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

1 year 6 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, March 24 2016 Mar 24, 2016 Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:56:00 PM CDT March 24, 2016 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
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Jury selection is set to begin in the trial of a man charged with kidnapping, raping and... More >>
21 minutes ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 8:09:09 AM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
FARMINGTON (AP) — Authorities say police have shot and wounded an armed man while investigating a burglary at an eastern... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 7:21:00 AM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
FULTON - Fulton police arrested a man Sunday on suspicion of kidnapping and domestic assault. Someone called the Fulton... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, October 22 2017 Oct 22, 2017 Sunday, October 22, 2017 5:47:00 PM CDT October 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's capital city scored poorly in a recent ranking of cities evaluating which places offer the... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, October 22 2017 Oct 22, 2017 Sunday, October 22, 2017 4:07:00 PM CDT October 22, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Pet owners brought their dogs and cats to Lizzi and Rocco’s pet store for a halloween themed photoshoot.... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, October 22 2017 Oct 22, 2017 Sunday, October 22, 2017 3:58:00 PM CDT October 22, 2017 in News
FULTON - Through an exchange in the Columbia Mothers of Multiples Facebook group , Katie Hanney gave and delivered a... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, October 22 2017 Oct 22, 2017 Sunday, October 22, 2017 3:35:00 PM CDT October 22, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — In some St. Louis barber shops and beauty salons, customers might get sex education while having... More >>
20 hours ago Sunday, October 22 2017 Oct 22, 2017 Sunday, October 22, 2017 11:50:00 AM CDT October 22, 2017 in News
Moberly - An arraignment is scheduled Monday for a Moberly man facing several felony charges ranging from incest, rape or... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, October 22 2017 Oct 22, 2017 Sunday, October 22, 2017 9:00:00 AM CDT October 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- Missouri and Kansas will play a friendly version of their 'Border War' rivalry for the first time since 2012.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 22 2017 Oct 22, 2017 Sunday, October 22, 2017 6:56:00 AM CDT October 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - An armed robbery occurred Saturday night at an O’Reilly Auto Parts store on Cooper Drive. CPD officers... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 10:10:35 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - One man was taken to a local hospital for a gunshot wound received Saturday night. CPD officers... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 9:56:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
NEW FRANKLIN - The Missouri River Relief organized about 250 volunteers Saturday to remove trash from the Missouri River as... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 7:38:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Officers responded to reports of shots fired at about 6:00 p.m. Saturday at the McDonald's Restaurant on Stadium... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 7:36:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY – Four people were injured in a three-vehicle collision at Obermiller Road Saturday afternoon according to a sergeant... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:24:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
FULTON - Dozens of trucks raced though the mud to raise money for the Central Missouri Honor Flight Saturday at... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 5:48:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The state no longer will make children in foster care pay a $15 fee to get... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 4:56:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT- New bike lines were painted in Holts Summit Thursday to make cycling safer and more accessible. The... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 3:49:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Local entrepreneurs walked away with some cash Saturday after an annual pitch off competition. The sixth annual... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 3:42:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 47°
9am 51°
10am 54°
11am 58°
12pm 62°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
9:00a
Megyn Kelly TODAY
10:00a
Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
10:00a
Jerry Springer

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:01p
The Brave
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Valor
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld