Romy Ramirez and Paul Uranga take Oath of Office
Photo by Becky Brewster
On May 13, CCAISD held a special meeting for the consideration and adoption of an order canvassing returns and declaring the results of a Bond Election held on May 7. A quorum of the Board was not present, and it was noted that a quorum was not required to canvass the election. The Board declared that the Bond had passed.
At the regular meeting held on May 25, the Board selected Parkhill, Smith and Cooper (PSC) as the most “highly qualified” architectural firm for the school facility construction project to be funded by bond proceeds, and authorized Supt. Dalia Benavides to negotiate the contract and present it to the Board for approval. Supt. Benavides recommended this method of selecting the architectural firm in order to expedite the project noting that PSC had already presented its qualifications when they were selected to complete the facility study. The solicitation of Requests for Qualifications to select an architectural firm would push the project back approximately six weeks.
The Board also approved a resolution for expenditures for the bond which will allow the District to use the fund balance to pay any bond expenditures incurred prior to the sale of the bonds with the bond proceeds later reimbursing the fund balance as needed. The District has been advised to wait until after July 25, 2016 to sell the bonds so they will have the Certified Taxable Values for 2016 from the Culberson County Appraisal District. In the meantime, the Board authorized Supt. Benavides to approach the City Council again about the possible closure of Fannin Street.
In open forum, Athletic Director Brian Gibson introduced the State Qualifiers Lezlie Jones, (Golf), Renee Rivera, (Track), and Camille Uranga, (Tennis), and their coaches for recognition by the Board. Supt. Benavides then noted she had met with the leadership team regarding the request for public use of the track and offered two options for consideration: Mark off the field house parking lot showing distances and adjust the lighting to allow for early morning or late evening use, Open the track for specific hours with stringent regulations. Concerns about unattended children in the stands or on the turf, vandalism, unauthorized use of strollers or other wheeled devices on the track, monitoring compliance with the regulations, etc., caused the Board to steer away from this option. The Board authorized the immediate modifications for the parking lot to allow the public to have a lighted area to walk while they continue to explore other options such as a walking trail.
David Morales of Financial Benefit Services presented the Board with information on the West Texas Employee Benefits Cooperative, a consortium of small school districts in West Texas comprised of over 100 school districts with over 13,000 employees. Mr. Morales touted their services as the “Premier Benefits Consultant” in Texas with 452 school districts with a 95% retention noting that their technology puts them at the forefront of their competitors. The Cooperative allows a savings on all benefits while enhancing the overall portfolio of benefits available to the District employees. Supt. Benavides reported that the current contract for benefit consulting services is coming up for renewal. At the recommendation of the Superintendent, the Board approved switching service providers at that time.
After a short executive session, the Board voted to accept the recommendations of Supt. Benavides to renew teacher contracts for 2016-2017 as presented. The names of the employees were not provided to The Advocate.
Since the District only had three candidates apply for a place on the ballot for the May 7 Election, the District was eligible to cancel its election. Incumbents Paul Uranga, Romy Ramirez and Angie Gonzalez, were eligible to take their seats for the three year term after the date the results would have been canvassed. Oaths of Office were administered to Paul Uranga and Romy Ramirez. Angie Gonzalez was not present at this meeting and will be sworn in at a later date. The following officers were elected for 2016-2017: President – Paul Uranga, Vice-President – Sandy Urias, Secretary – Letty Hernandez.
In other business, the CCAISD Board members:
• Approved the T-TESS and T-PESS Policies for appraisal of Teachers and Principals.
• Approved a Tax Resale Bid from Jeremy Weaver as submitted by the Appraisal District.
• Approved the closure of a CD investment and authorized reinvesting the funds.
• Heard reports on the Summer Lunch Program and the Summer School schedule.