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Under review: Trustees to act on Whitis’ contract March 25

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, March 6, 2019
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The Decatur ISD School Board took no action Monday after completing its review of Superintendent Judi Whitis.

Action on the superintendent’s contract was not listed on the special meeting agenda. Trustees plan to act on the contract at its March 25 meeting.

School Board Vice President Rex Hoskins read a statement on behalf of the trustees following an hour-long closed session.

“The Decatur ISD Board of Trustees conducted the superintendent’s annual appraisal this evening. Feedback was received from all seven trustees. As this matter was not a scheduled action item for tonight’s meeting, the board will take an official vote during open session at the meeting March 25,” Hoskins said.

After the meeting, Hoskins said all seven trustees provided written evaluations of Whitis that were reviewed during closed session. He said School Board President Cheri Boyd, who had to leave Monday’s meeting after closed session to attend a visitation, will tally results of the evaluation.

Trustees will then be able to take action on Whitis’ contract.

Whitis joined the district in July 2017. Her contract with the district runs through July 30, 2021, paying her $158,000 annually.

Monday was the first superintendent review since June when the board voted 4-3 after three hours in closed session to keep her on the job.

After that meeting, which was the second meeting in a span of two weeks to discuss Whitis’ contract, then board secretary Boyd read a statement: “The board recognizes that concerns have been raised by some about the superintendent, and board members have also received statements of support for Dr. Whitis. After considering what is in the best interest of Decatur ISD, the majority of the board has expressed its willingness to move forward with Dr. Whitis as our superintendent. Dr. Whitis will work with the board and district stakeholders to address these concerns. Communication is always key to success of any relationship, and we, as a board, pledge to work on communication with the superintendent. The board appreciates the community’s strong partnership with DISD, and we are ‘expecting the best’ in the days to come.”

In other business, the district’s architect George DeJohn of Claycomb updated trustees on the renovations and future addition at the high school.

DeJohn said the three-story, 12-classroom addition and the alternates, which include tearing out existing walls in some second-story classrooms to create flexible spaces and converting some other areas into classrooms, is out for bids. Those bids are expected to be returned to builder Steele and Freeman Thursday.

The district should be presented a guaranteed maximum price for the project at the March 25 meeting. The construction project is expected to take a year to complete. The renovations, which were alternates, could be completed over the summer.

A new project has been added to the list, security gates near the rotunda on the first and second level to close off the rest of the building during events at the school.

“It would give the administration a way to secure the area we are not using,” said Principal Chris Mogan.

Whitis presented the board with an updated construction budget of $5.986 million.

“Five million is a good safe number,” she said.

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