The Red Oak Independent School District School Board of Trustees approved a federal programs budget of $3,198,424 at Monday’s meeting, with assistant superintendent of finance and support John Humphrey saying the budget was comparable to that of last fiscal year.

In other business, the board discussed the progress of various bond projects.

Superintendent Scott Niven said members of Shields Elementary staff visited elementary schools in order to fuel discussions on the future Shields Elementary layout.

“We’re trying to look beyond special programs to instructional space because special programs change,” Niven said.

In August, Niven expects to bring preliminary designs for the elementary school to the board for approval. Final design approval is schedule for September, with an approved construction contract in November and groundbreaking in December.

High school administration and staff also visited new high schools in Lancaster, Frisco and Plano recently in order to gather ideas for the Red Oak High School project.

Niven said the district is currently negotiating purchase of land for the high school and expects to complete the purchase in August.

Preliminary plans are scheduled for approval in September and approval of final design is scheduled in October or November.

The groundbreaking for the high school construction is scheduled for April, Niven said.

Niven discussed the first sale of bonds, with $30 million scheduled for sale on Wednesday, July 25. Niven said the district’s goal is to finalize the bonds by Friday, Aug. 31.

In other business, the board:

approved campus and district improvement plans. approved the updated student code of conduct, with the board voting to strike the phrase “pocketknife or other small knife” from the student code of conduct regarding prohibited weapons.

“I think we should remove it,” board member Dr. Mark Stanfill said after discussion with administration and staff members. Red Oak ISD Police Chief Scott Lindsey said there hasn’t been any problems with pocket knifes in the past and the student code of conduct allows principal’s discretion in punishment of students using pocket knifes in harmful ways.

“An illegal knife is one thing. A pocket knife can be two things,” Lindsey said.

approved the designation of Stanfill as a delegate and Barb Vogler as an alternate for the TASA/TASB convention. approved the appraisal calendar and list of appraisers. approved policy update 80 affecting local policies. approved an audit proposal for an external audit. approved the endorsement of Cindy Williams with Midlothian ISD to fill a position on the TASB board of directors.

E-mail Mandy at mandy.bourgeois@elliscountychronicle.com.