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Rusk ISD trustees approved Berry and Clay as the construction manager at risk for the athletic complex addition and renovation. While a final cost has not yet been approved, Berry and Clay seem determined to meet the schools budgetary constraints, if at all possible.

Danny Berry, of Berry and Clay Construction, reached out to the school and asked to resubmit their bid, stating he realized their bid came in a little high for the school’s budget, according to Superintendent Grey Burton.

The original bid, close to $9.5 million, was revised downward to around $7 million, according to Burton, who said the school budget was definitely no more than five million.

Without changing the necessities, Burton explained he had requested any items which can reduce costs be reviewed and estimates revised. He reported that Berry had said he wasn’t certain he could get costs where the district wanted, but they would attempt to do so.

The approval as construction manager at risk allows Berry and Clay to work with the district on cost revisions, but no contract will be signed until the estimate is brought into budget and a guaranteed maximum price has been agreed upon.

The 2021-2022 Rusk ISD compensation plan was adopted as presented by Stacie Young, RISD’s chief financial officer.

An agreement with Stephen F. Austin State University, similar to those with Jacksonville College and Tyler Junior College, was authorized. Brian Martin will teach plant science and animal science for dual credit with SFA.

The hire of an additional nurse to be posted at the junior high, the only campus without a nurse, was approved.

Ashley Dethlefs, who resigned her position as a teacher in order to become a teacher/coach, will replace Brianna Brooks on the G.W. Bradford campus.

Other changes at the primary include Carol Dowling replacing Misty Springer and Kellie Durrett replacing Katie Covington.

Suzanne Cooper will serve as a counselor at the junior high campus. Elizabeth Frisby will replace Cooper as district-wide special education counselor.

Laura Thomas will take the place of Leslie Brummett at the high school.

Sandra Parsons will be replaced by Krista McNew as the district-wide ESL coordinator.

A budget amendment indicating reimbursement payments by insurance and the consent agenda, consisting of the minutes of the previous meeting and financial and quarterly investment reports, were also approved.

Information items were received, including preliminary budget materials. Early estimates indicate a tax rate of 1.0327, which is 0.0462 less than last year’s tax rate of 1.0789.

As this was merely the first discussion regarding the budget, no vote was taken, nor was a tax rate set.

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