The Milton School Board on Monday hired Huffman Facility Development as an owner’s representative to oversee projects in the $59.9 million referendum voters approved April 2.

And after a nearly two-hour closed session, board members also identified the scope of an upcoming financial audit by accounting firm Baker Tilly.

The board last week hired Baker Tilly to perform an audit of stipends issued in the district over the last nine years to determine which classifications have been used and how stipends should be classified moving forward.

Attorney Lori Lubinksy recommended the board hire an auditor to look into the use of stipends after an investigation into employee compensation in February.

Baker Tilly will submit a report to the board when the audit is complete.

The firm’s costs will be covered by the district’s insurance carrier, district legal counsel Shana Lewis has said.

In open session at a special meeting Monday, the board approved paying Huffman Facility Development $585,000 to serve as the district’s owner representative for the referendum.

Of that cost, $82,500 will pay for pre-construction and design development. The remaining $502,500 will fund bidding and construction, according to a services proposal from Huffman.

Huffman considers cost management its top job as an owner’s representative, according to the proposal.

The company has done similar work for school districts in Evansville, Sun Prairie and Cambridge, as well as for the Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and other projects across southern Wisconsin, according to the proposal.

Development managers Mike Huffman and Steve Klaven will develop a master project budget that will record project costs and forecast upcoming costs to “ensure the project is timely and cost effective,” according to the proposal.

The managers will work as advocates for the district by overseeing design, schedule management and quality control as referendum projects move forward, according to the proposal.

Huffman and Klaven will oversee project bids. Huffman said Monday that each project will go out to bid and that project manager JP Cullen will have to submit bids for any project it wants to do.

JP Cullen has not been assigned to any contracting projects yet, board President Tom Westrick said.

Huffman told the board he will give construction updates to board members at least once a month. He said he likely will attend board meetings to provide updates and could send newsletter updates to the board, which could be shared with the community.

Board member Brian Kvapil asked Huffman if taking on Milton’s projects will be too much for the company to handle. The company is currently the owner’s representative for the Verona School District’s $162.8 million referendum.

Huffman said Verona is about 50 percent finished with construction, meaning he spends significantly less time on site and leaves much of the work to other full-time employees.

Huffman said he has “no concerns” about adding Milton to the company’s workload.

Board members have said in past meetings that the owner’s representative could be paid for with the district’s investment earnings.

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