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By Jackie Zimmerman/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – The cost of the school police officer will be nearly double this school year compared to last school year, according to the agreement between the school and the Childress Police Department.
Superintendent Carl Taylor told the board during its Oct. 19 meeting that the cost is going up from $25,000 a year to $45,000. Taylor said it is time to renew the district’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Childress Police Department, and the cost is the only item in the agreement that has changed since last year.
“We will pay monthly,” Taylor said. “And we will only pay for what we use. If we have to shut down like we did last (school) year, then we do not have to pay while we are shut down.”
The board unanimously approved the Memorandum of Understanding.
Taylor told the board that a complaint has been filed with the Texas Education Association and the school’s lawyers are working on it. He said the issue did not require board action during the meeting. However, the complaint itself may require action by the board, but he could not give details of the complaint at this time.
During the board’s open forum, Scott Stark, candidate for the school board, asked the board where the district is on changes at the junior high campus. He asked if the board had numbers to present to the community. He said he believed that costs should have already been obtained since it’s been about a year since discussions began on the project. Stark asked for a comment from the board, but board president Doug Daniel said the board cannot legally respond to questions brought up in the open forum.
Stark then asked about the reorganization of the board since Craig Darter resigned at an August board meeting to then be appointed to a different seat during the Sept. 14 meeting. No one on the school board could legally respond to Stark’s questions. However, The Red River Sun reported in the Sept. 30 issue that Darter had resigned his seat because it was coming up for election on the November ballot, and he had no plans to run again for the seat. The board asked Darter to fill the open Place 7 since it comes up for election in May. The board needed to fill the seat because by law it had to be filled before Oct. 30. Darter agreed to fill the position until the May election.
In other school board business, Josh Harman of the auditing firm Edgin, Parkman, Fleming & Fleming completed the district’s annual audit, and the board held the first public hearing on the first audit report.
Harman told the board there were no issues in the audit report and no deficiencies found. He said the district has a healthy fund balance and had a good overall year.
The district’s fund balance increased by $495,000, and the fund balance was, as of Aug. 31, at $8.5 million.
Taylor told the board the district has received a $30,000 grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture. The funds, he said, will be used to purchase new ovens at the elementary campus. Taylor also said the elevator at the junior high will be evaluated, and a repairman from Amarillo is expected to look at the elevator on Oct. 28.
In other business, the board approved an amended contract with the Childress Appraisal District. The appraisal district changed the working in the contract to show that the school board sets its own tax rate. It was language that needed to be cleaned up, Taylor said.