Blanco ISD Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford announced at the May 14 trustees’ meeting that the school district has been selected to receive an energy efficiency grant from the State Energy Conservation Office for $99,981. The money will be used to upgrade eight twenty-year-old HVAC units at Blanco Middle School. Trustees unanimously approved a resolution accepting the grant, which will require a review by SECO engineers and a successful contract negotiation with SECO and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The BMS units are the oldest in the district.
In other construction news, Joel Benjegerdes of Vanguard Contractors gave trustees an update on the Blanco Elementary School construction/renovation project. To date, both wings on the original, Alamo-style building have been demolished, asbestos abatement is complete, the mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) rough-in is complete for the west classroom wing and the cafeteria, and forms and rebar are complete for these areas as well. Mr. Benjagerdes provided trustees with construction photos. In answer to a question about the height of the cafeteria ceiling, Mr. Benjagerdes responded that the building is designed not to need upright supports within the space. Within the next thirty days, weather permitting, the remaining buildings scheduled for demolition will be taken down, the slab for the east classroom wing will be poured, forms and rebar will be in place, and the MEP rough-in will be completed. Mr. Benjegerdes invited trustees to attend the bi-weekly meetings between the district and Vanguard. Matt Herden complimented the work of Vanguard, saying, “We get a lot of good reports about you.”
Blanco High School principal Dustin Barton reported to trustees that the work replacing the stage at the high school, one of the projects provided for in last May’s bond issue, is complete, as is the sound system. Barton said that band director Brian Hecimovich is very pleased with the quality of the sound. In response to an inquiry by trustee Bernie San Miguel about the lighting system, Barton said that the lights are only a few years old and did not need to be upgraded.
In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Ford announced several upcoming events, including an Early Release Day for students on May 31 at 1:00 p.m. As a cost-saving measure, the district will go to a four-day work week this summer. In addition to being closed July 2-6, district offices will also be closed on Fridays. Monday through Wednesday hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Thursday hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Dr. Ford said the Lockhart ISD saved $60K by going to a four-day work week in the summer. Other upcoming dates for trustees include a TASB Summer Leadership Institute June 14-16 in San Antonio and a TASB Board Training Session June 18 from 6-9 p.m. in Blanco.
Dr. Ford also presented trustees with an updated tentative staffing plan for all three Blanco ISD campuses. There are three positions posted on the district website—high school science, elementary special education, and an elementary teacher position. After executive session, trustees accepted the resignation of Johanna Brown, fourth grade teacher, and approved the employment of Elizabeth Fair as an elementary special education teacher. She will move from her present position as middle school instructional aide.
The May Spotlight on Students featured “Unsung Heroes” from Blanco Elementary School. A student from each grade was chosen by his/her peers as someone who has been a model for other students. Acting principal Sandy Gravenor presented certificates to five students, telling a little about each one. Andrea Campa was nominated by her first grade peers as an exceptional student who sets an example for other students. Andrea reads on a third--grade level. Second graders nominated Trinity Moreno. Ms. Gravenor praised Trinity, who she said “has grown so much this year. She gives up specials to complete her work and is very responsible. She reads 59 words per minute and is making all As and Bs.” The third grade nominee is Cadence Drum, who has excelled in the creation of origami. He has taught his third grade peers to do the intricate Japanese craft, which he memorizes after finding designs in books or online. Fourth grade nominee Camilla Miranda is characterized as “always happy and smiling. She makes fourth grade a happier place.” Camilla has an outstanding attitude, according to Ms. Gravenor, and always does her best. The fifth grade nominee, by coincidence, is Aurora Miranda, Camilla’s sister. Ms. Gravenor praised her for her outstanding work habits, adding that she is a model student who is always respectful.
Before going into Executive Session, trustees approved a budget amendment increasing IDEA-B funds from TEA to full entitlement.