GIFFORD — Matt Kuntz was seated as a new member of the Gifford school board.

Kuntz, who was appointed to the post at last week’s monthly meeting, will fill a 21-month vacancy that was created when Matt Lomax, board president, resigned last month.

Two candidates asked to be considered for the seat. They were  interviewed prior to the meeting, and Kuntz was selected.

Lomax had been elected president earlier this year after 12-year board veteran Michael Schluter, who was president, was defeated in the April election.

The board last week also elected Travis Huls as president, Chad Hesterberg as vice president and Neil Baker as secretary.

The meeting was the first at which Jay Smith served in the dual role as superintendent/principal following the retirement of Superintendent Rod Grimsley in June. Smith had served the past school year as strictly the principal.

Smith reported to the board he was able to negotiate a better rate with broader bandwidth for internet service.

Smith said he bid out the internet service to secure the lower bid of $600 a month compared to $800 a month under the previous three-year contract. He said it will save the school $7,200 over the three-year life of the contract.

Mediacom, which had provided service under the previous contract, was low bidder for the new contract and tripled the bandwidth.

The district will also save about $8,549 in one year due to a better negotiated rate for electrical service.

Smith said the district paid an average of .08487 per kilowatt hour for the past three months. In working with an energy consultant (a free service), he was able to lock in a 12-month contract for .0457 per kilowatt hour with a third-party company.

Smith reported 30 new touch screen Chromebooks and a charging cart have been purchased with leftover funds from a Small Rural School Achievement Grant.

The Chromebooks will be available to the K-2 team.

The school still has funds from the grant that must be spent by December, Smith said, and another 30 Chromebooks will be added for the computer lab to replace the PCs.

In other business:

• School registration for the 2019-20 school year is set from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. July 30 and 31.

• The first day for staff attendance is Aug. 14, and the first day of student attendance is Aug. 15, with an 11:45 a.m. dismissal.

• A hearing for the fiscal year 2020 budget will be held at 5:25 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25. Smith will present the tentative budget at the board’s August meeting.

• The board approved the resignations of Tammy Pollard as technology teacher and Roberto Gonzalez as assistant softball coach.

• The board approved the hiring of Angela Kelly as technology teacher and Hailey Park as assistant softball coach.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com