Leaders at Houston Public Schools are uncertain about the future of the district's relationship with an outside company that provides energy and facilities services.
In previous years, the Houston School Board has worked with SitelogiQ on projects to help improve the school. The most recent of these was conducted over the summer and involved adding new heating and air conditioning units to two parts of the school and carried a total cost of $1.5 million.
Despite having good experiences working with SitelogiQ in the past, coordinating this summer project went less than smoothly. Superintendent Mary Morem was heavily involved in organizing the project and shared, with the School Board, various concerns that arose over the summer.
The primary concern brought forward was the personnel at SitelogiQ, particularly the school having to work with a new project manager.
It was also made known that SitelogiQ carries an 18.75% fee when working with the school. The question was then raised, does the school continue its relationship with SitelogiQ and pay that 18.75%, or does the school rather pay all community engagement and other fees out of pocket and look for a partnership with a new company?
Questions in the discussion regarded what other companies provide similar services to SitelogiQ that the school could reach out to, and what options does the district have to demand working with specific personnel, if its relationship with SitelogiQ were to continue.
The board agreed a partner is needed for these projects, but it questioned what company that partner should be.
Superintendent Morem has been in touch with the SitelogiQ president, who is planning to make a visit to Houston in the near future. The board agreed to hold off on making an official decision until after SitelogiQ’s president visits the school and meets with Superintendent Morem.
Houston Superintendent Mary Morem recognized four teachers as Hurricane Heroes for their outstanding work getting the school ready for its new year, as well as recognized Vice-Chair John Norlien for his five years of service on the Houston School Board.
Superintendent Morem was also unanimously approved by the board as the new Identified Official with Authority.
The Houston School Board also discussed increasing its spending guidelines for its long term facility maintenance. The current guideline states that any individual purchase that’s less than $10,000 does not require board approval before being pursued by the school’s long term facility maintenance team. However, the board talked about potentially doubling this guideline from $10,000 to $20,000.
The School Board also talked about requiring a special meeting to discuss a proposed levy certification. The deadline to apply for the certification is Sept. 30 and the board approved scheduling a special meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 27.
The Houston School Board approved a paraprofessional contract and policies for First and Second Reading.
The Houston School Board also unanimously approved renewing its NFHS live stream contract that allows the school to livestream all Hurricane sporting events for free to those in the district. The total cost of this contract renewal is $4,000.
School meal prices were also discussed, as this coming school year is the first in many that school meals will need to be paid for. The cost of all adult meals has been increased, per state requirements. However, meal prices for kids will remain the same at $4.95. The board also discussed students needing to fill out free and reduced lunch forms, as well as how to go about positively encouraging students to complete these forms in a timely manner.
Elementary assessment days, including hearing and vision tests, will be held Sept. 6 and 7, with Sept. 8 being the first full day of school for all elementary students.
Reach associate editor Rachel Stock at 507-724-3475.
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