Weatherford Democrat

April 12, 2014

Assessing the needs

Weatherford ISD having district’s facilities’ needs reviewed ahead of April 24 meeting


Weatherford Democrat

— By SALLY SEXTON

For the last few weeks, Weatherford ISD has had some new faces on campuses as engineers and architects of Huckabee & Associates have busily been assessing district facility needs.

The group is planning on presenting a detailed summary of their findings to the Weatherford ISD board at an April 24 work session.

“We’ve been looking at kitchen equipment, plumbing, electricity, structural, things of that nature,” Tim McClure said. “We’ve tried to make our presence as less distracting as possible and, during testing, we just completely stayed away.”

As an example of what is to come, Huckabee presented board members a summary of assessments of Ikard Elementary during Thursday night’s board meeting.

“There will be a more extensive review coming soon, in anticipation of our April 24 work session,” McClure said.

The work session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the board room of the District Services Building.

On Thursday, board members got the chance to learn from some of the district’s finest, as students from Ikard Elementary demonstrated how to use two of the school’s reading apps, One Minute Reader and Lexia Reading Core5, which helps students with dyslexia.

“These are interactive programs that really help keep the students engaged,” Ikard principal Christie Burton said. “They also document and monitor the student’s progress so it’s really holding us accountable.”

Board members also heard a report from energy conservation company Cenergistic, which has been in talks with administrators on possibly implementing the new system to replace current measures of energy control.

According to regional president Gary Clark, the company had offered a guarantee to the district that if they didn’t see any savings, the company would write the district a check for the difference at the end of each year. The contract also stipulated a five-year term.

“It’s not going to cost you any more than what you’re already paying,” Clark said. “And it could save you 19-20 percent in utilities.”

Board member Jeff Geyer voiced his concerns on the potential switchover, noting that two of his main worries were that the company mainly dealt with large churches or taxed entities and the possible impositions it could have on staff.

“Our teachers already have enough to do without going through a check list to unplug this or turn off this every day,” Geyer said.

Clark responded to Geyer’s concerns, saying that teachers and staff would not be directly impacted and that the majority of the company’s clients included K-12 schools, as well as major universities such as Abilene Christian and Oklahoma State.

“We want to make sure the teachers have as much energy as they need and our main focus is on after-hours, Spring Break, those things,” he said. “We mostly deal with custodial and maintenance people and work with them to change habits and behaviors.

“Currently the district spends about $4,300 per day on utilities, which is actual good for that size.”

Board member Joshua Tarbay asked if the board could have more time to study the potential contract before making a decision.

“I’m with Mr. Geyer,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t trust our administrators but I’d like a little more time before we jump into something that’s going to be for the next five years.”

The agenda item was tabled to the April 24 work session.

Board members also approved a resolution for staff regarding bad weather days earlier this year.

“This resolution would provide salaries for those unable to work during the six bad weather days that we had,” WISD superintendent Jeffrey Hanks said. “Otherwise, they would have to make them up later on.”

Trustees unanimously approved the resolution.