Waxahachie Global High School continues a steady pace toward opening its doors this fall for its inaugural class.

Workers are busy replacing the exterior windows on all floors, with the building taking on a more traditional appearance and in keeping with its historical status, according to Headmaster Portia Butler, who provided an update at this week’s meeting of the Waxahachie ISD board of trustees.

Discussing equipment needs, Butler received board approval of two bids: $112,389 for the purchase of 100 laptop computers and $31,234 for iPods. The inaugural freshman class has 101 students enrolled, with Butler noting Dell Computers is giving the school 10 extra laptops on top of its order, allowing each student as well as the campus’ eight teachers to have a laptop for use.

The equipment will be the district’s property and is to be returned when a student leaves the school or graduates, she said.

The laptop and iPod orders will be paid for out of the 2006-2007 fund balance, which will be reimbursed later out of the 2007-2008 budget.

Executive director of support services Lynn Marshall said renovation is continuing at the campus, with all essential areas for instruction, including the first floor where the science labs are located, expected to be completed by the start of the school year in late August.

A freshman camp is planned and a social for students and their parents is planned for 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, Butler said.

Funding for ag barn

In other business, the board earmarked part of the remaining 1999 bond money for use toward repair of the old ag barn ($16,000) and construction of an additional barn ($100,000) at the rodeo grounds on Howard Road. The project will be a cooperative effort with the city and matched dollar-for-dollar on expenditure. Parks director John Smith told trustees the city council has set aside money in the city’s 2007-2008 budget for the same purpose.

“We appreciate the city working with us on this project,” said trustee Dr. Griggs DeHay, who served as presiding officer in board president Dr. Joe Langley’s absence.

Assistant superintendent of finance Teresa Thomas reviewed the ongoing budgeting process for the upcoming school year, noting the Texas Education Agency recently released its seventh update to the financial template that determines the amount of state funding a district receives. This last revision erased what had looked to be a deficit for the district, Thomas said, discussing at length the ups and downs experienced by WISD to date as a result of the changes.

Budget numbers can’t be finalized, however, as the template could see additional adjustments and certified figures from the Ellis Appraisal District won’t be released until later this month.

“Education financing is mind-boggling,” Superintendent Tom Collins said of the complex process the district goes through each year. “I appreciate the job that Teresa and everyone in the financial department does.”

Collins told the board he intends to meet with the TEA next week relating to monies believed owed the district due to a problem with the template from a previous school year.

WISD pay raise

By a 5-1 vote, trustees approved an across-the-board raise of 3 percent for all district employees as of Sept. 1.

Trustee Jim Phillips told the Daily Light after the meeting he cast a dissenting vote because he favors raises based on merit over across-the-board increases.

Trustees Max Simpson, John Colwell, Dr. Griggs DeHay, Mark Price and Evelyn Coleman voted in favor of the measure.

E-mail JoAnn at editor@waxahachiedailylight.com