Studio K gains Mt. Pleasant School District picture bid
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Mt. Pleasant School Board members decided to buy local Monday night, awarding the 2014-15 school picture bid to Kalen Henderson of Mt. Pleasant, owner of Studio K.
The bid is for all student and school staff pictures.
This year, the district, in hopes of getting better prices for students, opted to seek bids on the photos. Superintendent of Schools Mike Wells said the district will bid out the photographs every year and that Henderson will have to re-bid next year to retain the job.
Henderson did not have the low bid on the project. Bids by Halverson Photography of Iowa City and Lifetouch, the current photographer, both were lower, but the board said that Henderson being local was a significant factor.
“We get a lot of negative feedback if we don’t go with the low bid,” noted board member Lyle Murray, who made the motion to award the bid to Henderson. “Every time we award a bid, we get asked if we went local. I am not dissatisfied with the current service, but I would move to award the bid to Henderson.”
Henderson, who was not at the meeting, had written the board a letter, stressing that she was a local business and has generously donated to school fund-raisers in the past. “We are here for the school and community 24-7,” Henderson wrote.
Prior to the motion awarding the contract, directors heard from Jim Halverson, owner of Halverson Photography and Lisa Dunn, a school district secretary, in support of Lifetouch.
Halverson said he has been doing school pictures for 22 years and currently takes school photos for 50 schools. “We are basically a ‘mom and pop’ operation and work with all range of customers. We’re purely school photographers, not a photography studio.”
Dunn said she hoped the district would keep Lifetouch as its vendor.
“Lifetouch always has been very accommodating,” she began. “I remember one year when we had to change the date and that was no problem with them. I am a little concerned with some other companies saying it would take three hours. That would disrupt class. If you’re basing your decision on cost, why are we going with Henderson?
We have let Lifetouch set the price. I am sure they would given us a lower price, but we never asked. Lifetouch has given us great service for many years,” Dunn said.
Wells took exception to the Lifetouch price remark, saying, “We hope a business always gives us the best price. The reason we are here is that we are paying twice what we should. They should be giving us their best price, we shouldn’t have to ask (for the best price).”
The district asked for bids on numerous packages and single photos.
Following are the prices for the various packages with the low bid and vendor listed first, followed by Henderson’s bid and the current cost.
Package A — Halverson, $25, Henderson, $35, current cost, $48.75; package B — Halverson, $21, Henderson, $28, current cost, $42.75; package C — Lifetouch, $12.50, Henderson, $23, current cost, $34;
Package D — Lifetouch, $9.50, Henderson, $19, current cost, $28.50, package E — Lifetouch, $6, Henderson, $8, current cost, $25; single 1 — Halverson, $8, Henderson, $10, current cost, $9; single 2 — Halverson, $8, Henderson, $10, current $9;
Single 3A — Halverson, $8, Henderson, $10; current cost, $9; single 3B — Halverson, $8, Henderson, $10, current cost, not available; 4 — Halverson and Lifetouch, $8, Henderson, $10, current cost, $12; single 5, Halverson, $8, Henderson, $10, current cost, $12; single 6 — Henderson, Halverson and Lifetouch, all $25, current cost, $25.
Amy Becker Photography of Mt. Pleasant was the remaining bidder on the photos.
In other agenda items, Mt. Pleasant High School Principal Todd Liechty briefed the board on the recent award the district received from the Iowa State Board of Education. The district was recognized for exemplary work to ensure career and college readiness among Iowa’s high school seniors.
He said the district was nominated for the award by ACT and the Iowa Department of Education. “They were impressed with the levels of support for our students,” Liechty said. “They really like our personal learning plan we have for each student.”
The State Board of Education honored one student, one high school, one community college and one business.
School board members also approved a 28E agreement with the Harmony Community School District to share Tonya Stutzman, a Mt. Pleasant Central Office employee, as human resources director for Harmony. Harmony will purchase 20 percent of Stutzman’s time (eight hours per week). Stutzman already began working at Harmony and the contract is effective through June 30, 2014. Stutzman will be paid four equal payments (March, April, May and June) of $1,750 by Harmony.
Mt. Pleasant could receive some sharing compensation from the state in the form of school aid, Wells said, but quickly added the agreement was more to help a school in need.
“There is a limit how much we can get through sharing (Mt. Pleasant already shares a media specialist with Keokuk but MP will have its own media specialist next year),” Wells said. “It won’t cost us anything to share Tonya and might get credit for five students, which is $30,000 but this is good over five years. It is more helping out our neighbors. They (Harmony) are really struggling.”
Mt. Pleasant directors meet again in regular session Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m. in the high school media center.