Decatur ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend received a vote of confidence from the school board Wednesday night.
After meeting in closed session for more than four hours for the annual superintendent evaluation, the board emerged to take action on his contract.
“The consensus of the board is, we are very pleased with Mr. Townsend’s performance,” said board President Kevin Haney. “We appreciate the work he is doing for the district. We feel like he’s doing an outstanding job for us and hope he sticks around for a while.
“We didn’t want anyone to have the perception that since we were back there a long time that we were thinking any differently,” he added. “Everything is going smoothly in the district, and we credit a lot of that to him and we appreciate what he does.”
The board voted 7-0 to add another year to Townsend’s contract, extending it through 2018.
In addition, the board voted to raise Townsend’s salary $4,500 and, upon his request, move his auto and medical benefits into his salary figure.
Since it was about 10:20 p.m. before the board moved to the next item of business – discussion of a possible bond election – Haney said they would defer further discussion “until we are a little more fresh.”
Townsend did provide the board with updated information, including new estimates on some possible bond items.
Jim Winton with Winton Engineering, who worked on the administration building renovation, provided Townsend with some estimates on possible items related to athletic facilities.
At Eagle Stadium, Townsend said rather than replacing the current press box, it is possible to expand it. Winton advised the press box could be expanded forward, taking out about three rows of bleachers, to double its size and make it a two-tiered press box with a sloped window – all for around $150,000.
If the board decides to add an indoor multipurpose practice facility at the high school, Winton told Townsend that would cost around $3.5 million.
Townsend said it would probably need to include a storage room and a couple of classrooms where athletes could gather to watch film, since that is currently done in the dressing room. The costs could be kept lower by not adding HVAC or restrooms, he said.
Winton also told Townsend that upgrades at the middle school track could be done for about half of the original estimate. He advised that track replacement could be done for about $150,000.
It’s possible a stand-alone gym at Rann Elementary could also be added for less than the original estimate of $2.5 million, Winton told Townsend. Winton estimated that a basic metal building could be constructed for $740,000 to $1 million.
Earlier discussions about a bond focused on dividing it up into three different packages. But advice at last month’s meeting from Jeff Robert of First Southwest, as well as his own research, have persuaded Townsend to suggest the board might want to look at just one or two packages at most.
Townsend looked at schools similar in size to Decatur who have held bond elections the past two years, and out of the 26 schools, only one had multiple propositions on the ballot.
“My thought is we should not do three,” Haney said. “It kind of waters everything down, gets too confusing.”
Townsend said he would look at different options with two bond packages for the board’s consideration. The board is expected to vote on calling a bond election at its regular January meeting, which was moved from Jan. 19 to Jan. 28.