The Denton school board has offered a new three-year contract to Superintendent Ray Braswell under the same terms of his current contract. Ray Braswell
The new contract would take effect July 1 and extend through 2015. In a tough economic time, board President Mia Price said the board felt the superintendent's salary wasn't something that needed to be discussed at this point.
"Offering a three-year contract speaks for itself," Price said following Tuesday's vote. "We appreciate him and respect the job he's doing."
The board also was pleased with how the superintendent has handled the district's financial challenges, she said.
"He was transparent, resourceful and he always put the feelings of our staff and our students as a priority," she said. "That just shows you the kind of individual he is."
In 2010, the board approved a 4.7 percent increase in Braswell's pay, boosting his salary to $235,000. At the time, he asked that the more than $10,000 raise be donated to the Denton Public School Foundation to benefit teachers and staff. Every year since, Braswell said he's donated the $10,000 increase to the foundation.
Braswell said he intends to accept the new contract and appreciates the board's confidence in him.
"I'm just pleased to be able to continue the relationship with the board and the district," he said. "It's a great place to work."
In other action Tuesday, the board unanimously approved selling $40 million in bonds to fund a seventh middle school, which would be located in Shady Shores. Trustees also gave approval for the district to look into refinancing a portion of the existing debt portfolio for the purpose of lowering interest on bonds. According to Braswell, the district could save more than $16.4 million in interest costs if the board refinances more than $104.2 million in bonds.
The board also approved a budget amendment to authorize the district to spend about $3 million from the general fund to fund technology upgrades, such as replacing teachers' old computers and classroom projectors, and to fund transportation upgrades, including replacing old buses and adding air conditioning to others to reduce the amount of money spent on charter buses.
The replacement plan for transportation could be adjusted depending on the results of a pending grant application, according to district officials. Such technology and transportation expenditures are generally funded with money from district bonds.
"I think it's a very wise decision because of the life cycle of both technology and buses," Price said. "It makes a lot more sense to fund it out of [maintenance and operations]. If you fund it out of bond monies, the funding process is so long that you're still paying for them when they need to be replaced."
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org . IN OTHER ACTION
Also during the meeting Tuesday, board members:
• Approved the 2012-13 high school course catalog and planning guide.
• Approved the first reading of recommended legal policies from last legislative session in which policy content discusses a reduction in force as a result of financial exigency and reduction in force as a result of program changes. Board members will adopt the policies with approval of a second reading.
• Discussed budget planning for the 2012-13 year. According to Debbie Monschke, the district's executive director of budget and finance, early revenue projections for the new school year total more than $192.3 million while expenditures are projected at more than $195.1 million, resulting in a more than $2.85 million deficit.
Superintendent Ray Braswell said the district's next school year will see a decrease of $5 million in state allocations and that district officials will look to use reserves and phase in the $5 million cut over two years. He said he expects planning for next year's budget to be "less dramatic" in comparison to the planning for the current budget.