WAXAHACHIE — Though this month’s session of the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustee was nearly four hours shorter than the last, the board successfully faced a comprehensive agenda in which every item except one was unanimously passed. The meeting also saw the approved sale of roughly 30 acres of land, two updated projects at the new high school and a response to the proposed A-F accountability rating system.
The meeting took place Monday, Feb. 13, and started off with the recognition of the WISD Employee of the Month.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director Mark Bosher presented the recognition to the WHS CTE teacher, Donna Shepard. Shepard currently teaches classes in human growth and development, education and training, and practicum in education and training.
“[...] Mrs. Shepard’s students receive dual credit from Navarro College’s early childhood programs. She supervises students in off-site field assignments at our elementary schools. She represents Waxahachie High School CTE teachers as department head and assists countless teachers as a mentor,” Bosher said. “Young teachers figure out pretty quick which instructors to model, and they all seem to naturally gravitate to Mrs. Shepard. Mimicking her work means it’s done right. She serves an advisor for the CTE organization Texas Association of Future Educators [...] With that, Mrs. Shepard may hold the most important position in our district as she inspires new teachers.”
Assistant Superintendent of Budget and Finance, Ryan Kahlden, presented the first item on the consent agenda, which was a potential Interlocal agreement with Region 20 to "join the Region 20 Purchasing Association of Cooperative Entities [PACE] purchasing cooperative.”
“The PACE purchasing cooperative has gone out and done all the procuring necessary to happen as a full-time vendor for the district. The cooperative is free for us to join and will allow access to other vendors in addition to just Amazon,” Kahlden explained. “A majority of those vendors are going to be found on some other cooperative that we’re a member of. Our big home run in this one is Amazon and Sam’s Club.”
Consideration with possible action to approve technology purchase order for iPads then took place. Kahlden shared that the iPads will be for elementary student use and that 370 will need to be purchased amounting to $145,761.50.
“These would replace the Nexus tablets that we have on our campuses and would mainly go to kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. [...] They are monies we budgeted in back in August, so we’re not asking any to add any money into the budget,” Kahlden said.
After both of the agenda items had passed unanimously, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Academics, Shelle Blaylock, presented the action item to approve two CTE innovative courses —agriculture leadership and research and communication. Both courses were approved and begin the fall of 2017.
“This has been through the process of updating our standards for the courses, and many of courses have changed. Mr. Bosher and this department work hard to ensure that we continue to offer a variety of courses and address current needs,” Blaylock said.
Consideration to approve a contract with Oncor to install the electric lines underground to the new high school site and consideration to adopting a change to the contract with Johnson and Sons regarding concrete at the new high school site was then presented by Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Construction, Clyde Melick.
“We pursued with the city the ability to possibly put it above ground, and in the end, the city and school district decided it would be in the best interest of both to put it underground. [...] In working with Oncor and the city, we came up with a discretionary service agreement that is now $221,993.95,” Melick said.
He then noted that the allowance was worked into the bid package and a charge that the district was expecting.
“Johnson and Sons got the original bid for polishing off the concrete where we have it in the building, such as the CTE area. What we have now is an allowance in the original bid for $400,000 to come back and cover up that polished concrete to protect it from the construction going on,” Melick explained. “They came back and gave us a bid for $273,607 to protect the concrete. The original allowance in our contract for $400,000, so this is a change to their contract, not the original contract. [...] It doesn’t change the original amount. It’s just a change in their contract that will allow them to do the additional work.”
Superintendent Jeremy Glenn added, “It will essentially save the district $130,000 in construction costs”. The motion passed unanimously.
Once reconvening from closed session, the board opened with an action from the Superintendent’s Report to consider accepting a bid and allowing WISD Board President James Villarreal to sign off on the sale of approximately 30.357 acres of WISD owned land. The land is located at he northeast corner of FM 1446 and Hoyt Road, approximately 4.5 miles west of Interstate Highway 35E and the agenda stated "aforementioned property was approved by the Board of Trustees on Oct. 10, 2016.”
Before the approval of the action item, board member Gary Fox shared that the property will be sold for $211,133.
Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services, Lee Auvenshine, presented the one action item which was not approved, but postponed until the March meeting — the reviewing and clarification of the wording on the local compensation and benefits DEC policy.
The board then returned to the Superintendent’s Report, which called for the discussion and a clarification of the district's position in regards to the A-F Accountability Rating System Resolution, which opposes the current public school academic rating system.
“This resolution has been approved by over 300 ISD’s in the state of Texas. Essentially, it’s the rejection of the A-F Accountability Rating System put out by our legislature,” Glenn said.
Board member Kim Kriegel then noted that resolution also includes the opposition to vouchers or "Education Savings Grants" and an increase in funding for Texas' public schools. The board will make the decision regarding the resolution at the March board meeting.
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL