By Wyndi Veigel
More issues have arisen for the Fightin’ Farmer Stadium renovation and this time the district may be out more than $100,000.
Part of the issue lies with the fact that there is a cement treated base underneath the track surface that was not found when the geotech company bored holes to discover what the ground was comprised of.
According to information shared by WRA architect Barry Canning, the company drilled the holes between the field and the track, thus not uncovering the cement treated base.
Due to this unknown information, the new revisions to the track project are estimated to be $155,400.
“We are not asking for a change order tonight,” he said.
The stadium is anticipated to be finished on time, however, the track will have to wait until after the first three home games to be completed.
Another revision that was not anticipated is the concession stand having a fire sprinkler system put in, at a cost of $25,500.
Though not required in the city’s building codes, after the Collin County Fire Marshal’s office examined firefighting access, a sprinkler system was required.
“They could have made us put a fire loop all the way around the project, which would have been about a $400,000 cost but they didn’t do that,” Canning said.
School board member Chris Reavis questioned why the district even bothered to make a budget for a project if it was not going to be adhered to.
“It’s hard to explain to people as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Next to the cement treated base, a flowable fill material is going to be used to make the base for the track, which will then be covered with about 12 inches of a flexible mat.
“We need to ask for a better warranty, it’s going to move,” Reavis said.
“We would have had to deal with this either way, it’s just unknown how much it would have cost,” Canning said.
Another topic on the school board agenda was salary schedules and how they would be reflected in the upcoming budget.
Within the preliminary budget, a one-time bonus to all eligible employees will be given, if approved in August, of no less than $750 up to $1,000.
However, due to fractional funding and an additional $170,000, the board may look at the possibility of increasing that one-time bonus up to $1,250 to $1,500.
The estimated financial impact will be brought back to the board during their August meeting.
Newly-elected board member Kenneth Roose questioned what the district was doing to keep their teachers and why the teacher attrition rate has been up between 20 to 25 percent over the past six years.
However, the district presented information that the attrition rate for the past year had only been around 11 percent.
Roose said after looking at other districts of similar size, perhaps the board should have a discussion about signing bonuses and a retention plan.
“This has been a conversation for 15 years,” Superintendent Jeff Adams said. “We’re going to pay as much as we can. We don’t front load our salary schedules. There are so many pieces of the pie.”
As far as longevity is concerned, Adams said, once a teacher reaches the 15 to 20 year range, Farmersville is one of the higher paying districts.
Roose also questioned why coaches received stipends while other teachers involved in extracurricular activities do not.
“There is no way ever that any teacher works as much as a coach,” School board member Jim Hemby said. “They teach four classes and then work until midnight on Thursday night and Friday night.”
“We’ve always tried to keep the pay fair but not excessive,” School board president Jeff Hurst said. “We’ve entrusted Jeff (Adams) and Sherry (Meguire) to see that the money is taken care of.”
Roose also questioned why if $5.5 million could be set aside out of their $12 million reserves, why couldn’t $2 million be set aside for incentives for teachers.
Hurst emphasized the need to keep their reserves as high as possible because eventually, it will be needed for new buildings. Also, $3 million must be retained for operating expenses.
The next school board meeting will be held Aug. 17.