MCISD approves $310,000 for tennis courts

In an attempt to defend the district’s planned expenditure of an estimated $310,000 on tennis court upgrades at Veterans Memorial High School, Mission School Board President Patty O’Cana Olivarez stated the reason the board was able to approve an upgrade of this nature was because of the district’s skill in keeping construction costs down. Olivarez made her comments during the Wednesday, Sept. 14 Mission CISD board meeting as the board approved the expenditure. She said the funds for the project would not be taken from areas that would affect students’ academic performance.

The board president’s comments followed criticism of the expenditure and similar board spending decisions by Progress Times Publisher Jim Brunson in his newspaper column last Friday.

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Regarding where the funding for the improvements was to come from, Superintendent Ricardo Lopez said when the last bond election was approved, it included extra money for cost overruns and for construction projects that might arise after the bond funds were allocated to the proposed construction projects. There is currently $1.2 million in that fund. The money for the VMHS tennis court improvements will come from that fund.

Lopez clarified the funds in question, “They can only be used for construction projects. They cannot be used for teachers’ salaries or for textbooks or other teaching materials.”  

He added that if the there are improvements made to the tennis courts at Mission High School, funding will come from the money left in the contingency funds from projects in the 2008 bond issue that is drawing to a close. MHS tennis court improvements were not on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting.

“The fact there might be extra money from either of the bond issues was the result of the district managing its money wisely and stretching their dollars as far as they will go,” said the superintendent.

The board approved the proposed upgrading of the tennis courts at Veterans Memorial High School at an estimated cost of $310,000. This cost includes competition level lighting, which will cost between $150,000 to $190,000; canopy construction, at $60,000; and $82,500 in soft costs.

In other action, the board approved the tax rate for the coming fiscal year at $1.3582 per $100 valuation. This includes $1.1700 for maintenance and operations and $.0182 or debt service. This represents a 4.17 percent increase in the budget in spite of the fact the actual rate is about one cent less than last year, said Lopez.
Superior Alarms was awarded the contract for the fire/security alarm improvements for Mission Junior High School in the amount of $260,000 for the base bid plus $156,000 for Alternate One, which calls for a new phone system to replace current intercom button system.

The district will receive a credit on the Mission High School roofing project of $46,577.  The contractor said the old roof could be repaired and covered with a new product instead of completely replacing the existing roof, saving the district money.

Approval was granted for relocation of utility lines at the grease trap at MHS at a cost of $3184.

Approval was also granted to do repairs to structural conditions found in Buildings “M” and “N” at MHS. The estimated cost is $5510.

The board approved the final design of the Northside Swimming Pool.. The total estimated cost is $1,288,932. The cost is to be shared with the City of Mission, with $883,932 to be paid by MCISD and $405,000 to be paid by the city.

Alvarado Architects received the Tom Landry Stadium Renovation Project with a fee of 6.5 percent of the total cost of the project. The estimated cost of the project is $265,000.

The board approved the procurement method of selection of the Mission Junior High Science Building Chiller Project.  The estimated cost is $265,000.
Following executive session, Michael R. Ortiz was named as assistant principal for Salinas Elementary, and Veronica Buentello was named assistant principal for Waitz Elementary. Juan Cantu was named coordinator of Safety and Security.

Miriam Morales was named as Assistant Director of the Child Nutrition Program.

The position of Public Relations specialist was approved.

The next committee meeting will be held Oct. 5, and the next board meeting was set for Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

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