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Harmony ISD Trustees

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H.S. expansion plans advanced; Harmony students "ace" AYP

Members of the board of trustees of the Harmony Independent School District hearing again this month of a new record high enrollment of 1,043 students, moved quickly to advance the possible expansion of the high school. On the academic front, Superintendent Jed Whitaker said the district met all the AYP requirements of the federal government's "No Child Left Behind" Act.

The board met in regular session, Monday, October 20. Board members Rodney Lindsey and Kelly Stretcher were not present.

Following up on a discussion from last month's board meeting, the board viewed three preliminary floor plan concepts presented by Ted Estey, architect, who designed the last major expansion for the Harmony School District.

Two of the three plans provided for the addition of four new classrooms to the high school-one of 5,000 square feet and one of 5,600 square feet. The third plan provided for 6,100 square feet and five new classrooms. Estey explained that the two 4-classroom plans would likely require that bathrooms in the current high school be brought up to current ADA Act standards, a costly makeover. The five-classroom plan includes two new bathrooms that would be designed and built to today's ADA standards.

Estey advised board members that costs are spiraling for all construction projects at this time. He estimated the rate to be as high as $130-a-square-foot for Harmony's proposed expansion. This compares to a similar project completed for another school district just over a year ago at $105-a-square-foot.

The consensus of the board was to ask Estey to draw up contract documents outlining cost for his services to design the addition for consideration at the November meeting of the board. Estey advised that his fee is the standard six percent charged by most architects.

Total cost of the expansion is estimated at $793,000 with associated costs (furnishings, etc.) to add another $140,000 or so. Estey said if construction began in February, the new classrooms could be ready by the beginning of school.

Board members briefly discussed mothods of financing such costs for expansion. The consensus conclusion was to look at using the Maintenance and Operating (M&O) carry-over funds. With Texas state funding based primarily on attendance (WADA, or Weighted Average Daily Attendance), the district's surging enollment should provide additional funding that could be used for this purpose as well.

Four available classrooms of the intermediate (grades 3-4-5) building have been used for high school class rooms the past several years, but burgeoning growth in the student count at the elementary school level is placing pressure on this space.

Enrollment at Harmony stood at 1043 at the end of September, up from 1037 at the end of August.

Whitaker reported the district had met all requirements in every measured category on all campuses in the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) ratings from the federal government. The "No Child Left Behind" program uses statistics from Texas' TAKS testing program.

Whitaker also advised board members that he is discussing the possibility of forming a drill team with a teacher who has expressed an interest in serving as sponsor. Concern was expressed about the impact on the band which has a record number of marching members at 70-plus this year.

This was the last meeting for board members Susan Jeanes and Rodney Lindsay. Michael Seahorn and William Smith will be sworn in at next month's meeting as replacements.

The next regular meeting of the Harmony ISD Board of Trustees will be Monday, November 17. A special meeting can be called with 72-hours notice.

Last Updated on Friday, 10 April 2009 19:19  

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