FRITCH, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — An area school is seeing the impacts of the winter weather we saw in February. Officials at Sanford-Fritch Elementary said they now have mold in their building after several pipes burst. Back on February 19th school officials said vinyl in some of the rooms started to loosen or were disturbed, and it indicated the presence of mold. “We investigated it, again I emphasize we’re not experts, but we had the same idea that it might be mold, so we called SERVPRO out of Lubbock, which is who we are using, to come in and mitigate and remediate all that building,” said Superintendent Jim McClellan of Sanford-Fritch ISD. view article arw

The February snowstorm that crippled power grids and caused burst pipes across much of Texas damaged 25 of Hays CISD's facilities, which resulted in $2,820,453 in expenses for restorations, repairs and replacement services. The HCISD board of trustees voted during its March 29 meeting to ratify the procurement of such services from various vendors to cover the storm's property damage. According to officials, HCISD was insured under the Texas Association of School Boards. TASB will reimburse the vast majority of expenditures, minus a $25,000 deductible. view article arw

Stranger danger alert goes out after reported incident near Katy ISD school Chief Financial Officer Christopher J. Smith presented the estimate to the board of trustees on Monday, March 29, and said about 80 of the district’s 84 facilities sustained at least some damage. He said Katy ISD is still working to get quotes for some of the repairs but has so far spent about $900,000. view article arw

Austin ISD notified parents last week after it was made aware of a possible data breach involving a former third-party vendor. According to the letter, there hasn't been any evidence that personal information was used for malicious purposes. It also said that those who have been affected are being offered free identity monitoring. The district's full letter can be read below: Austin ISD has recently been made aware of a letter sent to families regarding a potential data breach through a previous third-party vendor. view article arw

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy wants to build 10 electric plants in Texas, for use when demand peaks or other plants falter. And it’s the first time a price tag has been attached to a remedy since last month’s deadly storm.    (26) view article arw

In return, lawmakers would agree to create a revenue stream for Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway through an additional charge on Texans’ power bills.  As the Texas Legislature debated how to respond to last month’s winter storm-driven power crisis, executives at billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy were pitching lawmakers an idea: The group would spend over $8 billion to build 10 new natural gas power plants in the state. Lawmakers would agree to create a revenue stream to provide Berkshire a return on its investment through an additional charge on Texans’ power bills.  Representatives for Berkshire Hathaway Energy have been in Austin meeting with lawmakers and state leaders for the past week and a half, according to a person working closely on the issue.    (26) view article arw

The Carthage ISD school board approved a missed school days waiver at their Monday meeting to cover the days the district went to remote learning in February because of the snowstorm. The waiver will be sent to the Texas Education Agency. Trustees also approved a resolution to pay district employees for those days. Assistant Superintendent Donna Porter said when the district sends the waiver, it will pop up in the Parent Portal, but the missed days waiver won't count against students' attendance. It also means students won't have to use a bad weather day. view article arw

VENUS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Counterfeit prescription pills are suspected of killing one teenage boy, and leaving two others in serious condition, in two separate incidents in the city of Venus last week. In each case, police said witnesses who were still conscious, told police they thought they were taking oxycodone pills.    (23) view article arw

An Alief ISD bus was involved in a crash on the feeder road of the Southwest Freeway Monday afternoon. Houston police responded to reports of an accident at 9201 Club Creek around 3:30 p.m. view article arw

Principal Paul Castro felt overwhelmed at first. Enrollment at his Westside High in Houston ISD had grown by 300. Most of those students were behind academically, and many struggled when they re-entered a school building for the first time in what felt like an eternity. “When it happened there was a bit of — I don’t know what to call it — I guess psychological damage of, when is this going to stop? When can we get back to normal?” Castro said. “The answer was we never got back to normal that year. We never got back to complete normalcy.”  It was the year Hurricane Katrina blew thousands of students into Houston after the storm devastated New Orleans.  Sixteen years later, local educators say lessons they learned during that recovery could provide insight for schools nationwide as the United States eventually comes out of the coronavirus pandemic. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday called on Gov. Greg Abbott to reverse billions of dollars of electricity overcharges that were a result of last month’s extreme winter storm, saying Abbott is the last option before a deadline tomorrow. “The clock is ticking,” Patrick said. “The governor of Texas is a very powerful person. He can do anything he wants.” The Texas Senate, led by Patrick, approved a bill earlier in the week that would require the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to reverse $4 billion in charges. But House Speaker Dade Phelan has expressed skepticism of the plan and the Texas House hasn’t considered the bill. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott declared legislation to overhaul the Texas electrical grid’s operation an emergency priority, but lawmakers appear interested only in tweaking around the edges and spending taxpayer money, not forcing big corporations to accept a true transformation. If anyone needs evidence that the governor’s office, and by extension the Public Utility Commission, was putting big business over consumers, listen to the recording Texas Monthly obtained of PUC Chairman Arthur D’Andrea. view article arw

