 years. The current levy rate is just under $1.04 per $100 valuation, or $1,037 per $100,000 valuation, with an additional levy of 1.6 cents per $100, or $16 per $100,000 valuation, beyond the lid. The levy lid is $1.05 per $100 valuation or $1,050 per $100,000 valuation.

The length of financing and amount of the levy increase for the Qualified Capital Purpose Funds will be determined at a future meeting of the board.

The board also approved increasing the school lunch prices by 20 cents for the 2008-09 school year, from $1.80 to $2 for daily student lunches and $2.30 to $2.50 for the adult price. The reduced lunch rate would not be changed as it is established at the federal level.

Also included was a 5 cent increase in the cost of milk, from 25 cents to 30 cents.

Calvert said the district wants food services to be self sustaining so a cost adjustment must be made to compensate for the rising costs of food.

“We want food to operate in the black, and to do that we have to increase lunch prices,” he said.

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