Bond oversight committee
Other notable votes included the creation of guidelines for a new bond oversight committee. Community members have long requested the creation of such a group to review activities related to the district’s 2018 construction bond; however, some in the community have commented during various public forums that the guidelines put forth by interim Superintendent Nola Wellman do not do enough to ensure the committee will be effective.
“The [committee] is not empowered to have any input on post-bond design. Without a design component, there is no ability to control costs,” community member Martin McConahay said at the Oct. 30 meeting.
McConahay also said he was concerned that the proposed committee would not be subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act. Wellman later responded that as a non-elected group, there was no reason the Texas Open Meetings Act should apply to the committee.
Per the Oct. 30 vote, the bond advisory committee will be composed of nine board-appointed members, who will be chosen from a pool of applications. According to district documents, those individuals may not be employed by the district or immediately related to a board member.
Once appointed, the committee will meet quarterly and present recommendations to the board biannually based on on-site visits, reviews of reports, and progress and scrutiny of any changes to preapproved bond projects.
Trustees also voted Oct. 30 to activate an employee retention incentive to be paid in November. The payment would entitle qualifying employees to “a lump-sum employee compensation payment of up to $100 per completed year of service with Dripping Springs ISD.”
The retention incentive was originally discussed this spring when teacher salaries were set, although the vote for bonuses was set for November to ensure that enough funding was in place. According to district documents, the bonuses were dependent on increased allotment funding originating from House Bill 3 generating “additional revenues to sufficiently fund this additional employee compensation payment.”
Full-time employees are eligible for the full retention incentive amount, whereas part-time employees are eligible for half.