The School Board approved five contract modifications with the company building the new Horace O'Bryant school, as well as a new contract for a "unique" out-of-county service provider Tuesday night.
Superintendent Mark Porter described the change orders as "non-controversial," though School Board member Ed Davidson referred to them as "less controversial," at the meeting, held in Key West.
The motion to pass the orders carried unanimously.
"Don't count on it as a trend," said Davidson.
Change orders 2, 6, 9, 15, and 27 dealt with construction issues such as site soil quality, the changing of school lockers from plastic to metal, and relocating of power poles on the property.
They were passed to make room for more spirited debate on some of the remaining change orders.
One deals with the required expansion of the new school's parking lot, and is of specific concern to several members. By law, the lot must be expanded beyond its planned scope, and become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, before the school can open for the next school year. Current plans call for construction to be completed by June.
"This is a must-happen situation," said board Chairman Andy Griffiths. "The issue is the deadline.
"We can call a special meeting," if necessary, he added.
The issue of a new contract for Corey Wybensinger, who has helped the School District form purchasing procedures, touched off debate among all the members.
The former Monroe County resident left town after completing his earlier obligations to the board, but is being sought out as a long-distance worker due to his expertise in the area of "development of procedures," according to Porter.
Wybensinger's work has been a "great improvement to the district," Porter said.
But Davidson, as well as District 4 representative John Dick, wondered aloud why the contract was necessary, given that a full-time purchasing agent already is employed by the district at a salary of $71,000 per year.
"Why didn't we do something with Corey, instead of doubling someone's salary to do the job?" Dick asked.
Both Dick and Robin Smith-Martin voted against the new contract, which passed 5-2.
• The board unanimously approved a new Student Progression Plan, the yardstick by which students' grades are measured, as well as their advancement upward through the school system.
• Another unanimous vote approved the superintendent's evaluation of himself and the board, as was previously discussed at board workshops.
• The board and superintendent also discussed issues related to bullying, student counseling and mental health support, and school security in the wake of the recent suicides of a Key West High School student, a principal at a local charter high school, and the December school shootings in Newtown, Conn.