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Board Members Evaluate Rider High School Band Uniform Bids

Board Members Evaluate Rider High School Band Uniform Bids

Property insurance renewal costs surprise; budget amendments posted



Board members got a good look Tuesday at what it will cost to put the Rider High School band into new uniforms. The cost -- $172,390 – will drain the current band uniform account of its $100,000 and require another $72,390 from fund balance.


Fine Arts Director Kelly Strenski and Rider band director Loy Studer recommended the purchase of constructed uniforms from Fruhauf Uniforms, a co-op provider out of Wichita, Kansas.


The issue was presented to board members May 15 in a noon special session.


The Fruhauf Uniforms were the high-dollar bid of three, including bids by Fred J. Miller company ($133,109 for wash-and-wear uniforms only) and Stanbury Uniforms ($125,645). WFISD has worked with all three companies over the years, but the “value and trust” that she had for Fruhauf was a strong factor in requesting to work with them, said Mrs. Strenski.


The District is seeking to replace band uniforms purchased in 2008. Rider is potentially facing “a tidal wave of kids” who will be coming into the band program, said Mr. Studer. The District must have not only enough uniforms for all of them but enough uniforms in the correct sizes.


New uniforms can be made with a snap system that can be adjusted on sleeves and pants to accommodate students of slightly different sizes, he said. He showed a sample uniform with such snaps to board members.


The District has purchased 250 uniforms in the past. Rider had a banner year last year with 192 participants, and Mr. Studer said he “struggled” to outfit all with proper attire. Band uniform companies recommend that a director take the highest number of participants in the last three years, find the average and add 20 percent to get the correct number of uniforms of various sizes needed to serve everyone.


This purchase comes on the heels of a $600,000 purchase of badly needed band instruments earlier in the school year.


After the Rider band is provided with new uniforms, it will be Hirschi High School and Wichita Falls High School’s turn for new uniforms. They, too, have been wearing uniforms purchased in 2008.  With a new budget launching in September, another $50,000 will be deposited into the “Band Fund” – a routine deposit each year -- but it will require more than that to make the next uniform purchases, said Mr. Kuhrt. “It may be a $130,000 purchase next year.”


The District also needs to foresee and plan for more instrument purchases, he said.


Security Initiative Phase 3


Board members are moving closer to completing a bond-funded project of creating new, secure entrances at all District schools. On Tuesday, they considered Phase 3, which would address entrances at Lamar Elementary, Southern Hills Elementary, Fain Elementary, Ben Milam Elementary, Brook Village Early Childcare Center, Scotland Park Elementary, and Sheppard Elementary.


The District is entertaining two bids, preferring the Wendeborn Construction company in Wichita Falls, who bid $222,700. The other bid, by Santa Rosa Construction in Vernon, Texas, was slightly higher at $230,425.


The original estimated cost for the work at the seven schools was $176,221. After modifications and changes to the original scope of work, the final estimated cost was $233,832. The cost will be paid by bond funds. “The balance left (in the bond fund) does cover this work,” said Tim Sherrod, chief financial officer.


Once approved, the work will be completed this summer.


Property insurance

Board members were surprised – shocked even, as were District employees – at the more than 50 percent hike in the property insurance renewal presented to the District by its current provider, Higginbotham Insurance Agency out of Ft. Worth.


Unprecedented wind and hail damage in three locations in Texas affected all insurers’ rates, said Mr. Sherrod.


When he first saw the hike in the renewal premium, “I was stunned and didn’t think it was real,” he said. The District immediately decided to go out for bid, but employees were even more shocked to learn that the skyrocketing renewal option was the least expensive option of all.


The District’s current cost of property insurance is $253,912; the renewal hike was a total of $423,774. But other bids were markedly higher: $482,647; $541,000; $618,500; $633,866; $695,816; $700,000.


It did not affect the cost that WFISD has placed no claims in the past five years, said Alicia Woodard, director of purchasing.


Revenue Projection

Chief Financial Officer Tim Sherrod projects that revenue for the next budget year will be essentially flat at about $109 million. However, costs are expected to increase.


The District’s federal, state and local monies divides out to $8,074 per student.


He presented board members with a document comparing the 2018-2019 revenue projections to the previous years. Current operating tax is $1.04, with an Interest and Sinking rate of 19 cents for a total tax rate of $1.23.


The attendance number used for projections is a conservative 13,050, though the most current attendance projection is more like 13,094, said Mr. Sherrod.


There is some question as to whether the District’s SHARS revenue will be discontinued. SHARS revenue represents Medicaid reimbursements that the District receives from its services, such as occupational or speech therapy, that are provided to children on Medicaid.


District staff work hard to document all such services, and SHARS revenue has increased as a result. However, “We can’t rely on it; it could go away,” said Mike Kuhrt, WFISD superintendent.


Board members discussed the value of asking voters for a tax increase from $1.04 to $1.17 per $100 valuation of their property, which is the most WFISD can ask for by law.


Mr. Kuhrt clarified to board members the one financial concept that is hard for many to understand: Even if property taxes rise – as they have been -- and the District receives more local income because of it, the District will be hit with a corresponding decrease in state income to balance it out.


This same balancing act goes on if the District raises more in local taxes. “If we get 13 additional pennies, we get the state offset,” said Mr. Kuhrt.


The District will also receive a reimbursement from Scientific Learning, the District’s newest remedial reading program. WFISD fronted the budget the $220,000 and now will be getting the money back in two years of payments.


Staffing at the campuses was recently finalized for the next school year, and Mr. Sherrod said he expected to have a budget draft at the next work session in June.


Budget Amendments


In a 7-0 vote, board members approved 100 budget amendments ranging from $1 to $20,000. The list was long because many principals finished out their campus year by meeting the May deadline for submitting their expenses, said Mr. Sherrod.


The amendments did not change the District’s financial position, positive or negative, said Mr. Sherrod.


Financial Reports

Mr. Sherrod presented the year-to-date financial reports as of March 31, 2018, seven months of operations.


As of February last year, the District had collected 68.40 percent of projected revenues, as compared to 72.83 percent for 2017-2018. Expenditures for last year were 56.53 percent of budget, as compared to 60.56 percent for 2017-2018.


For the General Fund, revenues were 70.05 percent last year as compared to 72.25 percent this year. Expenditures were 56.78 percent last year as compared to 58.50 percent this year.


For the Food Service Fund, revenues were 66.37 percent last year compared to 53.62 percent this year. Expenditures were 56.81 percent last year compared to 63.77 percent this year.


For the Debt Service Fund, revenues were 99.16 percent last year, compared to 98.01 percent this year. Expenditures were 78.39 percent last year compared to 79.02 percent this year.


Resale Bids of Property

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved addressing 49 parcels within the WFISD district limits. Of the 49 parcels offered for sale, 35 received bids for $34,986.50. Mr. Sherrod recommended accepting 28 of the bids for a total of $33,911.50. He recommended the City Council decline seven of the bids received because the bids were substantially less than the appraised value. Board members approved the plan.


Bids were opened April 13, 2018. Each of the 49 properties are excess real property acquired from delinquent tax suits and struck off to the City as Trustee for the three taxing entities.


All properties are sold “as is” and on a “buyer beware” basis.


Policy Review Session


The Texas Association of School Boards did a policy audit of 35 WFISD policies, doing an extensive review of the policies and recommending certain changes, said Debby Patterson, executive director of school administration.


In response, WFISD held a policy review session January 9-10, 2018.


There has been some back-and-forth with TASB on some policies and some rewriting, said Mrs. Patterson. The entire set of policies will eventually be returned to board members for approval.


Policy Update 110 for BBB(LOCAL)

Update 110 reorganizes and updates several policies in the BBB series of the District’s policy manual that address board member eligibility and qualifications, their elections, vacancies and removal from office.


The policy on board elections has been divided into several codes to make it easier to use. District choices about election processes are now located in BBB(LOCAL) rather than in the LEGAL policies. This better matches the structure of the policies in the manual.


As part of the elections review, two other policies – one addressing bond elections (CCA), one addressing political advertising (CPAB) – were also updated.


Alternative Graduation Requirements


Board members will consider a resolution that will partially suspend the graduation requirements so that former students can qualify to graduate and receive a high school diploma in accordance with Senate Bill 463 from the 85th Legislative Session.


These students date back to the Class of 1991, when graduation requirements included passing the TAAS or TAKS state tests, both of which have been retired and are no longer administered.


WFISD can create a new path for them that they can pursue if they decide to come back and try to earn a diploma, said Debbie Dipprey, director of secondary curriculum.


According to the District’s plan, future graduates would have to show proficiency in one or more of eight factors, including their grades, their score on an alternative assessment, performance on specific projects or work samples, participation in remediation offered to them, their school attendance rate, transcript of course work, completion of career and technical education program courses or any other academics, work or life experience that might be relevant as weighed by the local graduation committee.


An individual may graduate under these local alternative requirements if they have met them by Sept. 1, 2019.


Personnel Report


The Human Resources department reported one professional retirement, three clerical retirements, and 34 resignations effective by the end of May 2018, and 14 clerical resignations.


In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the hiring of 34 new educators with a total of 135 years of experience. They also approved three contract changes.