Warren Board honors teachers, students

by Janette Blackwell

Superintendent Brad McEachern honored junior high English teacher Tracy "Mr. A" Andreas, who is retiring, for 33 years of service in education. Ms. Mitchell noted that Mr. A has been a "great benefit to our school, students and district," and Superintendent McEachern spoke of him as "a real kids' teacher."

Brandi Moore, of Warren Junior High School, was recognized by receiving the Reaud Award of Excellence in teaching, along with her fellow award recipients, at a Beaumont Foundation banquet at the Lamar University library on May 1. The Warren ISD family is proud of this career achievement.

Coach and Athletic Director Chris Babin honored the following outstanding athletic district performers: Chase McEachern, 2nd team, all district center – football; Cody Carden, 1st team, 1st base – baseball; Justin Robertson, 3rd place, district – golf; Brandon Choate, 2nd team safety – football, and 2nd team – basketball and district co-MVP – baseball.

Director of Operations Tony Keeler reported on the District's wastewater plant project. A set of plans has been approved by TCEQ, and large items are on order. Expenditures stand at $150,000 now, although changes will be required on the project drawings (increasing from two-inch to the necessary three-inch pipes, for example), which will increase costs to some degree. Keeler anticipates the plant will be up and running by the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

District Business Manager Terry Ling informed the Board of a proposed change of employee supplemental benefits and insurance to a Region V sponsored interlocal agreement with East Texas Benefits Council. His research, he said, revealed that rates are very competitive, as the group of 35 to 50 schools is managed by a single entity, giving them greater buying power.

McEachern stated that other districts covered by the program indicate they are pleased. Having such a program will help with recruitment of teachers and will allow the District to compete for top talent. According to Ling, the biggest advantage is that the District will make one payment to one account, rather than the current 12 payments to various organizations. Employees may keep their old plans, although payroll deduction for those will not be available. Board members voted unanimously to approve the program.

Ling also contrasted student athletic insurance from the existent HSR contract to the Texas Kids First program quote. While HSR costs less, its record of benefits payment is comparatively lower. Ling presented a policy that is comparative to the one currently in use. Coach Babin also consulted on the matter, giving HSR's payment history as a reason to go with Texas Kids First. The Board approved the Texas Kids First plan for 2014-2015 student athletic insurance coverage.
In its April meeting, the Board approved an intergovernmental transfer in the sale of a bus to the High Island school district. Keeler reported that a crack was discovered in the frame when the bus was being prepped for transfer and therefore, asked the Board to rescind its previous approval.

The Board voted to reverse its prior decision.

The Board approved a motion giving Superintendent McEachern final authorization to employ personnel during the months of June, July and August 2014.

In other personnel matters, the Board approved certified personnel probationary contracts for the 2014-2015 school year, as presented by Superintendent McEachern and campus administrators.
McEachern presented and recommended approval of the proposed revised District Goals for the 2014-2015 school year. The Board approved the 2014-2015 District Goals as presented.

Ling presented the Board with an overview of the District's debt service. Based upon a 1,230-student enrollment, the current general obligation bond debt per student is $18,572. Ling said the District more than doubled taxable value from 2001 to 2014, mostly due to mineral values, and cautioned "these can go away as quickly as they came."

McEachern reviewed local District policies that the TASB Local Update 99 over-rode, and the Board approved implementation of the TASB changes.

Student enrollment for the current period stands at 1,212, as opposed to the 1,228 enrolled at this time last school year. The average district-wide daily attendance is 95.25 percent for the 2013-2014 school year.

The District's administration office will begin its summer work schedule beginning Monday, June 9, and as a result, will be closed each Friday.