The Mars Area school board Tuesday rescinded the contract it awarded last week to ProGrass for artificial turf.
When district solicitor Tom King reviewed the contract, he discovered that the board had misread the specifications and did not award the contract to the lowest bidder.
The bid from ProGrass was $1.49 million. The bid from TPK was $1.36 million, Mr. King said.
TPK uses Shaw Sports Turf, which was listed as an “acceptable alternative” in the bidding documents, he said.
Board members voted 7-1 to rescind the contract with ProGrass, with William Pettigrew dissenting. They then voted 6-2 to award a $1.36 million contract to TPK to replace the turf at the Mars Athletic Complex and to provide turf for a new multipurpose field along Doc’s Way.
Gordon Marburger joined Mr. Pettigrew in dissension on that vote. Christine Valenta was absent.
“I don’t think the Shaw product is equal to the ProGrass product,” Mr. Pettigrew said. “ProGrass stands behind its product. There are no assurances that this is the case with this particular company.”
In other business, the board approved a contract with Edlio CMS Website Services to host a new district website, which will be up July 1. The initial cost will be $10,800 with an annual renewal of $7,800.
Also, officials got into a lengthy discussion with the high school student council representatives about a proposed change in how student council members are selected.
Senior Claire Staresinic, who reports on student council activities each month, said the council is considering doing away with popular election of council members.
She said that a lot of times student council elections become a popularity contest and do not always result in the best-qualified person being elected.
She said the council is considering having students apply to be on council by submitting a “rigorous” application and two essays. Students would also have to have a grade point average of at least 3.0 and perform 20 hours of community service.
“We might have a council of 20. We might have a council of 70,” she said. “People who really want to be involved will be able to do so … and will not be deterred by a popular vote.”
Mr. Pettigrew said that limiting council members to a B average might leave out some good candidates.
“I think that perhaps someone could be well-versed and well-written and they may not have the aptitude for the mathematics or another area. I just think that is kind of unfair,” he said. “My academic career wasn’t that great.”
Claire said they originally considered an even higher GPA, but left it at 3.0 because many other school organizations use that as a benchmark.
Mr. King said student councils are supposed to mirror real life, where legislators are elected by popular vote.
“I think student council was always intended to be sort of a model of democracy. And we don’t put those limits on people we elect anywhere,” he said. “You are taking out of the hands of the people you represent the ability to elect them.”
Board members suggested that student council members meet with superintendent Wes Shipley to discuss the proposal further.
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: email@example.com.