With one month left until early voting begins for the Sealy Independent School District elections, the board announced the cancellation of Board of Trustee elections for board president Ryan Reichardt and trustees Robert Arnold and Brian Owen.
Voters now have three less votes to cast on their ballot as all three trustees are running unopposed, even though the hottest item on the ballot — a $43 million bond election for campus construction and repairs — still remains.
The Sealy ISD board made the announcement at a March 23 meeting. Voters must register by April 7 to vote in the election. Early voting begins April 25.
The board also approved new employment contracts for Lisa Svoboda and Barry Wolf. The board named Svoboda, formerly assistant principal at Selman Elementary, as the new Sealy Junior High School Principal. Wolf will rise from Sealy High School baseball assistant coach to assistant principal to Svoboda at the junior high.
There was little discussion to Svoboda and Wolf’s assignment, said Superintendent Sheryl Moore.
“That means there’s faith, there’s trust and calm. That’s a great way to go into two new positions,” she said, prior to the board’s official vote on the employee contracts.
The board also renewed a six-year-old custodial contract with SSC Service Solutions, approving a 1.4 percent increase in the contract price to $665,000 for the year-long pact.
SSC has been responsible for janitorial services in the district since 2005 when the district began contracting cleaning. Under the company’s structure, employees get one week of vacation each year until their fifth year, at which point they gain another week of paid time off.
The company provides substitute for vacationing employees – often at overtime wages – which increases their costs on the fixed revenue contact. With the contract entering its sixth year, more of the 28 Sealy-based employees will have personal time to take, mostly during summer and holiday breaks.
In 2005, the contract was started for little more than $500,000, according to Jim Obermeier, executive director of finance.
“We’ve been at the same rate for the past three years, so this is the first increase for quite a while,” Obermeier said.
Board members inquired if the district frequently deals with issues with the company such as call-ins or high turnover, and who manages and liaises with SSC when they arise.
Moore said no system is perfect but janitorial staff immediately addresses work issues once Gerardo Rodriguez, the unit manager who works directly with SSC, is notified.
To staffing concerns, David Anderson, regional manager for SSC in South Texas said, “We don’t have a lot of call-ins and we have very low turnover here in Sealy.”
Board member Creed Roberts asked how this district’s contract rates compare with others, but Obermeier said he could not say for sure. The district went out for bid approximately five or six years ago and there were only three bidders, including SSC. The other two bid more than SSC.
“I feel like at that time in this market they’ve implemented only a couple very minor increases since then,” Obermeir said, calling SSC the most equitable for the district.
Board member Michael Holub said, “It might behoove us, maybe not this year but next year, go out and bid since it’s been so long.”