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Section A: General News


Poth trustees talk tank issues




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WCN Correspondent
March 14, 2012 | 1,401 views | Post a comment

POTH -- To comply with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulations, the Poth Independent School District (ISD) school board has been required to come up with an affordable solution to contain fuel in the event of a leak from the district’s two diesel storage tanks. The district has had to re-evaluate its diesel costs amid rising fuel prices and has tried to achieve both objectives affordably. This was among the topics discussed March 6, during a special meeting of the Poth ISD board of trustees.

The school board has considered sharing fuel costs by purchasing diesel in larger quantities than usual and selling some of the fuel to the city. Costs would be cut by having a pre-negotiated price at which fuel would be purchased from a supplier who wins the bid.

However, in order for two separate entities to refuel from the same storage tanks, specialized pumps and a card system would have to be installed. This could cost the school district between $80,000 and $120,000, according to Superintendent Andrew Peters.

To avoid such costs, the board discussed other options.

While the fuel-sharing plan was not completely ruled out, other less-costly options were received favorably.

To address the containment issue, a simple concrete berm to be placed around the tanks was suggested. The berm could be constructed by a local business for a relatively low cost, trustees were told.

Another option considered was for the school district to discontinue its fuel-storage program altogether. At this point, this is only an option, however, in the event that costs become too high.

Also addressed by the board were necessary renovations and improvements to district campuses. With funding limited, the school board has enlisted Owners Building Resource to help assess where necessary improvements can be made within the budget. During the meeting, Robert Gadbois of Owners Building Resource presented the school board with a report based on several months’ worth of research, showing what needs to be done where and for how much.

The report compiled the statistics of current class sizes in relation to capacity on all three Poth campuses. The elementary school, which is already at capacity, is one of the district’s top priorities.

The report did not give exact details regarding the costs of improvements; it was intended to provide only a general idea as to where to allocate already-scarce resources.

Issues included student-to-teacher ratios and how to compensate for expansion, as well as how to best manage cracking in the high school building’s foundation.

Final findings will be presented at the next board meeting, scheduled in April. The next report will provide the board with more accurate numbers, with costs for updates and renovations. The report will utilize information from surveys yet to be conducted, as this is a work in progress.

In other matters, the board:

•Took no action regarding election for school board trustees. Four candidates signed up and are unopposed, so the election will be canceled when the board next meets, Peters said after the meeting.

•Adopted a resolution regarding high stakes standardized testing that basically urges the Texas Legislature to bring testing under control, Peters said. The full text can be viewed on the district’s website, www.pothisd.us.
 

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