The Athens ISD school board noted the district’s changing leadership during their meeting Thursday.

Board members took the time to recognize the performance of former interim Superintendent Vance Vaughn early in the meeting. Vaughn, whose last day at AISD was Friday, will be taking a teaching position at the University of Texas in Tyler.

“To the staff, thank you for the support you’ve given me,” Vaughn said. “Keep giving 100 percent of your effort for the children’s sake.

“For the people here, I know the board has made an excellent choice in Dr. Hayes.

“I’ve enjoyed the district. I’ve enjoyed the school board,” he said. “I wish them the best of luck.”

The new superintendent, Fred Hayes, will officially start at the district Monday.

A district audit report for June 2005 to June 2006 was presented at the meeting. The audit found overall revenue increases from the previous year, including an $804,000 increase to the district’s general fund balance.

However, the audit also found that the district may have missed out on other money. Last year, district administrators chose not to file an application for hurricane relief funding. The funding, available under the Title IV Hurricane Recovery Act, would have brought an additional $150,000 to AISD.

At the peak of the Katrina evacuations, AISD was home to 143 evacuee students.

AISD Business Manager Randy Jones said no application was filed because of doubt that AISD met Title IV qualifications. Jones said the district received financial compensation from the Region VII Education Service Center, and that applying for the Title IV funds would have constituted “double-dipping.”

“It was our belief that the district would not have qualified under the terms of September 2005,” Jones said. “That is still our belief, quite frankly.”

Though it was slow in coming, the state gave high marks for AISD’s financial performance two years ago.

The Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) gave AISD a superior achievement rating — the best possible rating —for the year of June 2004 to June 2005.

“We’ve been superior for several years,” Jones said. “We’re very pleased. It’s an indicator of careful management of district finances.

“The rating covers all the gamut of data we share with (the Texas Education Agency).”

The 2005-06 FIRST report is slated to be released in October 2007.

Other items approved at Thursday’s meeting include:

• numerous local policy changes under the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Update 78;

• an out-of-state travel request for the Athens Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

FBLA advisors and student officers will attend the National Fall Leadership Conference in Colorado from Nov. 2 through 5; and

• a contract with Wood Air Conditioning to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in Athens High School.

The campus water heating system, which includes a 20-year-old boiler, was announced to be non-functional in August.

The contract’s base bid is $142,455.

No action was taken on renaming of the R.C. Fisher gymnasium.

The possibility of naming the gym in honor of former campus principal George Glaspie was raised in June.

Since then, the district’s facilities renaming policy has appeared on the agenda of every regular board meeting.

Hayes said a committee appointed to decide on the policy had not met as of Thursday evening.

“We haven’t had a chance to discuss it yet,” Hayes said.

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