The Waxahachie ISD School Board held a public hearing on the 2013-2014 budget during a special called meeting Monday evening.

Assistant Superintendent of Finance Teresa Thomas gave an overview of the next year’s budget for the trustees.

We are currently projecting an ADA (average daily attendance) head count of 7,833,” Thomas said, explaining that state funding is based on this number.

She projected $24,052,973 in state funding and $2,828,443 in tax revenue, if 100 percent of the taxes are collected. Thomas said the tax rate will remain the same at $1.42.

“The rate will be the same as last year with $1.04 for maintenance and operations and $0.38 for interest and sinking, bringing the total rate to $1.42 per $100 of valuation,” Thomas said.

The school board trustees will discuss the tax rate and vote on the budget at a called meeting Monday, Aug. 26 at the administration building,

Turner gym update

Patrick Sparks of Sparks Engineering, Inc. delivered a report of his findings from the  engineering study of the Turner gym. The trustees voted to use Sparks’ company of the two options presented at a previous meeting on the condition and possible solutions for the gym restoration.

The purpose of the assessment was to develop opinions and recommendations regarding major structural issues related to stabilization of the building.

“Based on our assessment, we identified significant structural issues with the former Turner High School Gymnasium, but we believe that it is feasible to address these issues,” Sparks said. “The building should remain closed until the structural deficiencies related to the slender masonry walls and deficiencies in the roof diaphragm are addressed. The long-term repair of the building will also involve addressing the soil-induced foundation and slab movement.”

Sparks noted that the building’s foundation suffered from the two-year drought, causing these changes to the foundation.

“We believe that the foundation movement is caused by the shrinking and swelling of the soil below the bottom of the footings. This appears to be confirmed based on the reported accelerated distress during the extreme drought,” he said. “ Underpinning is the conventional solution for stabilizing the foundation and should effectively eliminate future building movement.”

With the foundation stabilized, Sparks recommended installing seven wind columns on the south wall and portions of the north and east walls, which would add structural support and relieve strain on these walls.

These columns are similar to the design provided by Huckabee, an architecture engineering management firm. Sparks said his company could prepare a bid for the project and bring it back to the trustees within a few weeks.

Interim Superintendent David Truitt said he would have to take the recommendations back to the board for consideration.

In other business, the board voted 6-1 to continue using the Texas School Cooperative for the district’s property and casualty insurance and their workers’ compensation insurance.

Thomas said she looked at other proposals with higher deductibles, but felt the current carriers were the best recommendation.

The trustees briefly discussed the difference in premiums and changing deductibles.

“I believe in self insuring where we can,” Trustee Mike Lee told the group.

The trustees discussed the issue further and considered letting the contract again next year and taking bids again, before they took the vote for this year’s coverage.

Trustee Dr. Joe Langley voted in opposition.   

In other action the trustees voted to hire Omar Mendez as the assistant high school principal. Mendez fills the void left when former assistant principal Neel Brown accepted a position with the Bryan ISD.

Mendez brings 18 years experience as an educator and comes from an assistant principal position at Lancaster High School. He also served as a coordinator for bilingual and ESL programs. Prior to Lancaster he taught at North Dallas High School.

The board also unanimously approved an instructional materials allotment and TEKs certification requested by Truitt.