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Kerens ISD trustee resigns, replaced

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KERENS–Kerens ISD school board member Tyrone Bailey submitted his resignation during the July 19 monthly meeting and was replaced by a former trustee.
Bailey’s elected term was to run until 2023. Superintendent Martin Brumit recommended the board appoint Chris Whorton to take his place; they did so and Whorton was sworn in immediately. “We appreciate your service,” Brumit told Bailey.
Whorton was previously Kerens ISD band director and principal, a member of the Kerens ISD school board and has served as Eustace High School principal since 2016.
Further, the board approved buying two new school buses for two additional routes out of the school’s federal coronavirus relief funding, which has brought the district about $4 million, according to Brumit. This portion will come from the third federal act disbursing emergency money, known as ESSER III, from which Kerens got $1.9 million.
The 77-passenger International buses with air conditioning and seat belts cost about $100,000 each from Longhorn Bus Sales and will be delivered in 45-60 days, said Director of Student Services and Operations Brad Atkeisson.
The board also adopted the district’s 2021-22 school year Student Code of Conduct. A major change in the code is that the superintendent will chair expulsion hearings. Brumit said schools must pay for an expelled student’s relocation to other educational premises, which he called “a burden” to districts.
In addition, trustees approved two interest-only debt service payments for bonds issued in 2017 and 2018 to finance voter-approved construction on the Kerens ISD campus. BOK Financial Corp. in Tulsa, Okla., will receive $170,675 while UMB Bank in Kansas City, Mo., gets $162,750. 
Kerens ISD Business Manager Jim Kendall said the district makes annual interest-only payments in the summer and pays down the principal and interest in the early part of the year.
The board also approved a property and casualty insurance policy through the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) for an $85,000 annual premium, which the board was told is about a $17,000 reduction from the previous policy.
The TASB policy also includes a $100,000 deductible for wind and hail damage, as opposed to other policies that had 1-2% deductibles with minimums running between $250,000 and $500,000, Kendall said.
The board also approved a contract with Region 12 Education Service Center for $65,685. The service center provides software, grant monitoring and training for the district, among other items, Brumit said.
Also, the board approved buying 25 licenses to use Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Read 180 software program, which focuses on reading skills. That contract costs $58,484 over five years, three of which will be paid from ESSER III funds.
The board also changed the time of its Monday, Aug. 16 meeting to 5 p.m. The board heard that on that day, the district will hold its Meet the Teacher event from 4-6 p.m. and its Meet the Bobcats event for athletes, band and cheerleaders at 6:30 p.m.