School building projects wind down 'in the black'

Trustees adopt same tax rate, approve ball field specifications
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

The $30.8-million bond construction program which built the new intermediate school and a mostly new high school will end up "in the black."

Consultant Dr. Ned Walton told Rockdale ISD trustees Monday at least $20,000 to $30,000 in unspent funds from Rockdale's largest bond program ever would be returned to the district.

Meeting in the Central Administration Building, trustees also adopted a tax rate with no change from the current year and okayed construction documents for baseball field renovation.

'In the black'

Dr. Walton termed the $20,000 to $30,000 estimate a "modest sum" of money unspent on bond items.

"There will also be some money in (bond budget) allowance which is not being spent and that will also be returned," he said. "I don't have a feel yet for what that amount will be."

Bottom line. "You've gotten what you paid for," Dr. Walton told trustees. "The goals and objectives of the bond issue have been met."

RISD voters approved $28.8- million in bonds for the construction projects in May, 2007. An additional $2-million in interest was earned, making the total package $30.8-million.

'Nothing negative'

'I don't have anything negative to report to you," Dr. Walton said, noting the projects remain under warranty and that several problems are being addressed.

Those include some pocking and flaking on the high school main entry steps and scratch marks on the RHS gym floor.

Dr. Walton said the gym floor will be re-finished during the Christmas holidays.

"There's still going to be an 11-month warranty walkthrough of the projects," Dr. Walton said. "Contractors and sub-contractors are still obligated to get things taken care of."

Tax rate

Board members okayed the proposed tax rate of $1.2135 cents for 2009-10.

That's the same as the current year rate.

Karl Kacir, assistant superintendent for business, presented budget amendments later in the meeting which reflected about $283,000 in additional revenue, $200,000 from a projected increase in revenue, due to higher enrollment, and $83,000 from sale of portable buildings.

Superintendent Dr. Howell Wright said enrollment continues to maintain a slight gain over last year, reversing recent trends.

Baseball field

Board members unanimously approved construction documents to upgrade the RHS baseball field, a project approved two weeks ago.

Those documents include an immediate call for bids with a bid opening in early October.

Trustees mulled color schemes for the upgrade, which includes a new press box, concession stand and athletic administration office. Several trustees expressed a preference for a color scheme matching the girls softball field, as opposed to a color scheme matching the new high school.

In other business, board members:

• Heard a report on TAKS scores from testing coordinator Cathy Ormsby. She said 18 members of the current 111-member RHS senior class have yet to master one or more of their exitlevel tests which they must pass to receive a diploma.

• Appointed a School Health Advisory Committee as follows: Jackie Thornton (co-chair), Penny Curry (co-chair), Elisha Betchan, David Taylor, Vicki Moore, Karen Seiber, Amber Robinson.

• Accepted 2009-10 campus and district improvement plans as presented by administrators.

• Viewed a powerpoint presentation by Intermediate Principal Pam Kaufmann on the opening of school at that campus.

• Granted county extension agents adjunct faculty status for time periods when students are participating in extracurricular events under their supervision.

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