VISD trustees approve energy efficiency project

Vernon school trustees unanimously approved a proposal to pay for an E3 facility improvement project during a monthly business meeting Tuesday, May 21 during which trustees also approved a number of personnel actions.
Supt. Jeff Byrd recommended that the district pay cash for the estimated $1,342,158 project rather than to pay it out through financing options such as a loan. The project includes retrofitting of LED lighting at all school campuses along with the Administrative Center, Grounds and Transportation, and Maintenance facilities. Also included are replacement of heating/air conditioning units at McCord Elementary School, Vernon Middle School, Vernon High School and the Administrative Center; and new control systems for the HVAC systems at all VISD facilities.
The estimated savings per year for the LED are $70,331. $2,611 for the HVAC replacements and $31,672 for control retrofitting for a total project savings of $104,614 per year. Supt Jeff Byrd said the HVAC units being replaced are close to 15 years old and costing the district money in repairs and maintenance.
Byrd recommended the district pay cash for the project in order to help sell the bond for the project in the next 1-5 years as the district is currently debt free following the recent payoff of a previous bond issue.
“We have a healthy fund balance and we can get started on the project this summer,” he said.
The project is to be carried out over a duration of six to nine months.
Steve Monkres, E3 representative, was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. Monkres, former Bowie ISD superintendent, said that BISD realized a 32 percent saving in energy costs from a similar project undertaken in that district.
Trustees accepted a $20,900 bid from UCS for the purchase of a new pole vault and high hump pits at Lion Stadium to replace equipment damaged in a wind storm earlier this year, employment of summer school personnel, sale of tax properties, resolution for deferred compensation plan, amendment to the 2019-2020 school calendar for Monday, Oct. 14 to be designated as a holiday, supplemental benefits board resolution, amending of Policy EIF (Local) to exempt special education students from graduation credit requirements on a case-by-case basis, authorize Byrd to hire and offer employee contracts before the 2019-2020 school year, budget amendment, scholarship reports and consent agenda items such as payment of bills, minutes of the April meeting and financial report.
Action was tabled on a depository contract for the 2019-2021 biennium until the next meeting to permit the district to negotiate with various financial institutions on criteria such as minimum account balance and interest rates,
Following an executive session to discuss personnel matters, trustees in open session approved the employment of Ivone Rozo, Spanish teacher at Vernon High School; Matthew Soucy, fourth grade social studies teacher at Shive Elementary School; Robin Koch, diagnostician at WSSA; Kristie Thomas, special education teacher at Adolescent Forensic Program of North Texas State Hospital; Katherine Phillips, Vernon Middle School art teacher; Derek Myers, VMS teacher/head wrestling coach; Austin Thompson, VHS special education teacher/coach; and additional personnel for special education through the third grade (this position will follow this grade level/class through the eighth grade).
Also authorized by trustees as approved by the superintendent were the retirements of Janet Shepherd, Central Elementary School secretary; Sandra Sue Chilton, bus driver for the transportation department along with the resignations of Stefanie Rhoads, VMS art teacher; Shad Walker, VMS physical education teacher/coach; Kevin Hunter, Shive fourth grade social studies teacher; Ashleigh Ochoa, Central computer aide effective April 18, Evangelina Salvador, Central child nutrition manager effective May 24; Jenifer Cervantes, custodian effective May 13; Marlene Owens, Shive paraprofessional effective May 31; Malinda Bergara, Shive teacher; and Giovanna Gallegos, Shive teacher. Reassignments were approved including Kristin Oznick to VMS teacher, Matt Buckmaster, head baseball coach; Kyle Wells, from Shive fifth grade to fourth grade science teacher; Shelly Koch, from Central third grade math teacher to Central math intervention specialist; Lyndsey Schur to head volleyball coach and Elly Gonzales to high school assistant tennis coach.
In other action, oaths of office were administered to three board members who ran for new terms of office without opposition including J.J. Oznick, Place 3; Kevin Young, Place 4; and Tom Scott, Place 5. Trustees also approved the reorganization of the board with the same slate of officers including Emory Byars, president; Chris Lehman, vice president; and Scott, secretary.
There were presentations and recognitions of Kevin Hunter, VISD Elementary Teacher of the Year; Martha Quintero, Secondary Teacher of the Year; Erin Dobbins of For Heaven’s Confections as Business Partner in Education; McCord Elementary School Leadership Team for helping the school achieve HRS Level 2 certification, and Wilbarger County 4-H and Wilbarger County Probation Office as Business Partners in Education.
Non-action/discussion items on the agenda that were reviewed and discussed included facilities and principal’s reports, a superintendent’s report, employee health agenda from TRS Active Care, bird problems at the high school tennis courts athletic weight room upgrades to be paid for with activity accounts, replacement of staff and student computers as part of five-year plan presented two years ago for which $48,000 was budgeted for and board member comments/announcements/calendar time.
Present at the meeting were Byrd, board president Byars and trustees Oznick, Young, Scott, Lehman, Mike Boyd and Michael Ruhl. Also present were Vernon High School Assistant Principal Debbie Pearce and Tammie Wrinkle, incoming business manager.

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