The Gilmer School Board on Monday night named a 24-member “Long-Range Planning Committee” for the school district, along with three school board members to serve as “ex-officio” (non-voting) committee members.
Board President Jeff Rash described the committee members as “community leaders.” School Supt. Rick Albritton said that of about 40 prospective members suggested by the board and invited to serve, the 24 on the list had responded, some of them by attending a meeting.
The committee’s meetings will be open to the public, he added.
Other than the ex-officio members, committee members include Jeff Baird, Frank Breazeale, Kim Buettner, Lena Childress, Dennis Despain, Joe Dodd, Charlotte Fennell, Kevin Finch, Dean Haws, Eleanor Johnson, Helen Johnson, Rosalind Jones, Linda Koudelka, Roderick McKnight, David McQueen and John Mauldin.
Also, Lacy Moore, Todd Ritter, Kay Rockwell, Lisa Smith, Henry Troell, Mike Waller, Raye White and Jennifer Wilson.
Rash appointed himself, Mike Tackett and Mark Skinner as ex-officio members.
In other business Monday night, the board extended its depository contract with First National Bank of Gilmer for two years, rather than seek bids on the depository.
School Business Mgr. Beverly Grimes said the school has had a “very good relationship” with the bank, and that it was the only bidder the last time the district sought depository bids, so “I didn’t feel like there was any need” to seek them this time.
Trustees also approved the early payoff to Gilmer National Bank of a maintenance note for an energy management system—a move which Mrs. Grimes said could save $13,000 in interest since the school has a “healthy” fund balance to pay the note from.
Skinner praised the school district’s financial administrators as “top-notch,” and Albritton said “I’ll give her (Mrs. Grimes) all the kudos” for the interest-saving idea.
In a rare split vote, the board also elected 5-2 to table a motion to accept a $21,942 bid from Mike Craig Ford of Gilmer on a new cargo van for the school’s Food Service Department. Mrs. Grimes said the van would have been used to delivery commodities to campuses, and help with GISD’s summer feeding program.
After a motion was made to make the purchase, Rash said he wanted to explore the option of buying a used vehicle instead. Then, after further discussion, Rash took the unusual move of monentarily handing over presiding of the meeting to board Vice-President Tackett so that Rash could make a motion to table accepting the bid.
Joining Rash in tabling the bid were Tackett, Skinner, Todd Tefteller and Deidra Camp. Trustees Ken Southwell and Gloria King voted against it.
Mrs. Grimes said Craig’s bid was only $160 above the lowest of three bids on the van, and that law did not require the board to accept the lowest bid. Echoing Mrs. Grimes’s sentiment, Rash added that Mike Craig Ford “does a lot for this district”—and Albritton said the school wanted local service.
Tefteller voted for Rash’s motion, although Tefteller had said that a second-hand cargo van would have been “used pretty hard,” and that Food Service personnel “don’t need to be broke down.”
Southwell said he wanted a new vehicle because new ones have “paid for themselves year after year.”
But Mrs. Camp said she wanted a low-mileage vehicle with 6,000 to 7,000 miles, which was “worth looking into” if the board could table the motion to purchase the new one.
At that point, Rash said he wanted “more investigation” and, turning the meeting over to Tackett, made his motion to table.
The board then accepted a $31,002 bid from Kirby Restaurant Supply, the lowest of two bids, on a 12x20 food service outdoor freezer to be located at Gilmer Intermediate School. Mrs. Grimes said it would store commodities, which should save the school money on deliveries.
Trustees also accepted a $15,183 bid on two lawn mowers from B&S Hardware of Gilmer.
In other business, the board approved the school calendar for 2013-2014.
Albritton said state law prohibits school from opening before Aug. 26, and that if the Texas Legislature changes testing requirements for students, the board may change the calendar.
The school also approved the “first reading” (actually a summation) of a Texas Association of School Boards policy update, which makes changes in state leave for teachers and the compulsory school attendance law.
Albritton said local teachers receive five days of state leave, and that the new state policy awards them that at the start of a school year if they were employed, even if they never actually work a day.
In addition, he said, a Texas Attorney General’s opinion has held that 18-year-olds cannot be held to the compulsory attendance law.
“They’ve just removed the teeth from the truancy laws,” Albritton said.
Also Monday night, the board held a closed session on personnel matters, but School Secretary Judy Moore said the board took no votes in open session afterward.