Any future improvements on the Houston Schools campus will wait.
At Tuesday’s monthly meeting, Superintendent Scott Dill told board members the district’s bonding capacity is less than he initially anticipated. At $3 million, Dill said there is not enough funds to meet several needs in the district.
“We will continue discussions. We could accomplish some projects but the big ones that we want to do, we need a little more money to ensure we could do a gymnasium and some other things,” Dill said. “Right now with the available capacity, the concern I have is if we took on one of those projects, there wouldn’t be any additional bonding capacity to take care of some of the smaller things that need to be done around the district.”
Dill spearheaded a $4 million bond issue in April 2013 that connected the high school and middle school buildings along with an expanded cafeteria, air conditioning inside Hiett Gymnasium, roof repairs and a new library/media center. The improvements were made without a tax increase.
Dill said the district will not seek a bond issue that increases taxes.
“We pledged to the community that we would keep the debt-service levy unchanged,” he said. “It’s important to me that the district keeps its word to the voters.”
Dill he anticipates it could take a “couple years” before the district has the bonding capacity to seek another bond issue. He will meet with L.J. Hart and Company later this month to determine an exact date.
“I think it behooves the district to wait until we can accomplish more with a single bond issue,” Dill said.
Also at the meeting, school board members:
•Accepted immediate resignations from Laurie Hausman (paraprofessional) and Jason Morgan (maintenance) as well as Del Hicks (paraprofessional) on Dec. 31 and Natalie Manier (first grade) at the end of the current school year.
•Employed Nate Christeson, Wendy Scholtz, Jim Root and James “Drew” Jordan as substitute teachers for the 2015-’16 school year. Root will be a bus driver.
•Hired Mary Ann Bruening as piano accompanist for the school’s choir program.
•Expressed continued support for a proposed school farm. Agriculture teacher Josh Roehrs will begin fundraising for the project.
•Heard from the district’s food service employees, who expressed concerns about losing local control by contracting the services. The district has submitted an application with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to begin the process. Dill said the earliest a decision would be made is December.
•Renewed an annual monetary agreement with the City of Houston for maintenance of the tennis courts.
•Approved bus routes for the current school year.