District to acquire new buses, building roofs

Good things apparently do come in pairs as Henderson is getting two new school busses and two new roofs. Both projects were among a series of items approved by the Henderson ISD school board Tuesday evening in their first meeting of the New Year.

Craig Hurt, Director of Transportation, told the board he was requesting two new gasoline busses say they will be the district’s first gasoline busses since the 1980. The district currently owns 43 busses and all except the smaller “people movers” are diesel powered. 

In response to questions from the board, Hurt explained that new regulations restricting diesel emissions meant the cost of replacing catalytic converters was constantly increasing. 

“Unfortunately,” said Hurt, “our busses never get hot enough to blow out the build up in our [catalytic converters].” 

He went on to explain that unlike most trucks, buses may stop every few hundred feet, which significantly shortens the life of the converters. 

“Gasoline busses are cheaper to buy,” Hurt told the board, “plus we save money at the pump and the parts are cheaper.” 

He noted that when replacing an engine, gasoline models are almost half the cost of diesel ones.

Hurt, who also serves as director of maintenance, asked the board for final approval for two new roofs. 

One will replace a 40-year-old roof on the maintenance building and the other will replace a 22-year-old roof on the middle school band hall.

“The middle school band hall,” Hurt reminded the board, “was not built with the new middle school, but was rather only refurbished to match the new structure.”

Both existing roofs will be covered with insulation and then sealed with a PVC material guaranteed to last at least 20 years. 

In what has proved to be a major democratic process, the board also approved a new academic calendar for the 2020-21 school year. 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Bonneau presented the board with a calendar that had been created with input from a large calendar committee and then voted on by district employees. 

Out of the nearly 200 staffers and teacher who voted, more than 70 percent chose the calendar, which was eventually presented to the board.

“This was a big project,” Trustee Jon Johnston, who was one of two board members that also sat on the calendar committee, told Bonneau. “And I just want to say ‘thank you’ for your work. I don’t think we’ve ever done it this way before.”

In other news, the board took the following action:

Approved the 2020-21 Course Catalog for the high school.

Approved a formal request from the state for staff development waiver days.

Approved the renewal for property and casualty insurance.

Approved an updated list of standard operating procedures for the board.

Approved the minutes for the December 10th, 2019 meeting.

Approved the financial reports and check register for the December, 2019.

Approved a budget amendment.

Heard a report on the budget timeline for the 2020-21 budget.

Conducted a first reading of a policy update including numerous changes required by the recently legislature.

Set the date of the next monthly board meeting for Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at 5:30 p.m.

  Hired two new teachers at Northside, one teacher at Wylie Elementary and accepted the resignation of a high school teacher/coach.

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