At their February 9 meeting, trustees of the Blanco Independent School District heard a report from superintendent Dr. Buck Ford and architect Randy Fromberg on proposals submitted for the construction of six new tennis courts at the high school.
Dr. Ford explained that the eight proposals received in a sealed-bid method range in cost from over $900K to $495K, not including lights.
Proposals were evaluated based on a number of criteria including the firm’s experience in building tennis courts, past performance, responsiveness in submitting a bid, and reputation, as well as the proposed cost.
The recommendation of a geotechnical firm, which did borings to determine soil composition, is to remove 4 feet of existing material and replace it with a particular grade of road base in order to minimize “potential vertical rise”—the amount the clay expands in wet weather. After some discussion, the board voted to recommend that Fromberg continue negotiations with that firm in an attempt to bring down the proposed cost before choosing a company for construction. Fromberg’s firm will assume liability for the project as long as the recommendations of the geotechnical firm are followed.
President Matt Herden summed up the concerns of the board as follows: “We all want the tennis courts—that’s a given—but we want to be frugal with the taxpayers’ money.”
The purchase of a new scoreboard for the football field was discussed but tabled pending further study. Dr. Ford expressed a preference for the lower-tech option board at a cost of $25,700; however, some board members warmed to the idea of a digital board with a $52K price tag, which could include advertising from local businesses as well as other messages. Concerns about who would be able to operate it as well as its cost prompted the board to table the recommendation.
Athletic director Danny Rogers presented board members with T-shirts displaying the new Blanco Panthers logo, recently designed by Monkey Boy Graphix. Rogers reviewed the design process, which resulted in what he calls “a clean-looking panther.” The logo is unique to Blanco and trademarked to prevent theft by any other entity.
Technology director Tom Cozzi reported on technology updates at all three schools for the 2008-09 school year, including the purchase and installation of 60 ceiling-mounted data projectors in core classrooms. In a previous meeting, the board was able to see the projectors in operation.
Ten additional hand-held “interwrite boards” have been added to science and math classrooms. According to Cozzi, the boards allow the teacher to circulate around the classroom using the board, which is projected onto a screen which all students can view.
An additional 87 computers have also been purchased to replace aging ones at all three campuses. Dr. Ford praised the level of technology employed at the three campuses, calling it “wonderful for a district this size.”
The district has also applied for a federal grant to increase distance-learning capabilities, for which Cozzi will be soliciting letters from parents, community members and trustees. In conclusion, Cozzi thanked the board for their support.
In other business, trustees approved the following: a staff development waiver “to allow the district to train staff on various educational strategies designed to improve student performance in lieu of a maximum of three days of student instruction”; an increase in compensation for election clerks and the election judge from $7 per hour to $10 per hour and a $25 extra pay for the election judge; and a one-year contract renewal for all three principals, the business manager, technology director, athletic director, and curriculum/special programs director.
Trustees also accepted the resignation of Bobbi Mouser, effective June 5.