Chico School Board considers food service options

Add Chico to the list of area schools that may look at changing their food service.

Monday, Chico Superintendent Mike Jones presented school board members with information on contracting with an outside company to oversee cafeteria operations. Jones said he visited with the Era and Collinsville school districts who have recently taken that route, to see how it was working out.

“I was at Era during a lunch time, and the kids were quiet and chowing down,” he said. “It’s unusual. Usually you’re riding herd on kids. They were full. The parents were giving them great praise. They said their kids weren’t coming home starving.”

Calling it a “win-win,” Jones said the companies could offer healthy, high-quality options that would appeal to students. He said other schools that have brought in an outside company went from running a deficit in their food service operations to breaking even or making a profit.

The school would be able to utilize the company’s resources and experience while still using its own cafeteria workers, he added.

The item was for discussion purposes only at Monday’s meeting, but Jones said he intends to bring it back to the board in June for possible action.

Boyd and Paradise have also recently looked into contracting with an outside company for food service.

In other business, the board:

  • re-elected Bill Hand as board president and Doug Bowyer as secretary and named Paul Cantrell vice president;
  • approved the purchase of a 2015 Chevrolet pickup from James Wood Motors in Decatur;
  • approved a low-attendance waiver request to the Texas Education Agency for two days in December when school was held, but buses did not run due to icy conditions – resulting in about one-third of the students missing those two days; and
  • approved a staff development waiver request for three days used for staff development rather than instruction.

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Chico school board seeks pricing on facility projects

A month after hearing a report that identified facility needs of the school district, Chico ISD school board members Monday began taking a closer look at those areas.

Tony Apel with WRA Architects of Dallas, who gave the report at last month’s meeting, was on hand again to go through the list of high- and medium-priority needs as identified by the facilities review committee. The idea was to have board members identify which of those items needed further study, including price estimates.

Overall, the board asked for pricing estimates on most of the items on the list, which includes:

  • Elementary – cafeteria theatrical lighting and stage curtain, site drainage on the north and south sides, extended parent pick-up lane, numerous security items, covered sidewalks for pick-up and drop-off, occupancy sensors for the classrooms, audio communication to the exterior and more exterior lighting
  • Middle school – replacement of HVAC units, window replacement, roof replacement, numerous security items, locker room light upgrades, better parking lot lighting, site drainage on south side, sidewalks and audio communication to exterior
  • High school – new ag barn facility, numerous security items, softball field resurfacing, more exterior lighting, additional front parking area and new concessions and restroom at the baseball/softball facility
  • District – security cameras at sporting areas, paving parking lot at football field and water capture for irrigation at football field

Apel said he would work on preliminary pricing and planning and report back to the board. None of the projects have been approved yet.

In other business from Monday’s special meeting, the board approved a resolution to pay employees for missed instructional days due to bad weather and approved a shared services arrangement with Bluebonnet Co-op for students with visual impairments.

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

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.

FACILITIES UPDATE

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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Facilities review, superintendent contract on Chico School Board agenda

The Chico School Board Monday will hear a report on the needs in the school district.

The report will be in the form of an update from the Facilities Review Committee. The group has been working to identify program needs, possible renovations or additions to facilities, functional needs or deficiencies, security or safety concerns and possible deferred maintenance projects for capital improvements.

Tony Apel with WRA Architects of Dallas will present the progress update, including a needs/priority list by school that the committee has put together.

The board will also perform the annual review of Superintendent Mike Jones and possibly take action on his contract.

In other business, the board will consider advertising for proposals for new HVAC rooftop units at the middle school gym, riding lawnmowers and school vehicles; accept a donation from Noel and LeeAnn Ruddick for the Ryan Ruddick Memorial Scholarship Fund; recognize students for honors and activities from the fall semester; and hear monthly principal reports.

The meeting is 6:30 p.m. in the Chico Elementary School Cafetorium located at 1120 Park Rd.

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Board’s full plate includes food item

The Chico school board faces a full agenda for its Monday meeting.

Agenda items include approving campus attendance committees, voting for Wise County Appraisal District board of directors, approving district and campus improvement plans, a Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) policy update, the district technology plan and the middle school cafeteria food service.

They will also review bids for lawn mowing service and consider hiring a half-time teacher position. The agenda also includes the regular district and campus principal reports, including a facilities review committee update.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in Room 150 at Chico Elementary School, 1120 Park Road. It is open to the public.

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