The Red Oak Independent School District school board of trustees approved the proposed 2007-2008 budget of $34,148,019 at the Thursday, June 28 board meeting.

John Humphrey, assistant superintendent of finance and support, said the projected revenues over the next year will be $33,461,949, leaving a $686.07 deficit in the budget. Humphrey said he hopes over the course of the next month, through workshops and meetings, the staff will whittle expenditures to create a better balanced budget.

“We feel like these are the best projections at this time, but we realize these will change,” Humphrey said. “We look forward to bringing back a number much closer to a balanced budget.”

Humphrey presented a list of the district’s strengths to the board, which included a consistent increase in appraisal values, diversified tax base and growing enrollment. He also highlighted the district’s challenges, such as maintaining competitive teacher salaries, managing growth and facility maintenance.

“As you can see, we have a challenge this summer with the budget,” superintendent Scott Niven said. “We do have our challenges, but I believe we can move forward.”

In other business, the board approved a contract to purchase 12.93 acres of land in the Magnolia Farms subdivision located at Uhl Road and Ovilla Road at a price of $258,600 for the new Shields Elementary.

“We had budgeted $300,000 for this land,” associate superintendent of operations Russ Schupmann said.

The district has negotiated with the developer to widen the roads around the school by 10 feet at a cost of $189,400, which was budgeted into the original estimate of the construction costs.

“One of the things we’re looking at is working with the city of Glenn Heights and the city of Red Oak to widen Uhl Road to four lanes,” Schupmann said. “TxDOT has already approved a traffic light at that intersection.”

In other business, the board elected John Hawkins, John Anderson and Brent Stanford into officer positions for a second term. Hawkins will remain president, Anderson as vice president and Stanford as secretary.

On a separate item, the board unanimously voted to use competitive sealed proposal for construction method of delivery for the new Shields Elementary, and approved construction manager at-risk as the construction method of delivery for the new high school with a vote of 5-1, with Stanfill dissenting. The methods were the recommendation of the district staff as well as architects with Corgan Schools.

“I’m still not comfortable with the at-risk versus agency. I’m just not sure I have a grasp on that,” board member Mark Stanfill said, asking if the board could review the various methods before making a decision on the high school. “There are a lot of districts using (construction management agency). They’re doing that for a reason.”

“I understand your concern. I think the administration as looked at the different delivery systems,” Hawkins said. “Mr. Niven and Mr. Humphrey have experience in construction. This is why I feel comfortable with the recommendation. I believe they did their research.”

In other business, the board:

Approved an addendum for paraprofessionals to meet highly qualified status Recognized Wilburn Roesler for his work as interim superintendent.

“We cannot say enough about Mr. Roesler. Everything you did during that time and the calming effect you had on the district - we appreciate this,” Hawkins said.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here. I hope I did more than just draw a paycheck. My job as interim is to make a district run as smoothly as possible,” Roesler said. “One of the huge accomplishments was getting the bond through. Thank you again for the opportunity. I think you have hired a gentleman who will move the district forward. He’s going to do extremely well.”