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Board OKs bond effort, renews Branum’s contract

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Alvord School Board Thursday night gave the green light to a plan to pave parking lots and driveways, upgrade systems and buy buses and other needed equipment.

They also renewed and extended the contract of Superintendent Bill Branum.

Branum has been working for several months to put together a list of projects and purchases to be done with maintenance tax money. The “bond issue” – which the board capped at $1.8 million – does not have to go before the voters because the debt will be serviced from the district’s maintenance and operations budget.

Thursday’s action allows Branum to go ahead and start some of the projects, since the board approved resolutions stating the district’s intent to reimburse itself from bond funds once they arrive.

Branum said it would likely be at least 60 days before the maintenance tax notes and time warrants are funded.

The big item on the list is an estimated $950,000 to pave parking lots and drives around the middle and high schools – a project that will need to be completed during the summer. The board authorized Branum to go ahead and hire an architectural/engineering firm to design the project and create bid documents.

The list also includes:

  • security upgrades at all campuses, $35,000;
  • security cameras at the elementary campus, $35,000;
  • wireless contact points at the high school and middle school, field house and bus barn, $28,000;
  • two school buses, $194,000;
  • one vehicle for 6 to 8 people, $33,000;
  • two small maintenance trucks, $36,000;
  • one small school car, $16,000;
  • one tractor with a backhoe and front-end loader, $17,000;
  • upgrading the PA system at the elementary campus, $4,000;
  • upgrading the fire alarm system at the elementary campus, $25,000;
  • replacement of six HVAC units, $50,000;
  • cafeteria freezer units, $8,000;
  • ice machines at the middle school and field house, $7,800;
  • HVAC system controls upgrades at the original high school and elementary campuses, $42,000;
  • card reader systems at all campuses, $44,000;
  • floor machines for three buildings, $24,000;
  • resurfacing the game floor in the high school gym, $22,000;
  • 61-inch mowers for three campuses, $18,000;
  • message boards at the high school and middle school campuses, $54,000;
  • replacing the lights in the high school game gym, $12,000;
  • replacing 50 computers in computer labs in the high school and middle school, $46,000;
  • a 300,000 BTU gas heater for the old middle school gym, $3,500;
  • upgrading the PA system in the football stadium, $10,000;
  • replacing 13 tables in the elementary cafeteria, $18,000;
  • a new PA system in the high school gym, $10,000.

The board approved Wells-Nelson & Associates to serve as financial adviser for the bonds, and Fulbright & Jaworski as bond counsel.

After a fairly quick closed session, the board voted to hire two teachers and extend Branum’s contract.

Mary Ann Leasman will fill a vacancy in sixth-grade language arts, and Steve Johnson will take over a vacant social studies position at the high school.

Branum’s contract was extended through June 30, 2016, with an annual raise of $5,000. Board member Kevin Wood pointed out that it was the first raise the superintendent has had since he came to Alvord ISD four years ago. His current salary is just over $97,000.

The board also approved several policy updates, called for an election May 11 for places 3, 4 and 5 on the board and voted to hold that election jointly with the City of Alvord.

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