Chico school board doesn’t extend Jones’ contract; Committee report identifies facility needs

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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Mike Jones is still superintendent at Chico ISD. But the majority of school trustees made it clear Monday that they have issues with his leadership.

What those issues are, they didn’t say publicly.

The school board met in closed session for an hour at the end of their regular meeting for the annual superintendent evaluation. When they returned to open session, Paul Cantrell made a motion to extend Jones’ contract another year, and the motion was seconded by Mark Tate.

They were the only two to vote for the extension, as Bill Hand, Doug Bowyer, G.A. Buckner, Donald Joe Clark and Pancho Redwine voted against it.

There were no other comments about Jones’ performance, and the meeting adjourned immediately after the vote.

Following the meeting, board president Hand declined to comment on the vote.

Jones’ contract, which is now two years rather than three, runs through the 2015-2016 school year. The district traditionally waits until summer budget discussions to take any possible action on salary adjustments.


The school board also heard an update from the facilities review committee, which has identified areas of need for the district.

Tony Apel with WRA Architects of Dallas explained that members of the committee, as well as architects, had looked at all of the district’s facilities and had scored each one on factors such as educational adequacy, safety and health, accessibility, efficiency, flexibility and appearance.

Committee members also looked at specific features of each campus and judged each on a needs/priority rating of high, medium or low.

“We found that a lot of the items that dealt with security, student safety – those types of things were ranked very high among all the committee members,” Apel said.

Specific measures identified as high priority included security cameras at the high school; classroom doors that lock from the inside, an emergency door lockdown and electronic card access for exterior doors at the middle school and high school; perimeter fencing of interior areas districtwide; and security cameras at sporting areas.

Other high priority needs by campus included the following:

Elementary school – none

Middle school – Replace HVAC units, replace all windows, repair leaking windows, replace roof/repair roof leaks and hot meal service from middle school kitchen

High school – update/relocate ag barn facility, occupancy sensors for classroom lighting

District – limit pedestrian access to bus area south of the middle school

The presentation also included a list of “medium” priority items for each campus and the district.

Apel said looking at 10 years of enrollment, growth was fairly flat, so student growth was not a major consideration in terms of facility needs at this time.

The next step in the process is for the board to review the report and come up with their own list of high priority items. That will be the topic of discussion at a workshop next month. Once the high priority areas are identified, architects can begin making plans and creating cost estimates.

In other business the board:

  • accepted a bid of $37,200 from Burtnett Air Conditioning and Heating of Springtown to replace two rooftop HVAC units at the middle school. The motion passed by a 4-3 vote with Hand, Buckner and Clark voting against it.
  • agreed to accept bids for lawnmowers and school vehicles.
  • accepted a $20,000 donation from Noel and LeeAnn Ruddick for the Ryan Ruddick Memorial Scholarship fund.
  • recognized students for honors earned during the fall semester.

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