Thursday, December 17, 2015

GCMS School Board Approves Working Cash Bonds

After a very lengthy discussion, the GCMS School Board voted unanimously to issue working cash bonds not to exceed $1 million at its board meeting last night. The bond issue had come to light earlier in light of pending state legislation that may freeze property taxes, meaning that the district will not receive any additional money from property taxes. Superintendent Anthony Galindo told the board that he believes there is a 90 percent chance that the legislation will pass, and the district needs to move forward in case the freeze is passed. Mr. Galindo told the board that the district needs to have the ability to operate without any cuts, and that the only possible solution for the district would be to pass the working cash bonds. At this point, bonds will be taken out at $500,000, with the district hoping that it will not have to take out the full $1 million. Board president Josh Johnson stressed that although the decision was tough to vote on, it was the only solution the district had at the present time in order to operate smoothly.

The board approved the hiring of current Middle School principal Jeremy Darnell as the new Superintendent for the GCMS School District, beginning at the end of the school year. Darnell will replace Mr. Galindo, who is retiring. Darnell has served as principal at the Middle School for the past seven years. Once all contracts and paperwork with Mr. Darnell are wrapped up, the district will begin seeking applicants for the open Middle School principal’s position, which could happen as early as next month.

District curriculum coordinator Erin Nuss gave a presentation to the school board regarding PARCC test scores for the district. GCMS High School ranks 23rd in the state in terms of composite PARCC scores, and beat out several much larger schools in the rankings. Based on current results, over 91% of the incoming freshmen class at GCMS High School are on track to graduate, which Mrs. Nuss gave high importance to. Another accomplishment for the district is that overall test scores are steadily increasing with each additional grade level. Elementary School principal Justin Kean pointed out that all GCMS students took the online version of the exams, which were significantly harder adjustment to take than a traditional paper-and-pencil exam. Mrs. Nuss also reminded everyone that GCMS is paying for current high school juniors to take the ACT exam in March, so there is no need to take the test anywhere else.

Superintendent Anthony Galindo informed the board that Jeff Jackson, who currently holds the mowing contract with the district, has requested to extend the current contract for the next three years. For the first year, no increase in pricing will be made, however, a 10% increase in costs will be adjusted for the second and third years of the contract. The Building and Grounds Committee will consider the proposal at its next meeting. Mr. Galindo also informed the board that the bus transportation contract will need to be bid out soon. He hopes to put a bid out sometime in January.

In other action, the board approved the tax levy for 2015, which was presented in a meeting before the regular board meeting on Thursday night. The board also approved the 2016 board meeting calendar.

The following donations were accepted:
 $500 from Carl and Roger Reum for High School FFA
 $899.64 from Bruce and Amy Killian for High School FFA

And in personnel action, the board approved the following volunteer coaches for winter sports:
 AJ Richard and Kyle Salyards for high school boys’ basketball
 Grant Horsch, Phil Schwing, and Cameron Schwing for high school wrestling
 Caity Heap and Melanie Arends for high school cheerleading
 Stephanie Sexton for the high school dance team