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MISSION – With plans to advertise for bids in early October to construct the new high school, the Sharyland School Board approved ranking criteria for the proposals at a board meeting Tuesday. The school district expects to open bids by Oct. 31, and present the top ranking proposals to the board during a Business Operations and Finance meeting by the first week of November, said Jesse Muniz, superintendent of business and finance.

The board will be using the same ranking methods as previous bids, but administration wanted to make sure everyone was in agreement on how to evaluate and rank the proposals.

Muniz said this method allows the district to negotiate with the top-ranking bidder. The board did modify the ranking criteria for points allowed for reputation, quality and experience of contractors. Because of the size of the project the district will be dealing with new contractors.

The price, reputation of vendor, quality of vendor’s goods or services, and extent to which the goods or services meet the district’s needs will count for nearly 75 percent of the ranking total. Meeting needs of the district includes experience in building projects of similar size, type and complexity, school district construction experience, and history of meeting deadlines.

Other Business

The district will also be hiring additional staff for Jensen and Garza Elementaries. The additional staff members will be paid with federal funds because both schools are identified as having over 75 percent of their population as economically disadvantaged.

An additional kindergarten aide will be hired for both elementaries, as well as a community liaison that will reach out to parents at both schools. The liaison would develop a school-home connection with families the schools serve.

Also federally funded is a paraprofessional position for the early childhood unit at Garza Elementary that serves three- to five-year-olds. The additional staff member is needed to provide opportunities for students to mainstream in the regular education setting.

Also approved this week were guidelines for acceptable use of the iPad. The school district will be using iPads to help with special education students and other classes. The guidelines are similar to what McAllen Independent School District has in place, including a yearly non-refundable $40 usage fee.

Students will be allowed two incidents per school year if the device is in need of out of warranty repair, is lost, or stolen. For the first incident, the district will pay all expenses incurred for an out of warranty repair. If the iPad is lost or stolen, the parent will pay $200. In the event of a second incident, parents are responsible for 50 percent to repair or replace the device. As an example, the cost to repair a broken LCD screen is $110.

Revised grading guidelines were also approved. The required end of course exams will account for 15 percent of the final grade.

Sharyland’s current attendance is 10,189 students, about 150 more students than this time last year. Over 3,000 are currently enrolled at Sharyland High School.

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