Board allots $100,000 to athletic maintenance

Image: Richard Harvell presents paticipation certificates to Savannah Lewis, Jayden Perkins and Hunter Hinds. Two recipients not present were Colton Allen and Rose Kennimer.

Richard Harvell presents paticipation certificates to Savannah Lewis, Jayden Perkins and Hunter Hinds. Two recipients not present were Colton Allen and Rose Kennimer. (Alysa Kirton)

The Italy School Board of Trustees approved the transfer of $100,000 to athletic maintenance following an hour-long video presentation from Hank Hollywood, athletic director, Monday night at the group’s monthly meeting.

Hollywood said he has studied the needs in the athletic department and presented the board with a list of possible changes/upgrades.

He said the current field house needs several changes including knocking out walls, replacing wooden lockers with metal ones, relocate the coaching offices and adding windows in the offices.

He said they have found used metal stands from Ferris ISD that can replace the home football stands. He suggested window changes at both the home and visitor press boxes. He is moving the junior high football team from the field house to the old gym which will allow more space for the varsity and junior varsity.

Additionally, he suggested having the visitors enter the stadium on the visitors’ side and add restrooms to the back of the field house for visitors. He proposed the home fans enter from the other end of the field, which is where fans entered years ago.

He said the practice field needs major improvement including 48 pallets of rolls of grass. Estimate cost for the grass is approximately $5,000.

Hollywood said there are several high school and junior high helmets that must be replaced. He said the new helmets would have a quick-release on the helmets which releases the face mask within seconds with a key. He said all the coaches would have a key on them in the event a player was injured and needed the helmet removed quicky. 

He has also located 120 used 24×24 top and bottom metal lockers from Red Oak ISD. He said the estimate from Red Oak is $6,110 and includes tarps for the baseball and softball fields, speakers for the dome, a pole vault pit, white boards and 60 chairs. He has also located 32 Longhorn lockers, all painted, for $15,900. The lockers, he said would be used for the boys and girls.

Mark Stiles, school board member, said theft has been an issue at the field house and suggested locks for the lockers.

Hollywood said he had already considered the need for locks on the lockers and will address that issue.

The athletic director also proposed a record board which highlighted athletes on the A and A-B honor rolls. He said the point is to have academic athletes. He also said he would like to get the “accomplishment board” back on the field house. The board lists the accomplishments of the Gladiator football team in previous years.

In the dome, he suggested four additional rows of baffles to assist acoustically as well as dropping the speakers lower which should assist in hearing. He also said the dome is dark and suggested painting the ceiling white and replacing current lighting with LED lighting.

Hollywood also discussed possible graphics being added.

Initial estimated costs for these additions/changes range between $85,710 and $105,210.

Stiles said the board recently considered purchasing new metal stands for $90,000. He made the motion to move $100,000 through budget amendment 1101-05 to allow the most needed changes. He suggested the superintendent and Hollywood work closely to get the safety issues addressed first. Cheryl Owen seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

Barry Bassett, superintendent, briefly discussed the need for a facility assessment. He said the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) will do a facility needs assessment for five-to-10 years. Cost is anticipated between $6,000 and $7,000.

He said they could hire an architectural firm to do this assessment but felt they might be more biased than TASB would. Although a vote was not needed, the board expressed their support to get this project underway.

The board also approved the 2012/2013 school calendar presented by Bassett.

The first day of school for the next school year is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 27, with the last day of school set for Tuesday, June 4.

Bassett said teachers are most concerned about the Christmas holiday on this calendar. He said, however, that school cannot start before the fourth Monday in August and schools must provide 180 days of instruction. This calendar includes seven staff development days and two bad weather days.

Jon Mathers made the motion and Stiles seconded the motion to approve the calendar which the board approved unanimously.

Bryant Cockran addressed the board about the lack of community support with the school district.

Cockran said he attended and graduated from Italy High School. He said he has always been a strong advocate for the community even when he wasn’t living here. He said the things that are important to children are not at the forefront.

In high school, for example, he said he was a cut-up and sometimes acted up in ag class taught, at that time, by Murrie Wainscott. He said Wainscott caught him acting up one day and sat him down and “talked to me like a man.”  Cockran said he eventually thanked Wainscott for the frank discussion they had that day.

He said he didn’t understand why the board was getting rid of teachers that were keeping their thumb on student behavior and teachers that had overall 98 to 100 percent average in TAKS scores. 

He urged the school board to get all their facts before making decisions that affected the children and the district.

The meeting began with five elementary school students being recognized for their participation in the Ellis County Science Fair. Jason Miller, principal, and Richard Harvel, science teacher, presented certificates to Savannah Lewis, Jayden Perkin and Hunter Hinds. Colton Allen and Rose Kennimer were not in attendance.

Bassett said current enrollment is 564 students with refined average daily attendance at 96.49 percent. There are 307 students enrolled at Stafford with 257 students enrolled at the junior high/high school campus.

The board also approved the resignation of Vanessa Tanguma.

The board approved minutes of the March meeting, utility report, check register, monthly investment/cash position report, tax collections and portions of Update 93. Current revenue realized is at 65.2 percent and expenditures are at 58.51 percent. Tammy Gillespie, business manager, said the staff and teachers have done a great job keeping expenditures down.

The meeting ended at 10 p.m. following an hour-long executive session.  Paul Cockerham and Marty Haight were not present at the meeting.

The next school board meeting is set for Monday, May 21.