The Chico school board voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Mike Jones by the slimmest of margins Monday.
The action came a year after a similar motion failed on a 5-2 vote. This year, it passed by a 4-3 margin.
Two board members, Pancho Redwine and Doug Bowyer, voted in favor of the extension after voting against it last year.
“I just feel like we put some items on the table last year for Mr. Jones to complete, and we feel like he did an excellent job of working on those issues,” said board member Mark Tate, who seconded the motion by Paul Cantrell to extend Jones’ contract back to three years. “I see no reason we shouldn’t extend his contract.”
The three board members who disagreed were board President Bill Hand, G.A. Buckner and Lori Clark.
Jones’ contract now runs through the 2017-2018 school year. The district traditionally waits until summer budget discussions to take action on salary adjustments.
After two years of studying the district’s needs, the board could decide to call a bond election next month. They’ll have to, if they want the election to take place this spring.
On Monday, the board heard from Tony Apel with WRA Architects of Dallas, who has assisted the school as they review facility needs. He provided the board with the latest cost estimates for projects previously identified as the most pressing needs.
The needs are grouped into four different packages. Package A includes security and lighting upgrades at all campuses. That includes cameras and electronic card readers, among other items. The package also includes a total roof replacement and HVAC unit replacement at the middle school. The total estimate for projects in Package A is $1.6 million.
Package B includes a new ag barn facility, new concession stand/restroom facility at the baseball and softball fields and a canopy structure over the existing grandstands at the ballfields. Total cost of Package B is $2.6 million.
Package C includes site upgrades at all campuses including an extended pick-up lane at the elementary, a pedestrian path to school at the middle school and increased parking at the high school. Total cost of this package is $395,520.
Package D includes transportation and technology upgrades. More detailed information was not available by press deadline.
Doug Whitt with Southwest Securities, the district’s financial advisor, presented the board with an analysis of how a possible bond program would affect the district’s tax rate. If the school called a bond election for $7 million, for instance, the estimated increase on the debt service portion of the district’s tax rate would increase approximately 11 cents. Each $1 million increase in the bond package, would equate to a 1.25-cent increase in the tax rate, based on conservative estimates, he explained.
With an 11-cent increase, the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would expect to see an annual tax increase of $110, or $9.17 per month.
The school board is expected to consider calling a bond election at next month’s meeting.
In other business, the board:
- recognized students for honors earned during the fall semester;
- learned the district is saving $275,000 using the services of Education Service Center 11 this year;
- approved TASB policy updates;
- voted to continue a resolution supporting the Clean Fleet Policy R14-10; and
- accepted a $20,000 donation from Noel and LeAnn Ruddick for the Ryan Ruddick Memorial Scholarship Fund.