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School Board Approves November Bond Election

The Van Alstyne ISD Board of Trustees met Monday after skipping its July meeting, and it was evident as the agenda on this night contained a whopping 30 items.

While there were some big-ticket items approved on this night —including the 2014-15 budget and the 2014-15 tax rate ($1.52 total) —it was the passing of a resolution to hold a bond election in November that is especially noteworthy.

VAISD will put the bond issue on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. While this issue was written about in more detail (see the Aug. 8 issue of the Van Alstyne Leader) the gist is that the district needs to pass a $6.9 million bond to expand on the elementary school and high school. This is part of an overall $8 million expenditure, the remainder of which would come out of the district’s general fund. If approved, this money can only be spent on school construction or renovation, including in this case a six-room wing for both the elementary and high schools, a new, more secure front for the high school and a fire suppression system for the elementary school as it currently does not have one.

VAISD Superintendent Dr. John Spies had stated previously that the bond would not raise taxes for Van Alstyne ISD taxpayers. The issue is one of growth, as Spies stated Monday night that the elementary school is out of space. If approved, the district would attempt to have new classrooms ready by Aug. 15, 2015.

The Board voted unanimously, 7-0, to approve the bond election.

With the approval gained, discussion turned to specifics, including designating a construction method, selection of an architect and the construction manager selection method. Spies recommended the Construction Manager At-risk method, based on his previous experience, and the board approved. Regarding the architectural firm, the Board voted unanimously to make Claycomb Associates its number one choice followed by Huckabee, allowing that a deal may not be able to be reached in the first instance. Regarding the selection of a construction manager, the district must advertise for proposals and Spies stated the district would do so in the Leader.

Looking into the nearer future, the Board approved lunchroom pricing recommendations for 2014-15 as it was advised that the district re-calculate its adult lunch price meals after a recent audit. The new adult breakfast price will be $2, while the new adult lunch price will be $3.50. Student lunches at the elementary go from $2.25 to $2.50; $2.50 to $2.75 at the middle school; and $2.75 to $3 at the high school. Student breakfasts were raised 25 cents across the board, as well.

In Other Board Business:

Spies informed the Board that the area just north of the home stands at Panther Stadium will be gated, locked and off-limits beginning immediately. While this has been a popular play area for kids during Van Alstyne home games, Spies stated that there is a danger there with football equipment as it is the area where the team practices. The area is already fenced in but a more serious effort to keep the area clear is being undertaken.

Other Board approvals included policy updates 99 and 100, EIE policy resolution, the Federal Programs manual (which the district already adheres to), a teacher appraisal calendar and using Region 11 Cooperative for employee benefit administration resolution.

Due to dissatisfaction stemming from slow payments for ice storm damage claims the Board approved a move to leave its current insurance provider and sign a policy with Texas Association of Public Schools at $73,000 per year.

MEETING NOTES: Girl Scout Troop 3633 gave a presentation to the Board about the Fluorescent Light Bulb Recycling Project. The Scouts researched how mercury pollutes the environment, found recycling facilities and asked the Board to support the effort… The board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Aug. 25 to discuss budget amendments and bond preparation.