"The three lowest bidders all used the same geothermal provider," Jennings told the board. "He does have a TDEC number but they used his contractor number instead."
He added that while the fourth bidder listed the right number they failed to include other information the new law requires.
Jennings noted that while in a year or so someone might challenge the exact meaning of the law, he could not advise the board to be the guinea pig. He recommended they reject all four bids and rebid the project.
The board did so and also asked Hewlett Spencer LLC to submit a guaranteed maximum price bid at the same time.
Jennings also advised the board to enter into the lawsuit between Hewlett-Spencer and Steed Brothers concerning the replacement of the gym floor at Wilson Central High School.
He said one possible hold-up in settling that suit was Steed Brothers saying the owners of the school were not present in court, so the board should file as an intervening party. The board agreed to do so.
The board also voted to add $100,000 to $125,000 to the school budget to provide an in-house Care Here medical clinic for part time employees, since they have no health insurance.
The budget will go back to the Wilson County Commission Education Committee on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. The education committee has previously rejected the school budget, saying the board needed to trim so spending and lower the total funding requested.
"We think they could cut more out of their budget," Finance Committee member Bob Neal said. "They didn’t prioritize their spending well enough. We want the Board of Education to look it over and see if they can cut some spending."
Director of Schools Mike Davis told the board that he expected from 400 to 800 more students as school starts – the first full day was Monday, Aug. 11 – than were enrolled at the start of school last year, with at least 1,791 of those students attending the new Mt. Juliet High School.
The board also set the price for transportation on school trips, even though actual approval of all trips has been suspended until the county commission approves a school budget, which it has until Sept. 29 to do.
The approved prices for field trips include the cost of a driver at $12 per hour since that is what it costs the school board including taxes and insurance, for all except sports trips when the coach usually drives the bus.
In the past, the school system has paid the fuel cost for those trips, but this year the teams will be asked to cover the actual expense from their budget.