Trustees said they were pleased when bids for the new intermediate facility came in about $1 million less than originally estimated.

John Owen of WRL Construction said 202 bids were received for the building package, which also included both the facility and land development.

“We had a lot of good bidders,” Owen said. “I’m comfortable with everyone.”

Board members unanimously approved a guaranteed maximum price for the project at $18,569,958.

AISD Superintendent Dr. Chester Juroska said that although the bids came in much lower than anticipated, he still wanted to remind board members that there will be additional costs associated with the building, including architectural and engineering fees.

“Dirtwork should begin almost immediately,” Juroska said. “Because of the extra time needed for peer reviews of our design plans, which has taken us off our initial schedule by a couple of weeks, we’re still shooting for a Fall 2008 opening.

“It is also possible, of course, that this completion date may be delayed a bit,” he added, “but we can’t help but feel confident about next fall.”

Larry McGough, AISD assistant superintendent for finance, followed with more good news regarding his preliminary budget figures for the 2007-08 school year.

McGough said the budget, tentatively estimated at $33,190,275, is currently based on a tax rate of $1.43, which includes a $1.04 maintenance and operations rate and 39 cents for interest and sinking.

“We had originally predicted an I&S rate of 49 cents, so this could be a huge savings for our taxpayers.”

McGough also said he expects total taxable values from this past year to come in around $739 million.

“We will receive these official values from the Johnson County Appraisal District on July 25,” he added.

Also included in the new budget is a total tax collection rate of 97.5 percent, up from 96 percent last year.

As far as salary increases, McGough said he’s also got that covered in the proposed budget.

“Teachers will receive a WADA stipend provided by the state and we’re looking into giving other increases to support staff and non-teaching professionals,” he said. “The longevity bonuses have also been included in the budget.”

McGough also said the district has a “healthy” fund balance of $5.9 million and credited the 16 percent taxable value increase to gas revenues throughout the county.

“The only negative factor is our continuing decline in enrollment,” he added, “so I’ve budgeted for a total ADA of 3,040.”

Total ADA at AISD has dropped by 133 students since the 2004-05 school year, according to district reports, but Juroska said he feels these numbers should increase over the next few years due to a recent growth in housing and businesses.

McGough and his financial department staff was once again awarded a “superior” financial integrity rating from the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas. AISD received a perfect 21 out of 21 on all judging criteria.

Linda Neeley, AISD board president, thanked McGough and his staff for obtaining this perfect rating and also for their hard work in preparing the school budget.

Mark Ratcliff, AISD assistant superintendent for operations, updated board members on a few reports he had recently obtained regarding roof leaks at a some of the district’s campuses. He said these detailed reports have helped pinpoint problem areas such as cracks, flashing and drainage issues.

In other action, the board approved:

PDAS calendar for 2007-08 Budget adjustments Student code of conduct Transportation code of conduct Special education contracted services for 2007-08 Shared services agreement - regional day school program for the deaf Bus purchase ($78,500) Meal prices for 2007-08 (elementary, $1.75; intermediate, $2; junior high, $2; high school, $2.25; and staff/visitors, $ 2.75) Student insurance Operations uniforms Endorsement of Charles Stafford, candidate for TASB board of directors Employment of personnel Policy update 80 affecting policies: BBFA ethics - conflict of interest disclosures; CPC: office management - records management; DBA: employment regulations and restrictions - credentials and records; DBD: employment regulations and restrictions - conflict of interest; DC: employment practices; DCD: employment practices - at-will employment; DCE employment practices - other types of contracts; DEAA: compensation and benefits - incentives and stipends; DFBB: term contracts - non-renewal; DH: employee standards of conduct; DN: performance appraisal; EEJB: individualized learning - credit by examination without prior instruction; EIF: academic achievement - graduation; and FNCA: student conduct - dress code

The next regular scheduled school board meeting is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 20 in the AISD board room.