NEWS HEADLINES

Board looks at bus costs, staffing changes

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, April 17, 2013

{{{*}}}The Chico School Board continued to look at costs associated with a possible bond election at Tuesday’s meeting. This time, transportation took center stage.

Superintendent Mike Jones said the board was presented with cost estimates for buses of various sizes. A nine-passenger bus would cost $42,500 to $54,400, while a 14-passenger bus would cost $45,900 to $62,700, and a 71-passenger model would cost between $85,400 and $92,200.

Jones said the district would apply for grants, as they have in the past, to help pay for the buses. In 2011, the district was able to buy five new buses powered by liquid propane thanks in part to a grant from the North Central Texas Council of Government’s Clean School Bus Program – which paid half the cost. For the purposes of the bond, however, Jones said the full cost would be put before voters in case the grants were not awarded.

Although still in the discussion stage, Jones said the district might ask voters to approve 10 to 12 buses over the life of the bond.

At last month’s meeting, the board received cost estimates for various construction projects under consideration including:

  • districtwide security upgrades,
  • roof replacement at the middle school,
  • new HVAC units at the middle school,
  • a new ag facility,
  • technology upgrades,
  • a new administration building with a daycare facility,
  • paving of the parking lot at the football stadium and
  • upgrades for water irrigation at the football field.

Jones said last month that the initial estimate for a bond package might be in the $9 to $10 million range.

The district is also looking at some possible staffing changes. Jones said the school might bring back a part-time family and consumer sciences (FCS) position that had been eliminated in the past. A health science technology course might also be added, resulting in the need to hire another teacher. The school is also considering moving ag teacher Brad Bland to a proposed assistant principal position at the high school, which would create the need for an ag teacher.

The proposed changes were presented to the board to show potential costs, and none of the changes have been approved.

In other business the board:

  • agreed to send in a letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requesting a public meeting and contested case hearing concerning the proposed air quality permit submitted by P&K Stone for a limestone quarry just east of the city. Earlier this month, the City of Chico sent a similar letter.
  • approved spending $177,420 for a five-year contract with Ricoh to provide copier service and supplies.
  • approved spending $7,237.40 for a new sound system for the high school gym by a 5-1 vote G.A. Buckner cast the opposing vote.

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