Funds to repair middle school water damage approved by school board

By Anton Riecher

A $72,875 bid to repair damage at Devine Middle School from a water leak was approved by a unanimous vote during the Dec. 12 meeting of the district school board.

In late August staff discovered a leak in science classroom 101 and 103 coming from the “casework,” i.e., cabinets, drawers or bookcases, a report presented to the board states.

“It was determined after shutting down the supply valves that there was a leak on the pressure drain side,” the report states. “A temporary reroute of HVAC condensate lines was performed and the custodial staff has to empty the condensate water from a trash can twice daily.”

Of the three requests made for bids, AB Construction was the only company to submit a proposal for the repair work planned during the holiday break.

A motion by Carl Brown to approve the bid was seconded by Henry Moreno.

In other action, the board approved payment of $50,458 to the architectural firm KNRG for developing plans and specifications to repair or replace school district roof damage due to hail. KNRG also provided construction administration for the project.

The invoice submitted by KNRG was approved by Darren VanFossen, director of operations for the district custodial staff. The motion by Henry Moreno, seconded by Keri James, was approved by a 7-0 vote of the board.

In another unanimous vote, the board voted to approve the National Incident Management System (NIMS) for use in the district’s planning and response to emergencies. NIMS provides a shared vocabulary, systems and processes to unify various agencies involved.

NIMS “guides all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to work together to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from incidents,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency states.

Texas has adopted NIMS for its planning and response to emergencies and it asks that schools formally adopt it for the same purpose, a report to the board by assistant superintendent Daryl W. Wendel states. The Devine ISD formally adopted an emergency operations plan in keeping with NIMS in August.

The motion by Davis was seconded by Brown.

Under its consent agenda, the board turned to the Medina County Health Department to fill three open seats for community members on the district’s Student Health Advisory Committee.

Rhonda Brast, Iris Hernandez and Virginia Gonzales, all employed by the health department, were appointed to the committee. Janette Vosquez, also belonging to the health department, was named to the committee as a school representative.

The committee assists the district in “ensuring that local community values and health issues are reflected in the district’s health education instruction,” a letter to the board from Dawn Schneider, director of student services, states.

Devine ISD SHAC by-laws call for members to serve a two-year term. However, the committee has had “trouble with getting members to attend the meetings,” Schneider reports.

Other school representatives appointed include Greg Jackson with food services, Jodi Dzierzanowski, principal of the disciplinary alternative education program; behavior teacher Kara Navarro and high school teacher Patricia Taitanio.

Also included in the consent agenda was approval of a donation for $2,500 to the Devine ISD Arabian softball team by Storm Oilfield Service for the purchase of uniforms. Also approved was a donation of $1,500 by Brown Chevrolet to support Devine High School’s tennis program and $1,164 from the Devine Athletic Booster Club for netting at the Warhorse baseball field.

The board also approved a donation of $4,000 from the Devine Education Foundation to pay registration fees for the Devine ISD robotics team to compete in the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition in the spring.

On a motion by Brown, seconded by Chris Davis, the consent agenda was approved 7-0.

The hiring of Evan Eads as the new high school assistant principal was also unanimously approved by the board. Eads presently serves as head coach for the Warhorse basketball team. Also approved on recommendation of Superintendent Todd Grandjean was the hiring of Lee Crisp as a “differentiated monitoring and support” teacher.

Both personnel actions were approved on a motion by Brown, seconded by Moreno.

Board members voted to revise the administrative professional pay plan for 2022-2023 to move the librarian position from pay grade two to pay grade three as per the salary review conducted by the Texas Association of School Boards. The change increases the pay for that position.

The board approved renewing its annual retainer of $1,000 to the law firm of Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Kyle & Robinson, specialists in public education.

“The District has used this firm for the past several years and has been very pleased with their services,” a letter submitted to the board by district director of finance Shannon Ramirez states.

The retainer covers telephone consultation on day-to-day general and special education matters and reduced rates for legal work and other services. It also includes web-based products such as providing codes of conduct governing students and extracurricular activities.