When Texas lawmakers met last month to begin sifting through the wreckage of the state’s energy grid, many expected to hear tales of poorly insulated power plants rendered inoperable by the latest winter storm. Instead, energy executives raised an even more confounding problem: dozens of natural gas facilities had not filled out a three-page application for outage exemptions before the storm, meaning their facilities lost power at a moment when their fuel was needed most to feed struggling power plants. “We had basically people calling saying hey, turn a power plant back on, or turn a gas processor back on, and it’s like, it’s too late,” said Curtis Morgan, CEO of Vistra Corp., whose subsidiary, Luminant, is the state’s largest power generator. “You can’t do it when you’re in the middle of it.”  The owner simply needs to fill out the three-page form each year and turn it in to the local utility company. view article arw

Market  Conditions  Well, you can forget my rate increase guesses from our January Newsletter.  We have no idea what will happen after the Valentine Day snow and freeze.  And we still have Hail/Tornado season ahead.  This might be a good year to go to bid.  You need to start at least four months prior to renewal and be sure to include information on your District’s freeze damage.  The Freeze  According to an article published in the National Underwriter, the Big Freeze “will be costlier than Hurricane Harvey in 2017”.    (12) view article arw

One chunk of last November’s Bryan ISD $175 million dollar bond issue went to replacing roofs. At the last BISD school board meeting, a $3,029,000 contract was awarded to replace roofs at Crockett and Jones elementaries. view article arw

Researchers say there is evidence to support CDC easing guidelines from six to three feet in schools The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could "soon" ease its coronavirus-related physical distancing guidelines for in-person learning from six-feet to three, researchers tell Fox News.  A researcher among those who recently penned an opinion piece claiming the CDC misinterpreted findings, including data on safe distancing in the classroom, told Fox News an unnamed CDC employee expects a shift in the agency’s guidance "soon."    (15) view article arw

The catastrophic blackouts that crippled Texas during the recent winter storm were caused largely by the energy industry’s failure to ensure reliable natural gas supplies to power plants — a problem that state regulators and industry leaders have known about for at least a decade. Much of the blame for last month’s colossal power failure has been directed at the state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ER-COT, but electric companies and industry experts said natural gas-fired plants were responsible for about half the power generation that was knocked out during the storm. view article arw

After spending the past 12 months almost in lockstep, the Abilene Independent School District and the Wylie ISD are taking opposite approaches regarding masks in school. We'll finally get a chance, as a community, to see if either of the two approaches to mitigating the coronavirus will have success. One of four different outcomes can be expected over the course of the next nine weeks of school once students and teachers return Monday. view article arw

Abilene Independent School District officials have made known the extent of damage to facilities from the February winter storm. A number of school buildings, along with several department facilities, suffered significant damage from the storm. Much of the damage was reported as leaks, though a few cracked or burst pipes across the district led to significant problems. While district officials have yet to calculate a total cost for the damage, they believe repair work will not exceed the $250,000 insurance deductible.  Abilene Independent School District officials have made known the extent of damage to facilities from the February winter storm.  A number of school buildings, along with several department facilities, suffered significant damage from the storm.  Much of the damage was reported as leaks, though a few cracked or burst pipes across the district led to significant problems.  While district officials have yet to calculate a total cost for the damage, they believe repair work will not exceed the $250,000 insurance deductible. view article arw

