TARGET 8: Embattled Hallsville School District did not put project out for bid

1 year 2 months 3 days ago March 24, 2016 Mar 24, 2016 Thursday, March 24 2016 Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:56:00 PM CDT in Target 8
By: Amber Smith, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

HALLSVILLE — Hallsville School District parents expressed anger, sorrow and worry about proposed budget cuts that would reduce spending by $911,675 from the 2016 budget year to the 2017 budget year.

A full room of parents showed up to a school board meeting in February, but were left with more questions than answers. KOMU 8 News investigated how the district got to its current financial situation.

February school board meeting

At the meeting, Hallsville School Board President Susan Daly announced Superintendent John Robertson resigned the day before. She also said Robertson had been doing the budget for years, but said the district always passes annual audits.

"Every year when we have our audit, which is required by the state of Missouri, we get high marks every single time," Daly said. 

At the meeting, Daly said the district got into the current financial situation because of a construction project that was passed in 2013 and completed in August 2015.

The construction project

Hallsville School District Director of Communications Marci Minor said the project added a new wing to the high school that has four new classrooms with state of the art technology.

KOMU 8 News filed a Sunshine Request for the request for bid (RFB) and accompanying bids for the project. The request for bid was first advertised on Jan. 28, 2014. The request said all bids would be received by the Hallsville School District until Feb. 11. 

The district received 13 bids and ultimately chose to go with River City Construction. 

However, Hallsville parent Terry Montague requested all documents pertaining to the construction project. He noticed a lot of invoices to B&B Services, but did not see the request for bid for that project in the files the district gave him. 

So, KOMU 8 News filed a Sunshine Request for the RFB for the work done by B&B Services. The Hallsville School District Secretary replied via email, "We did not have a bid for work done by B&B Services."

According to the Missouri Revised Statutes Section 177.086, on estimated expenditures $15,000 or more, the school district shall advertise for bids in at least two daily newspapers. 

KOMU 8 News requested all of the invoices for B&B Services. The invoices show the district paid B&B Services a total of $531,554, a much greater amount than $25,000. 

KOMU 8 News reached out the school district to see if there was an exemption or any reason there was no request for bid on the work done by B&B Services, but the district would not provide comment.

B&B Services ties to the project

The original request for bid said all questions should be directed to Eric Westhues of Connell Architecture. Connell Architecture provided the pre-bid estimate to total $1,660,000. River City Construction put in the bid for $1,701,000 and was chosen to do the project.

Since B&B Services worked on the project without a request for bid, KOMU 8 News looked to see if there were any ties between B&B Services and the district. 

The Secretary of State's website shows the B&B Services is partially owned by Eric Westhues, the same person who was listed as working with Connell Architecture. 

KOMU 8 News reached out to Westheus's office Thursday to get more details on the contracts; he was out of the office.

Reaching out to the district

KOMU 8 News reached out to the Hallsville School District all week trying to request an interview with acting Superintendent John Downs, who the district said was the appropriate person to respond. Minor said Downs was out of town all day Wednesday, and Thursday was the faculty professional development day, so Downs was busy. 

Minor said, "Even though he cannot meet in person, we are happy to provide answers, in writing, to questions you may have. You can email those to me, and I will be sure to send a response so you can wrap up your story."

Minor also addressed the documents KOMU 8 News requested saying, "If your questions are specific to the documents you have recently requested through the Sunshine Law, we cannot discuss those due to potential litigation." 

KOMU 8 News then sent the district questions about why there was no request for bid for work done by B&B Services. KOMU 8 News also asked if the district was aware of Westhues' connection to both Connell Architecture and B&B Services. The questions were sent Wednesday night. Downs emailed KOMU 8 News back to say a lawyer would be in touch with the reporter. 

Thursday afternoon, KOMU 8 News received a call from the Hallsville School District's attorney, Amy Clendennen. She said Downs is not the best person to answer the questions because he was not the superintendent at the time of the construction project. She said Daly is the best person to talk to, but she is out of town until March 28. 

KOMU 8 News emailed and called Daly Thursday and will continue to follow this story if Daly has any comment once she gets back to town.

Editor's Note: The statute number referencing bids for school districts has been corrected, as has the corresponding minimum for a bid process.

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a man who barricaded himself inside a home repeatedly fired at officers... More >>
6 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 6:54:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City, Missouri, police say they are searching for a man who shot two people,... More >>
7 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 6:46:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A new business pushes it’s clients to their limit and has them sweating bullets. Two former NFL... More >>
8 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:06:00 PM CDT in Sports
COLUMBIA - A resettlement agency supporting refugees had a surplus in donations, so it decided to sell some of its... More >>
9 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 4:47:00 PM CDT in News
As of 6:00 p.m. 23,491 Electric Cooperative member-consumers are without power As of 5:37 p.m. Saturday, Ameren reports that... More >>
9 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 4:21:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Traditional Native American food, crafts and dancing can be found at the tenth annual "For the People"... More >>
10 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 3:48:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Two teens were arrested early Saturday morning in relation to an armed robbery Friday night. Columbia Police... More >>
10 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 3:46:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
BOONE COUNTY - One person was extricated from a vehicle and taken to the hospital with serious injuries after a... More >>
10 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:53:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA— The start of the ninth annual Pedaler’s Jamboree was held on Saturday. Nine years ago when the event... More >>
11 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:24:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The 29th Annual Salute to Veterans Air Show is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28... More >>
11 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Three people were taken to hospitals by emergency personnel following a three-car wreck Saturday morning. A... More >>
12 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 1:08:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA – Public pools in Columbia opens for Memorial Day weekend, but they are still looking for more people to... More >>
14 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 11:29:00 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Two months after the idea was first introduced to leaders in Springfield, Missouri, the city's new... More >>
14 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 11:13:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a man who exchanged gunfire with officers during an hours-long standoff has... More >>
14 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 11:09:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers have passed a proposal in a special session that supporters hope will bring hundreds... More >>
20 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:13:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A father was sentenced in federal court Friday for threatening the attorney who represented one of his... More >>
1 day ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 8:04:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
OSAGE BEACH – People going to Lake of the Ozarks this Memorial Day Weekend may encounter severe weather, dampening the... More >>
1 day ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 7:56:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - A motor vehicle collision left a man seriously injured Friday morning. Elmer Redcay, 62, was northbound... More >>
1 day ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 7:53:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 61°
2am 62°
3am 64°
4am 64°
5am 63°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:30a
The Insider
2:00a
Paid Program
2:30a
Paid Program
1:00a
Elementary
3:00a
Paid Program
3:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
8:00p
American Ninja Warrior
6:00p
A Thousand Words
8:00p
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld