Alvarado ISD board members agreed to use some of the district’s surplus money left over from roofing projects to purchase various needed items, primarily in the area of technology, at Monday’s meeting in the Alvarado High School Library.

Approved items included the purchase of new core networking equipment for the district’s new fiber connection at a cost of $56,188.50, 65 laptop computers for use by fourth graders (five units per classroom) totaling $50,050 from ComputerTech, replacement/upgrade of 40 desktop computers throughout the district ($28,600) from ComputerTech, a 1993 54-passenger school bus from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD for $8,500, three convection ovens for food services, and the board authorized district personnel to spend up to $22,000 on bus bids at the upcoming Rocky Ash Auction in Kilgore.

“We’re in really good shape financially [regarding the district’s fund balance],” AISD Assistant Superintendent for Finance Larry McGough said, “although we probably stand to lose money next school year in the area of average daily attendance (ADA).”

McGough also said there is still a lot of confusion about the tax rate, which doesn’t surprise him very much.

“We’re on Template No. 5 from the state right now,” he added. “Last year it went to Template No. 7.”

Mark Ratcliff, AISD assistant superintendent for operations, updated board members on some of the damage various campuses suffered during the recent storm that passed through the area with winds in excess of 80 mph.

“Six air conditioning units had blown over at Alvarado Elementary North,” Ratcliff said. “Two of these units fell all the way to the ground.”

Ratcliff said AEN’s structure also suffered some roof surface damage as well as minor damages at the high school.

“Three windows were blown out and a tree was lost at the high school,” he added, “and there was a lot of water that got inside the building.”

After considering various options and suggestions, the board ultimately decided to forego the formal bid process [as a result of an ‘unforeseen catastrophe or emergency’ as stated in Sec. 44.031h of the Texas Education Code] and restore air conditioning to the fourth-grade classrooms at AEN as soon as possible.

Ratcliff said these repairs would temporarily be taken out of the district’s fund balance and repaid after receiving a check from the insurance company.

Alan Roberts of Eubanks

Harris Roberts Craig architectural firm said he was about “80 percent complete” with construction documents, and he would probably have them finished by the end of the month.

Roberts also showed a brief PowerPoint presentation containing newer renditions of what the new Alvarado Intermediate School may look like.

AISD Superintendent Dr. Chester Juroska recognized David Jusiewicz, who won the Place 1 seat in Saturday’s school board election.

Juroska said Jusiewicz will officially begin his term in June.

Parent and AHS Athletic Booster Club Member Margaret Raby asked board members to consider allowing the athletic booster club to operate one of the two concession stands during football season (currently the band and choir boosters share the proceeds) for additional revenue.

Ted Dossey, board member, suggested all parties need to get together and work the details out before the board takes action in the near future.

Four individuals spoke in open forum regarding the district’s graduation policies and procedures.

Senior Matt Faulkenberry said he felt those who didn’t pass all exit-level TAKS assessments should still be able to walk across the stage during AHS graduation ceremonies May 31 in Fort Worth.

“We’re not looking for sympathy,” Faulkenberry said, “we just want to walk across the stage for what we’ve done for the past nine, 10, 11 or 12 years.

“I’m not even sure what this is all about,” he added. “All I know is we’re not going to be able to walk across the stage with our friends.”

Joe Hardee, a concerned parent, said he agreed with the students.

“These kids haven’t made bad grades,” Hardee said. “You have failed them is the way I look at it because they can’t pass.”

Senior Stephanie Lyon said although she passed all the state-required tests, she was there to support those students who didn’t.

“[Graduation] is our night,” Lyon said, “and we won’t get that night back. We want to walk with them…and they do deserve it.”

Judge Pat Jacobs reminded board members this is an “old problem that has been around for years,” and she was there to stand behind the school board and for the decisions those members must make.

In other action, the board approved the following:

Purchase Orchard Math and Language Arts remediation software for $22,000 (taken from federal funds) Summer School Program (offered at Lillian Elementary School and Alvarado High School) Out-of-state travel for professional employee (LTC Mark Spencer to attend the Cadet Command Certification/Recertification Course in Fort Monroe, Va., July 22-27 (all expenses paid by the U.S. Army) Portable building for daycare ($68,372) to later be used at the junior high campus Bus tires (purchase of 72 tires not to exceed $17,000) Employment of personnel for the 2007-08 school year (Vivian Simpson, AES kindergarten; Tracy Redmon, AES first grade; Michelle Boman, AES special education; Laramie Edwards, LES Life Skills; Brady Rasco, AHS ag-science; and Jessica Stutes, ag-science)

Several individuals throughout the district were honored at the beginning of the meeting in the AHS theatre for advancing and/or qualifying to both state- and national-level competition.