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

1 year 4 days 17 hours 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) — Prosecutors say a Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis was part of a stolen identity fraud... More >>
1 hour ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:35:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - An area man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of stealing, trespassing and property damage. The Fulton... More >>
1 hour ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:20:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
HOLTS SUMMIT - Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows colon cancer rates have been steadily... More >>
1 hour ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:15:00 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two teenagers were arrested Wednesday and accused of ATV theft. According to a release, Callaway County... More >>
1 hour ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 5:56:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
COLUMBIA - Former MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley has accepted the position of president at the New York Institute of... More >>
2 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:56:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
CALIFORNIA - Three people were arrested on drug charges Tuesday at the Moniteau County Jail. According to a release... More >>
3 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:26:00 PM CDT in News
LAKE OZARK - Police arrested a man Wednesday morning following a vehicle chase in which the suspect allegedly hit a... More >>
3 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:03:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's transit system, JEFFTRAN, wrapped up a series of six public meetings on Wednesday. JEFFTRAN... More >>
5 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:08:00 PM CDT in News
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — A suburban Kansas City police office is hospitalized after being injured in a confrontation after short car... More >>
5 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:56:10 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers are advancing a proposal to ban Missouri cities and counties from using red-light cameras. ... More >>
6 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:48:48 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chuck Berry fans will have their chance to pay their respects to the late rock 'n'... More >>
6 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:45:11 PM CDT in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - Police caught a Kansas City man who is accused of multiple burglaries across Missouri, Pennsylvania and Arkansas... More >>
6 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:33:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Only one state spends less per capita on its public defender system than Missouri: Mississippi. That could... More >>
8 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:27:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri House has passed a proposal to spend roughly $242 million more than planned this... More >>
8 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:23:07 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Department of Social Services Acting Director Jennifer Tidball said Missouri still is giving money to Planned... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:49:00 AM CDT in News
FERGUSON (AP) — Police in Ferguson, Missouri, are investigating after a private security guard shot an armed man at the... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:47:37 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A man has been sentenced to life in prison in connection with the 2014 southwestern Missouri shooting... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:42:50 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Four St. Louis officers are suspended without pay amid internal and criminal investigations over whether they... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:36:25 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
8pm 61°
9pm 60°
10pm 59°
11pm 58°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
Blindspot
8:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
9:00p
Chicago P.D.
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
The 100
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Blindspot
8:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
9:00p
Chicago P.D.
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
The 100
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld