GLEN ROSE – With a quorum present – absent Tom Lounsberry and Jason Dillard – the Glen Rose ISD Board of Trustees passed a rather significant budgetary item during its regular June meeting.

Following a presentation by Glen Rose Superintendent G. Wayne Rotan that addressed projected revenues and expenditures for 2016-17, the trustees choose the “Option C” salary increase and pay schedule for all GRISD faculty and staff.

Option C consists of a 1.5 percent salary adjustment and an $800 insurance stipend with a total impact of $123,498. The option pulled aspects from each of the other two options.

Option A carried the same percentage of salary adjustment but with a total impact of just $72,377 and a $600 insurance stipend. Option B matched the $800 insurance stipend, however, it also carried a much larger total impact ($152,108) and salary adjustment (2 percent).

The roughly $200,000 salary increase after the passing of the 1.5 percent salary increase midpoint will be offset by absorbing vacant positions, Rotan noted.

“Salaries and benefits for GRISD employees comprise almost 80 percent of Glen Rose ISD expenditures,” Rotan said. “Glen Rose ISD has absorbed 30 positions since 2009-10 as the amount of available revenue has declined almost $36 million in that time. Fuel and electricity are the next highest category of expenditures representing almost 10 percent of in-district expenditures.”

Also during budget talks held just prior to the regular meeting, Rotan informed the trustees that the projected general operating budget is up more than $1.5 million from the 2015-16-budget cycle to $26.8 million. All but $300,000 of the 16.5 percent increase is “represented by an increase in Robin Hood payments,” according to GRISD.

“Glen Rose ISD is classified as a ‘property wealthy’ district under Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code,” Rotan said. “Since 1993, Glen Rose ISD has sent $564 million of local tax dollars to the state in Robin Hood payments.”

Down to the new business

During the regular meeting, trustees unanimously approved three agenda items and discussed two others in closed session. The two items discussed during the closed session – proper use of security personnel or devices and a security audit that aligns with Texas Government Code 551.076 – did not receive action after the session.

In compliance with the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, the trustees adopted a $0.10 increase to school lunch prices for the 2016-17 school year.

The new prices for each campus are:

Glen Rose Elementary - $2.35

Glen Rose Intermediate - $2.60

Glen Rose Junior High – $2.85

Glen Rose High School - $2.85

The trustees also approved the switch from the Professional Development Appraisal System (PDAS) to the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (TTESS), as required by the State of Texas for the 2016-17 school year. DNA now governs TTESS locally; much in the same way campus principals are now governed by DNB while under the Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (TPESS).

The final new business item before the closed session was the approval of a contingency attorney fee contract with Lubel Voyles, LLP, and the authorization for Rotan to proceed with litigation or settlement against the Texas Association of Public Schools (TAPS) for “unpaid wind and hail damage claims to GRISD properties.”

“In April 2015, severe weather and hail caused extensive damage to Glen Rose ISD facilities. Glen Rose ISD property insurer Texas Association of Public Schools (TAPS) and their secondary insurer Crawford have refused to pay for damages to Glen Rose ISD roofing systems and only paid for air conditioning unit damage to be combed,” a GRISD release states. “Subsequently, GRISD contracted with independent adjuster Loss Recovery Group (LRG) to document, evaluate and attempt to reach an agreement with TAPS and Crawford.

“Both Crawford and TAPS have refused to recognize the additional damages documented by LRG. The next step is to file litigation against TAPS for unpaid wind and hail damage claims to GRISD properties. The disputed amount is in excess of $3 million. Lubel Voyles, LLP, an experienced firm with insurance litigation claims, is willing to work on the district’s behalf on a contingency basis.”

The GRISD Board of Trustees have scheduled a budget workshop to take place prior to its regular meeting on July 25 and will hold another to address the budget on Aug. 4. A vote on a proposed tax rate will take place during the Aug. 4 workshop. Meetings of the trustees take place in the GRISD board room inside the Glen Rose administration building.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(254) 897-2282