SOME BURTON ISD BOND CONTRACTS NOT SIGNED BY SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR MONTHS

  

Burton ISD trustees learned on Monday that several contracts pertaining to the school bond construction project were unsigned by school administration, with some dating back to last year.

Ande Bostain receives the oath of office to
begin service on the Burton School Board
during its meeting on Monday.

During a public forum to provide updates on the project, DSA Construction Management Project Manager Stad Tomlinson informed the board that roughly 20 contracts were filled out and sent to the school district for signature, but some were not received back. 

Tomlinson confirmed that Interim Burton ISD Superintendent Rob Barnwell has copies of all contracts that have been signed by both the contractors and the school district, and there are about eight of those contracts.  As for the remaining ones that were not signed by the school district, Tomlinson said they go as far back as March or April of 2023.

Tomlinson said many of those outstanding contracts involved items from contractors that were scheduled to come along later down the line and have not started work yet.  He said DSA was told that the district did not want to sign them until all the numbers were “squared away.” 

Trustees asked why they and the public were not informed of this situation sooner.  Some audience members expressed frustration at not seeing progress in construction despite seeing money spent at board meetings.  Trustee Demetrius Colvin Sr. said the board was proactive with everything that needed to be done to move forward with the project, but he could not understand it if this situation ended up being the reason for the hold-up in progress.  Trustee Dean Fuchs said his biggest concern is that if a contractor never got a signed contract back from the district, the company would not be obligated to honor it.

Mike Clyde is administered the oath of
office on Monday for his new term on the
Burton School Board.

Board Vice President Misty Lucherk asked Tomlinson if the school district is currently doing work with any companies that it does not have a signed contract with.  He replied that of the companies that have actually done work out at the site, there are none that do not have a signed contract.  He added that since the contractors themselves have signed the contracts, he believes they will still honor them.

Update 5/15: Barnwell told KWHI on Wednesday that the fact that some of these contracts were not dealt with for so long is concerning and “doesn’t make sense.”  He said while the contracts may apply mainly to pieces of the bond project that have not yet gotten underway, the project has been “dragging on” as is, and this does nothing to alleviate the frustration that has been ongoing and building. 

The public forum preceded the board’s regular meeting, which opened with the canvassing of results from the May 4th election and the swearing in of new trustees Ande Bostain and Mike Clyde.  The board opted to keep the same officer structure, renaming Jeff Harmel as president of the board, Lucherk as vice president and Donna Putnam as secretary. 

Later, the board discussed revising the district’s policy for locally-provided leave for employees.  Barnwell said the district currently provides two local days of leave, but the average for surrounding districts is between four and seven days.  Trustees were open to potentially increasing the number of days offered and approved a motion to ask Barnwell and school principals to develop guidelines for leave policy, to be presented at the next board meeting.

The board also approved adding a local policy to accommodate the offering of professional non-certified contracts to positions of importance who do not qualify for regular Chapter 21 contracts.  Barnwell said this allows the district to offer contracts with some protections for certain administrative positions, like a business manager or technology director, that may not be certified but still retain a high level of importance.

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8 Comments

  1. I think at this point all of the school board should resign and the contractor should be fired. It’s an embarrassment to the community the way the bond project is being handled. The whole project is WAY behind schedule and over budget. The rock building has been repeatedly flooded due to poor planning and the construction. Building a football field and track first that can’t be used before classrooms is a joke. When is there going to be some accountability in all these failures.

    1. Thank u. U have expressed exactly the way I feel. If these people were in a corporation they would all be fired. And what is the real reason Kennedy left 3 months before the school year was up “if” everything was ok between the board and her.

  2. Before the passage of the $42M bond, a suggestion was made that the district use the $42M to purchase dry level land outside of town and build from scratch rather than spend the huge amounts to develop drainage.
    The former superintendent’s response was, “We haven’t thought of that”.

    Another suggestion was to cease the practice of inviting out-of-district students to attend Burton ISD, the purpose of which was to avoid paying the $4-8M annual “robinhood” fee to the state. That strategy put undue strain on the facilities and created the artificial and false “need” to upgrade the campus at a taxpayer cost of $42M.
    The former superintendent’s response to that idea was, “We haven’t thought about that”.

