The Aledo ISD Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, Jan. 16, for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. As the district continues to expand, and projects abound to meet the needs of a growing district, financial discussions remain a constant point of emphasis during the meetings.
Before getting into the brass tacks of the agenda on Tuesday, several members of the Aledo Bearcats football team, including first-year head coach Robby Jones, were on hand to receive recognition from the Board. Aledo ISD Superintendent, Dr. Susan Bohn announced plans for an event next week to celebrate all those involved with hoisting a 12th state championship trophy here in Aledo.
“We have a championship celebration coming up on January 24,” Bohn said. “Obviously, I think most people know that our football team won the championship again. We’re super, super proud for them, holding the record. We’re also very grateful to all of the students and staff who were involved in 16 weeks of football - hundreds and hundreds of kids and, of course, their parents who are involved, too. We would love for everybody to come out to celebrate those students and staff who made that happen this year.”
The celebration honoring the Bearcat football team, and all of those associated with the program, is set for Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Tim Buchanan Stadium. Festivities will start at 6 p.m.
Chief Facilities and Construction Manager Chris Campbell gave an update on the 2023 bond progress. Campbell stated the topping out ceremony for Lynn McKinney Elementary School, where the final steel beam for the structure was placed and secured, was held recently. Now that the skeleton of the building is complete, the building should be dried in by the end of February as the project remains on schedule.
Campbell also updated the board on a project to address the aging HVAC units at the high school. He stated during their assessment, his team found 26 units on the roof of the high school in need of being replaced.
Currently, Campbell is awaiting bids for the new units and their installation, but stated he expects the bid to come back at around a $1.5-$1.6 million price point. Should the bid come back with a higher price tag than expected, he and his team plan to narrow down which specific units are in dire need of replacement in order to keep the cost of the project as close to the $1.5 million threshold as possible.
While fielding questions from the board, Campbell stated it appears the two HVAC units the district replaced on the roof of the high school last year are the only two that are not the original units from the construction of the high school. That means over 90-percent of the HVAC units at the facility are older than the students attending class at AHS every day.
He also added that, due to the age of the existing HVAC units, necessary parts for repairs are becoming more difficult and more costly to come by.
Dr. Bohn advised the board that, due to the lack of school funding being passed by the Texas State Legislature during the four special sessions called by Governor Greg Abbott before the end of 2023, discussions related to the 2024-25 school budget are about to begin. The district will hold monthly budget workshops from now through the spring as they work to figure out ways to deal with the budgetary shortfalls for next year.
Bohn stated the preliminary findings suggest the district will need to cut just under $4 million in order to avoid adopting a deficit budget for 2024-25. Board President Forrest Collins and Bohn have already started addressing the budgetary issues with staff across the district in an effort to keep them apprised to the issues facing the district. During the meetings they’ve informed the staff that next year’s budget will look similar to the current budget, only tighter due to the lack of funding coming from Austin.
“I think one of the most important things Susan has conveyed to everyone in these meetings is, ‘You’re going to have a job,’” said Collins. “Your job may look a little different, but you’re going to have a job next year. No one is losing their job.”
After being presented with a draft of the schedule during their last meeting of 2023, the board approved the 2024-25 instructional calendar. The board also approved May 4, 2024 as the date for the upcoming board of trustees election for places 1, 2, and 3.
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