The subject of bringing volleyball to Ballinger ISD has been as hot as any topic in recent memory. Over 600 people voted in a volleyball poll on the newspaper’s Facebook page. In that poll, 92% favored bringing in volleyball to BISD. The subject was discussed at school board meetings as well as in a separate public meeting in the Ballinger High School auditorium. Challenging the idea was the legislature passing House Bill 3 on school financing. Many schools lost money and even now their financial futures have yet to be worked out.
Superintendent Jeff Butts said that in the most recent school board meeting the board voted unanimously to bring volleyball to the Ballinger Youth Sports Association (BYSA), “This has been a learning process for all of us. The point that we’ve come to is that all 7 board members voted in favor of starting volleyball in BYSA. We’re going to fix our gyms up for volleyball so that the BYSA will have them to use. We are supporting it as much as the school district possibly can.” The work to adapt the courts to volleyball has been estimated to be in the $30,000 range.
Butts said that this will give the school district and board time to see if volleyball catches on, “This will give us time to judge it financially. Our insurance costs are estimated to go up 15% - 20%. Once we’ve had a better feel for where we’re at, then we may bring volleyball to the junior high level and in 2 or 3 years have a full-blown volleyball program.”
One of the issues that arose in the past was the prospect of starting volleyball at the varsity level and the program not being successful. It was said in previous meetings that the kids winning 1 or 2 games a season could hurt the program and that the skills and knowledge that the kids need to be successful at the varsity level need to be developed earlier. Butts said that BYSA is the place to start the program, “What I want is to show parents that getting involved with BYSA is the way that we can eventually get a full-blown program in the district.”
Also at the board meeting the board approved the first phase of building the new baseball field, “They approved what we’ve come to call, ‘phase A-1.’ We’re trying to keep the work below $1,000,000 but we’re also not going to cut corners. We’re trying to be as responsible with our taxpayers’ money as possible. This phase is the cleanup phase. Insurance will cover part of it but not all of it. We want to make sure that we have a solid plan that is going to get us what we need at the right price. The large majority of this will come out of the fund balance. I think that the end result will be a nice complex that our community will be proud of. I think that the plan we have is a solid plan.” Butts said that the board members and administration looked at other baseball complexes while working on their design, “People who have not been in construction don’t understand how expensive the work is. We’ve driven around and looked at other facilities and saw what we liked and didn’t like about each of them. We have to use our taxpayers’ dollars efficiently.”
In other BISD news, the board added a special education teacher at the elementary school level for the 2020-2021 school year.
The board also voted to hire Eckert and Company as the district auditor. Butts said that they sent the bid out twice, “We received 2 bids. With one company we would have had to send everything that they want in an audit instead of them coming here.” Butts said that finding a school auditor can be difficult, “The problem with school auditors is that each one has a certain clientele and they don’t want to add new clients.”
The board voted to help patch roads around the school. Without a construction fund due to the state cutting the tax rate, the school will pay approximately $20,000 for the road repairs.
The contracts for the assistant superintendent, principals, assistant principals, athletic director and co-op director were all renewed by a unanimous vote from the school board.