The Natalia ISD school board voted April 25 to approve a $1.6 million package of capital projects including renovations to the junior high gymnasium.
Also included in the package is replacement of the district’s grass football field and complete renovation of the track, district superintendent Harry Piles said.
“I’ve been here for a little over a year and have been delighted with our district’s progress during this time,” Piles said. “I’m very excited for Natalia ISD to become the centerpiece of our area.”
“I am beyond excited for our students staff and community. Thank to our board and administration being fiscally responsible and also thanks to our bond project overtures coming in much less, we are able to afford such an awesome project that will be huge for this community,” said School board President Eric Smith.
Projected costs breakdown as follows:
JUNIOR HIGH GYM
Included in the gym renovation is flooring and painted game lines, new two court system volleyball sleeves, bleacher replacement with new telescoping bleachers that meet the Americans with Disability Act requirements and a new fire alarm system. Projected cost is $199,953, according to figures issued by the district.
Resurfacing the track includes removing the existing surface, adding a new surface, stripes and cover previously uncovered runways. Cost is projected at $237,610.
Turf for the new football field, including excavation, removal, subgrade correction, field drainage and synthetic turf is estimated to cost $1,043,700. The turf comes with an eight-year warranty and a 10-year life expectancy.
Replacement cost after 10 to 12 years is estimated at $500,000.
Funding for the project would be drawn from the district committed fund balance of $835,000, plus use of the unassigned fund balance and time warrant.
Athletic director Ilyan Martinez said he is extremely excited about the project.
“It’s great to work for a community that is invested in moving our district forward,” he said. “I’m really happy for the community and kids of Natalia.”
The improvements have “been a long time coming and I’m just grateful to be part of it,” Martinez said.
In other business, the district approved the hiring of new junior high principal Adam Martinez.
“He comes to us with over eight years of administrative experience and we look forward to him joining the Mustang Family,” Piles said.
Norma Friddle, district executive director of finance, made a presentation to the board concerning compensation planning and considerations for the 2022-23 school year. Compensation planning is an effort to create pay scales for all employees over a 30-year period.
The plan takes into consideration the employee’s years of comparable experience and school district experience. It streamlines the scale for new hires and reduces human resource and administrative research to determine individual pay.
“We do this so that we don’t have to guess what somebody’s salary is going to be every time we hire a new person or we are assigned someone,” Friddle said.
Above all, the plan keeps the district current with the labor market in all categories, she said.
Looking at the current teacher salary scale over the next six years amounts are frozen, she said.
“So if we get a new teacher and she happens to be in year seven of her career she is coming in a $53,000 annually,” Friddle said.
Implementing a new compensation plan would help smooth out the expected pay increases over those initial years. However, the initial year of the plan may represent an added expense to the district, she said.
“That’s when the district is going to take the biggest hit” in implementing the new plant, Friddle said.
She presented the board with four potential scenarios to more evenly spread the gap in annual pay raises between the teacher’s sixth and 16th year with the district. Initial cost to set up the program varies from $135,000 to $160,000.
By Anton Riecher
Devine News Correspondent