The Sonora ISD Board of Directors met Monday, May 11, and took action on items concerning trustees, contracts and building renovations.

Soon after opening the meeting, trustees went behind closed doors to discuss professional employee contracts including an assistant principal at the high school. Immediately following their closed meeting, trustees voted in favor of staff contracts as proposed. In a separate motion, the board named Brittany Welborn as the assistant principal for the secondary campus. No action was taken during the closed meeting.

In other business considered while in open session, trustees approved a custodial contract with McLemore Building and Maintenance as presented. The contract is the same as the one approved last year with the addition of monthly walk throughs to help ensure quality work.

In addition, the board voted in favor of accepting a bid from Waldrop Construction to begin renovations at the high school. Work includes building two classrooms on the second floor of the high school with a price not to exceed $49,528. Superintendent Ross Aschenbeck said the renovation is necessary to keep grade levels separate.

Board members also considered a monthly contribution to employee health insurance in the amount of the lowest monthly health care premium offered by TRS-ActiveCare for all employees enrolled in health care coverage. According to board documents, TRS-Active Care will change back to Blue Cross Blue Shield for 2020-2021. Some rates have decreased, but the lowest employee only plan is $386, compared to $378 last year.

Increasing the contribution to cover the new rate will increase the budget by approximately $9,600 (100 employees at $8 for 12 months). Aschenbeck noted that in order to avoid the need for yearly approval of the contribution, the board can approve contributing an amount equal to the lowest employee coverage offered by TRS-ActiveCare. The board voted in favor of the contribution as presented.

The trustees next reviewed the 2020 estimate of appraisal values. Aschenbeck noted that the amount was slightly less than this time last year. He he reported difference between about $537,000 compared to $540,000. Reminding the board that revenues are balanced, he explained that less local revenue means more state revenue and all is still based on average daily attendance.

Aschenbeck reported, as an aisde, that from April 1 through April 30, the district provided 9,582 meals to students. He said meal deliveries will continue through May and the summer meal program will begin June 1.

As part of their regular business, the board approved the usual consent items including the Tax/Assessor Collector report and minutes of the April 20, 2020 regular meeting as presented.

Turning their attention to board matters, new board members were sworn in and outgoing board members were recognized. Since all of the board candidates seeking election were unopposed, there was no need to hold a school trustee election this month.

Mason Martinez replaced Brady Johnson as Board Member Precinct 3. Johnson served on the board for the past 6 years. Cynthia Perez replaced Jesse Bustamante as Board Member Precinct 1. Bustamante served as a member for the past 30 years. John Jones now serves as Board Member at Large.

Additionally, Dawn Cahill stepped down from the board due to being newly elected to hold the position of County Attorney.

Before outgoing members took their official leave, members, staff and administrators present paused to show their appreciation with a plaque presentation, cake and photos of the occasion. An audience of six people witnessed the occasion via audio/video conference (Zoom).

Lastly, the board elected new officers by written ballot. Trustees cast their votes and elected Shana Castro as board president, Jerry Jimenez as vice president and Cynthia Perez as secretary.

With no other business, the meeting was adjourned.

All trustees were present in person. The next regular meeting of the Sonora ISD School Board is set for Monday, June 8, 2020, at 5:30 p.m.