CLINTON — Bids for a new Clinton Middle School have been approved, including four more classrooms the school board added to better accommodate all three grades.

Randy Fuller of Estes Construction, who oversaw the bids, said more than 100 bids were submitted for the various parts of the project. The total cost, with the alternates, was $20.9 million.

Financial consultants have outlined how the district’s one-cent sales tax revenue would fund a $20 million project. Board members said moving ahead with the additional space despite the additional cost is the right move now for the school to house sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

School Board President Gregg Obren said the board has been conservative in its plans and believes the cost can be covered by the sales tax.

Construction officials plan on some site work to start in March at the site at 13th Avenue North and 16th Street Northwest.

Also Monday, the board approved a list of 19 retirements for employees taking advantage of an early retirement incentive. School officials said that was a higher number than anticipated. Human Resources Director Jess Terrell said it would take a few more days to calculate how much the early retirements might save in costs.

Superintendent Deb Olson said the early retirements will help the efforts to reduce expenditures in next year’s budget. The plan would pay the retirees $650 per year of employment, up to $16,250, with the employee responsible for all taxes. The payments would be made in two installments, spread over two budget years for the district.

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