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Board tables appointment, contract

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The two big items on the Alvord school board’s agenda for Thursday evening were both tabled – but trustees still found plenty to talk about in open and closed session during a two-hour meeting.

After 45 minutes behind closed doors, the board tabled the appointment, signing up and swearing in of a new member to replace Randy Hamilton, who resigned June 3. No information was offered on who is being considered for the job, but other than board members, no one was present for the executive session.

They disposed quickly of their consent agenda, then also tabled consideration of a contract with North Texas Contracting – the company that is already working on a massive concrete paving project around the high school and middle school campuses.

Superintendent Bill Branum requested consideration of the contract be delayed, since he had just gotten it that day. Work has started under a letter of understanding approved last week. The company has 45 working days from Monday to complete the job.

A policy update was also tabled before a host of budget amendments won approval, then trustees discussed a proposal from the City of Alvord regarding a piece of property that was seized for back taxes and is currently co-owned by the city, Wise County and Alvord ISD.

The property, at 109 Stadium Drive, was formerly developed as a manufactured housing park and currently has one mobile home on it. That home “may be occupied by a person, or persons, who do not own the mobile home in which they are living, and who do not currently have any utility services” according to a letter from the city’s attorney, James E. Shepherd.

Shepherd said the property no longer meets the city’s requirements for a mobile home park, and it is the city’s desire to rezone the property to single-family residential. The letter proposes the three owners – the city, county and school district – list the property and sell it.

The entities would split the proceeds of a sale pro-rata. The letter also requests that the county and school district help bear expenses of rezoning it and reclaiming it for sale.

Branum estimated those expenses would be, at the most, around $1,200 for the school district. The board approved it in the hopes that the property will sell, that expense and back taxes will be recovered, and it will go back on the tax roll as a more viable property.

The board approved one personnel item. Joy Chandler was hired as the new counselor at Alvord High School beginning next school year. Chandler, who has a master’s degree and all the required counseling certificates, comes to Alvord from Waxahachie with 18 years of experience in education – the last eight as a counselor.

REPORTS GENERATE TALK

Much of the discussion at the meeting came under the topic of reports from the superintendent and board members.

Branum offered updates from the district’s three campus principals, who were given the evening off. He noted about 40 youngsters in kindergarten through fifth grades attended summer school, which had ended that day. Those classes focused on reading and math for STAAR testing.

Six middle school students also attended summer school, and 20 high schoolers are expected for summer classes, which start Monday.

Board member Kevin Wood reported briefly on a summer leadership institute conducted by the Texas Association of School Boards in Fort Worth earlier this month.

“There was a lot of good data presented,” Wood said, handing out a copy of the presentation that was conducted mostly by representatives of the Texas Workforce Commission. “The pendulum is swinging, and I’m convinced we are headed back toward a curriculum that is going to recognize career technology courses.”

Branum noted that recent legislative changes in that regard will impact the high school and middle school in the upcoming school year.

Trustee Vic Czerniak reported on his ongoing effort to get TxDOT to install a flashing light in a school zone on Farm Road 1655. The school district and city have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to get that done, but Czerniak said he would continue trying.

The goal is to get a sign that says, “Speed limit 20 mph when lights are flashing” and have those lights flash during school hours.

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