BAKER — The long-delayed athletic track renovation project was delayed again as the Baker School Board met behind closed doors Monday with its attorneys and representatives of a construction management firm.
The effort to renovate the dilapidated cinder track began nearly a year ago, but has been stalled for eight months by a hard-to-find water leak and wrangling over price increases.
The board has spent about $270,000 since construction began, but the job is only 31 percent complete.
Representatives of CSRS Inc., the firm overseeing the construction, were on hand Monday to present alternatives that would lower the cost overrun, but the board voted to discuss the figures in a closed-door session.
The board’s attorney, Winston DeCuir Sr., said the board could go into executive session to discuss legal strategy because the contractor’s June 21 letter requesting an end to the contract mentioned the firm is reserving its rights to seek damages.
The board now has discussed the issue three times since J.F. Juge Construction Inc. of Prairieville, the contractor for the project, notified the board it wants out of the contract.
The board first deferred the matter to DeCuir, then deferred it again on July 6 because DeCuir also represented Juge on other matters.
The board hired John Madison to advise it of its legal standing, and Madison, DeCuir and the CSRS representatives met with board members in Monday’s private session.
In open session, the board voted to authorize Madison to “continue working” with CSRS to bring the matter to a final resolution at a July 19 meeting.
On another matter, the board approved Superintendent Ulysses Joseph’s recommendation to hire six teachers for the proposed Park Ridge Academic Magnet School, but the list did not include two new teachers who are part of the Teach for America program.
Board member Elaine G. Davis criticized hiring the two first-year teachers at two earlier meetings, and Joseph said before Monday’s meeting that he had withdrawn their names.
The board also accepted Joseph’s recommendation to name James Kador as an assistant principal at Baker High School.