Thorndale ISD looking at next steps toward bond at meeting

Thorndale Independent School District trustees meet on Oct. 16.

There was a presentation by Casey Sledge of Sledge Engineering to inform the board about the facilities planning and construction management services that his company offers through an agreement with the Region 13 Educational Service Center.

Administrators were on hand to answer questions about their campus reports. There were a few questions for administrators including a question for Elementary Principal Meghan Esau concerning the use of a new reading program called Reading Plus. She reported that this program has been offered as a trial and that she was planning to use it in second through fifth grades. 

Middle School Principal Lee Hafley had previously reported that his campus had started using the new program and he was very impressed with the level of data that his teachers were getting from the diagnostic assessments they had given. 

Superintendent Adam Ivy made a few comments regarding the superintendent’s report including an update on the new bus being fitted so that it meets Texas requirements for safety. He also informed the board about the status of the work to move gas meters and electrical service at the stadium in advance of removal of the old weight room. Ivy gave a brief report on the status of the new bus barn project and informed the board that the 34-year-old bell system at the middle school had stopped working and would need to be replaced.

The board considered the consent agenda and approved it with no questions. Business Manager Rebecca Peel presented the board with the new financial procedures manual. This manual did not require board approval. Peel also presented a change to the compensation plan for 2017-18 to add a new pay scale to accommodate the new structure of the technology department. The board voted 6-0 to approve this change.

Ivy discussed the school day that was missed in August due to Hurricane Harvey. He stated that the governor did not initially include Milam County on the list of affected areas but due to some road damage the county was added which allowed the district to apply for a missed school day waiver for Aug. 28. The board approved the waiver application by a vote of 6-0.

Peel presented a resolution that would allow the district to pay staff when there is an emergency closure. She reported that the designation as a district of Innovation allows the district to alter the number of days a teacher works but the resolution would allow the teachers and staff to be paid during an emergency closure. The board approved this resolution by a vote of 6-0.

Ivy presented the board with the standard agreement with the City of Thorndale to use the baseball and softball fields. He stated that this is the same agreement that has been in effect for many years and that it was for informational purposes only. 

The next item on the agenda was the purchase of a new vehicle. Ivy reported that the cost of this vehicle was built into the budget and that he had intended to wait until later in the year to make a purchase so that he would have a better idea of how the budget was shaping up. He added that recent circumstances requiring special transportation needs made the purchase an urgent matter. He presented two different options including a Chevrolet Traverse and a Chevrolet Equinox. The Equinox is a five-passenger vehicle getting around 27 MPG and the Traverse is a seven-passenger vehicle getting around 22 MPG. The board discussed the two vehicles and decided that the Traverse gives more flexibility in the long-term to transport students and supplies. The board tabled this item until after closed session and then voted 6-0 to purchase the Traverse.

The board went into closed session at 7:30 p.m. and returned at 8:33 p.m. Upon returning the board discussed the possibility of creating an interlocal agreement with Region 13 to provide pre-bond services. The board took no action on this item.

Peel presented several budget amendments to the board. These amendments included the acceptance and budgeting of grant funds from Dollar General, the budgeting of funds to pay for pre-construction work for the new bus barn, budgeting to replace the bell system at the Middle School and budgeting for a new driver. The board approved the budget amendments as presented.

The board set the date for the November meeting for Monday, Nov. 13, at 6:30 p.m.