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MCISD Board President refuses to sign ERO contract

MCISDlogoMISSION—The Mission Consolidated Independent School District Board held a special meeting on June 4 discussing the status of the long-delayed contract for the Mission High School Phase III renovation project with ERO Architects.

Over the last few months there have been ongoing discussions over the status of the contract between the district and ERO.

In March, the board decided to not enter negotiations over the high school project due to a payment for a baseline study of just over $634,000, which, according to Board President Dr. Sonia M. Treviño, was not approved by the board.

Though there was no contract executed, a Mission High School Renovation Proposal was created which set the amount of the baseline study at $634,579, as well as a fee of six percent of the total project amount of $12.5 million.

Later, in the month of April, the board discussed the contract with the district’s attorney, and decided to enter negotiations with ERO for the renovation project and changed the scope of work with a new $18 million budget.

At the June 4 meeting, board member Raymond Longoria said he had brought up the item to get the status of the contract, and determine whether it had been approved by the district’s attorney. Superintendent Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez said the attorney had approved the contract and it was ready to be signed. Treviño said she would not be signing the contract.

“As board president it is my job to sign (a contract) at the end…whatever the majority is, I chose not to sign the contract because of both personal feelings and in speaking to my colleagues (board members) that did not approve of the amount of the baseline study,” Treviño said.

Treviño added the district was not under contractual agreement with ERO, and the board never approved a change in scope of work (prior to April).

“Therefore I removed myself from signing this contract, and under speaking to our attorney what would have to happen now is the board would just have to make a recommendation for somebody else to be assigned to sign this contract,” Treviño said.

Board Vice-President Patricia O’Caña-Olivarez explained she agrees with Treviño, and said the number of meetings have shown how important the issue has been.

“It’s not to say that within the four corners of that contract that it is not legally a good contract; it is a sound contract,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just the principles behind that contract I think we have been very vocal, at least three of us, on more than one occasion stating that we don’t agree with the premise of that.”

Longoria said he found it very unusual to hold scrutiny over a contract for so long. Treviño said it was the first time seeing a baseline study at such a high charge.

O’Caña-Olivarez said she believed there was miscommunication, and the study was done while the district didn’t have a contract with ERO. She added holding off on moving forward with the contract has only been issues with timing, but she said Treviño had given the remedy to begin the project.

Longoria stated the wait in approving the contract was holding the district hostage, by not signing the contract it would postpone the project for a longer period of time.

Board member Patty Bazaldua said the district had the contract for a few weeks, while ERO held the contract for some time as well. She added it wasn’t an attempt to postpone the project.

“It did take ERO over a month…it wasn’t only held on our end,” Bazaldua said. “It wasn’t all on the district, so let’s just move on.”

The board approved a motion made by James E. Olivarez, nominating Oscar Martinez to sign the contract, as he is the senior member of the board. The motion was approved 4-3.

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