At their June 9 meeting, trustees of the Blanco Independent School District voted to appoint Blanco Middle School principal Dr. Buck Ford interim superintendent.
At a special meeting held May 30, trustees had voted to place Gardner on administrative leave with pay and to assign his duties of superintendent to Ford until June 30.
Ford, a principal in BISD for the past 12 years, holds superintendent’s credentials. He has 31 years of experience in education, 11 years in the classroom as an English teacher, and 11 years coaching experience.
Trustees also voted to post the superintendent position on the district website June 10 and on the bulletin board at each campus. A meeting will be held on June 24 to evaluate applications received. In answer to a question by this reporter as to whether the search time is short, Dr. Ford said not necessarily.
Board members voted to re-elect Matt Herden as president after Troy Immel was also nominated. MaryAnn Weaver was voted vice-president and Dr. David Behrends, secretary.
As part of the review of the consent agenda, Matt Herden noted a check for $916 written to the attorney firm of Henslee Schwartz LLP for which he has been unable to get an explanation. He recommended putting another attorney, Paul Hunn, on retainer for the district, since Hunn does not charge unless he performs a service for the district. Trustee Troy Immel questioned the need for multiple attorneys, citing the expense of over $2300 for flying in Dallas attorney Stephen Dubner to evaluate the standard contract submitted by architects Fromberg and Associates for a proposed facilities study. Financial manager Kay Fraser explained that different attorneys have different areas of expertise. Trustees voted to add Paul Hunn to the list of BISD attorneys.
Dr. Buck Ford presented the list of school buses owned by the district as of June 1, with mileage on 13 buses exceeding 100,000 miles and two over 200,000. Dr. David Behrends asked if the district plans to buy a new bus, and Kay Fraser and Herden both said yes.
Trustees approved salary recommendations for the 2008-09 school year, including the following: raising the average salaries of teachers by 6.39%. The salary for a beginning teacher will rise to $36,000, an increase of $2,500. Administrators will receive a 5% increase, bus drivers a raise of $1.50 per hour. Substitute teacher pay rates will increase by $10 per day on regular assignments and $15 per day for long-term assignments. Coaching stipends will rise in varying amounts, with the biggest raise ($2000) going to the assistant high school football coach. Recommendations for coaching stipends were submitted by athletic director Danny Rogers. Budget requests for non-salary accounts reflect rising transportation costs. Trustees approved budget requests.
In other business, trustees approved the following: the donation of an activity barn by Harold Lord, so that FFA students can house their animals during the school year. Other activities the barn could house would include banquets, fund raisers, prospect shows, educational workshops and clinics, and competitive leadership and career development events. Mr. Lord is actually donating two barns, but the district must move them. Buddy Dechert and Travis Pfeiffer have agreed to provide this service for a low fee of $7800 plus the exchange of one of the barns. Trustee Troy Immel questioned whether the barn would blend with the other buildings on campus, and principal Dustin Barton responded that it could be placed behind the ag building, where it would be less visible.
Trustees also reviewed a list of transfer students and heard the first reading of TASB Policy Update 83, dealing with policies that address harrassment, discrimination, and retaliation, as well as new Family and Medical Leave Act provisions dealing with the military service of employees or their family members. A lengthy list of revisions to local policy dealing with compensation and benefits, leaves and absences was approved, as was a budget amendment request to open the Summer Food Service Program for June and July.
Following executive session, trustees approved the hiring of two new teachers—Natalie Jurischk and Mary Ann Johnson. Trustees voted to send delegate Troy Immel and alternate Matt Herden to the annual TASB Convention in Dallas September 26-28.