Board members concerned about lowest bidder

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Alice ISD Board members renewed a student/athletic accidental insurance contract with the Baker Agency for students who participate in all athletics and events, such as JROTC, band and other extracurricular activities.

The district will pay $48,750 for the insurance, as well as $1,981 a year to cover catastrophic insurance, which is any single occurrence more than $25,000.

In the agreement, the limit for post-surgical physical therapy was also raised from $250 to $1,000, so that a student who is injured in an activity and has surgery will have access to a level of physical therapy the district may not be able to provide at the high school.

The board also approved the vendors for athletic and training supplies and equipment for 2007-2008 under the meeting's action items. The school district is a member of four different purchasing cooperatives, which allows the district to work with vendors on the approved lists.

The board approved a list of 13 vendors, in order to facilitate the purchasing of athletic supplies. Other businesses that are members of the four co-ops can also be considered during purchasing time.

The board considered bids to remove and relocate the concrete light standards from WAMS to Alice High School, but the decision was tabled until a meeting next week.

Members had questions about the length of construction, which was not given by the two lowest bidders, Double O Construction and Ruben Maldonado.

Maldonado, the lowest bidder, came in at $24,800 and showed little work history, according to school officials, in dealing with light pole construction.

J.C. Perez, AISD director of operations, told the board Maldonado's construction history did check out, and there were no complaints from the construction side of his work history. Board members were also concerned that his bid, which was $12,000 lower than Double O Construction's bid of $36,000, was under the bonding minimum of $25,000 set by the state.

Perez said Double O Construction has experience working with the high school baseball and softball lights in Kingsville, but he said those lights were much like telephone poles.

"Maldonado had good references, but Double O was the one that mentioned sports lighting jobs in their work history," Perez said.

When board member Roger Saenz asked if Maldonado would be getting a master electrician to do the work on the lighting, if he was awarded the contract, Perez said Maldonado indicated he would be the electrician.

"My concern is this low bid. We've had some problems with local folks in the past, who have subcontracted the work and not finished," Board President Tony Bill said. "My concern is that the job might be too much for Maldonado."

Board member Lupe Martinez made a motion to approve the bid for Double O, with Bill seconding the motion. Then board member Ciro Zamora said the difference between the Maldonado and Double O was too big of a discrepancy.

Bill moved forward with the motion and the decision to go with Double O was defeated 3-2. Board secretary David Guerrero then suggested the board table the item, to give Perez an opportunity to conduct further research, and the other members of the board agreed to do so.

Board members approved a resolution supporting this year's Operation Graduation. Director of Secondary Education, Amy Koenning, told the board that through the community support, the budget for the event now totaled $13,000.

Bill will also work with Dr. Melonae Day, assistant superintendent, to fill the election judge position at Nayer school after the original judge, Adrianna Gonzalez, said she could not serve.