    Maybe the 51% of district voters who prioritized a football championship over proper education will now know that they were sold a boondoggle.

    Rather than expect a rubber stamping school board to suddenly “think about” fixing the corruption at Burton ISD, it is time for TEA to take over.

  3. Sounds to me like typical small town stuff. You can’t run multi-million dollar projects on a handshake with a close friend or relative. But it’s a catch 22 situation: to get it done right you have to spend the money, but no one wants to spend the money. Kind of like the people that always complain about the music acts at the fair but then also complain that they would have to spend more money to get better performers. So you get what we have here today. A big mess that’s going to cost a lot more to fix than it would’ve cost to do it right in the first place. Well done Burton school board. Well done.

  4. This also leaves the band with no band hall or anyway to practice for marching band. They are in the tiny auditorium that takes up the space for the drama class.almost didn’t have prom because band was taking up the auditorium.This is a mess and it’s not getting any better. The baseball fields may be getting torn up but at least they are getting new field upgrades, softball can’t even get a decent shade in the bleachers, the bleachers have rebar sticking out of them with some flagging(big safety issues), been there every time I’ve been there or any support at all for that matter. And the poor concession stands, holy moly those ladies deserve better.the softball visitor section is a joke, can’t even see the score board. Someone stated that the kids are suffering. Kids has always suffered unless you play sports and your good at it. The bottom line for Burton is WINNING and disregard the students who can’t bring home a win. The school should have been the first thing to be built if they are worried about the growth of the school and classrooms. Every person that is in control has failed and is failing the students and the community. Kids can’t even graduate on their home field anymore.pitiful. Something/someone’s needs to change. Start being teachers and administrators, rather than being the kids best friends. Enough for now but the list goes on

  5. This is a very disappointing situation to have left the school. They get left in the lurch and Kennedy gets to go about her life. I am curious if Kennedy was a huge reason for the delay in EVERYTHING? I understand trusting the person in charge, but it is always better to trust and VERIFY. I hope Burton can regroup and get the ball rolling better/faster. But it will cost their tax payers more money, how wonderful! Many were already concerned they’d get the field completed and run out before actually getting the school built. That may be closer to occurring than they ever thought.

  6. The board failed to do the one job they are elected for, watch the taxpayer’s money! You failed the community, and you failed the students.

  7. As it would be easy to put the blame on the former Superintendent, the board is to be held accountable for not doing their due diligence. You allowed a former board member to retaliate against the former Superintendent for dismissing a family member and a friend who worked for the district. You voted to not renew her contract during a bond election, for three years! What did you expect??? I would not give 100% if I knew I was losing my job! YOU should have seen this coming! The board is to be held accountable for this, period. The board is accountable for the taxpayer’s money! You should have been checking on this and had some oversite! You had THREE years! I’d give all of you an “F”! You guys let the kids down on this one! Kids three years ago thought they would graduate in a new school, now it’s looking like 5-6 years…..
    There’s more to it than just these contracts!
    So now the football field is finished and can’t be used., so we are losing time/MONEY on the life of the turf! Not to mention, away games again for next year and we’re probably going to tear up the baseball field once again so football can practice. By the way, that was another dumb decision.
    I cannot tell you the amount of wasted money I see when I pass by or on campus! The roughly $1.5 million that was spent on drainage, is now filling up with dirt., due to the rain and lack of silt fencing. The grass is out of control and looks terrible. Wood materials onsite are rotting and metal rusting. The track is about to fall off on the back side due to the rain! Seriously, go look at it! It’s literally washing out! The Mud around the Ag shop is terrible!
    Changes need to be made. We need a board that can get things done and be responsible. It’s time for a change, sorry but some of you old timers need to go!
    If I were applying for the position of Superintendent, I’d be asking for a lot more money to clean this up. Good luck getting someone good to come in and clean up this mess. So, we are probably going to end up with another relative of a board member or family member of an employee. Nothing charges here!
    I’ll stop there for now.
    WE ARE GETTING TIRED OF THE EXCUSSES! GET IT DONE!

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