Eric Britt tented himself in a blanket as he waited for power to return to his Arlington home. “It was pretty miserable,” he said, shielding the hardship with laughs. “I hid myself under a blanket hoping my CO2 would keep me a little warm.” Like many during January’s winter storm, Britt thought the outages would last minutes, not days. But as the hours passed and the temperature on his thermostat dropped, it became apparent that relief from the cold wasn’t coming.  At first he was able to check Facebook on his phone. But phone batteries only last so long. Britt’s radio tuned to NPR became his source for updates on the complications from the frigid temperature.  A self-described “realist,” Britt wasn’t surprised when he didn’t hear from the state about what was going on. Locally, he understands that electricity providers were also unsure when power would return, but he wishes communication had been better. view article arw

The Board of Trustees of the Overton Independent School District met in a regular monthly meeting at 6 p..m. at the OISD Administrative Annex on Monday, March 8. The board voted to approve the following consent items: view article arw

Following Texas’ February freeze, Frisco ISD schools reopened to minimal damage as a result of proactive efforts to protect infrastructure across 79 district buildings. District staff disconnected 34 buildings from the power grid and completely drained most buildings of all water. This move, which staffers said was “unprecedented” for FISD, came at the request of CoServ, one of the district’s utility providers, Director of Emergency Management Jon Bodie said. view article arw

In the wake of last week’s winter emergency, Communities In Schools of Central Texas (CIS) mobilized to provide immediate and direct assistance to students and families impacted by the storm. CIS program managers started reaching out to their Elgin ISD students even while campuses were closed last week. CIS program managers spent the week assessing and meeting the immediate needs of students, checking in on their emotional well-being to help them navigate and cope with the adversity of the crisis, and connecting families to community resources. view article arw

Some North Texas trustees will consider continuing, modifying or eliminating their face-covering mandates.  Texas school boards are wrestling with whether to continue to require students and teachers to wear protective face masks on campuses as a statewide mandate ends Wednesday.  On Monday, a handful of Dallas-area districts started taking a stand on the issue, grappling with balancing public health concerns with personal freedoms.    (11) view article arw

On March 8, the Bryan ISD school board voted to approve repairs at three of their campuses damaged as a result of last month's historic Arctic blast. At the meeting, it was discussed that over $300,000 worth of damages will be covered by insurance, helping to replace the HVAC unit at Jones elementary, the boiler at Milam elementary, and the gym floor over at Stephen F. Austin. view article arw

The Bryan school board approved three contracts Monday that will address some of the damage caused by last month’s winter storms across campuses in the district. Kevin Beesaw, the school district's assistant superintendent of business services, said nearly every facility had some damage due to the freeze, but the extended power outages exacerbated that damage in some facilities. Houston Elementary School, which had the most significant damage, was without power for an extended period. Ginger Carrabine, the district’s chief of staff, said there were reports of icicles on the fire sprinkler heads and a sheet of ice that had developed on the school’s kitchen floor due to how cold it got in the building. Carrabine helped recognize the district’s maintenance staff for their work, saying their efforts before, during and immediately after the storm saved the district hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars. Beesaw said administrators did not anticipate having extended power outages. The largest contract approved Monday was to R&K Plumbing for $146,724 to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit at Jones Elementary School. view article arw

Magnolia ISD is responding to a technology breach that occurred Sunday afternoon, school officials confirmed. The district said the breach of unauthorized messages included social media, text messages, emails and phone calls. Many of the alleged messages, some of which were racist and directly threatened students at Magnolia High School, were shared widely on social media. view article arw

Repost!  HEARNE, Texas (KBTX) - Hearne High School is closed indefinitely after a burst water pipe flooded most of the building with 4 inches of water causing major damage. School officials said it will be at least another 10 days before they will be able to re-evaluate the repair process and find a target date for a return to campus. According to superintendent Adrain Johnson, the pipe burst sometime between the late-night hours of Feb. 15 and the early-morning hours of Feb. 16. He said the pipe burst because of the freezing weather. Johnson said maintenance crews found the school flooded on Feb. 16 and cut the water supply to the school. By that time, flooding had already caused major damage. He said the burst happened in the gymnasium foyer and severely affected every room in the school except for the cafeteria and the library. Johnson said both of those rooms did suffer some damage, but not to the same extent that most of the building.    (05) view article arw

The Northeast Independent School District had its share of water lines that burst, but the costliest damage to the city’s second largest school district was to four large chillers at three of its schools. “Some of those chillers just froze over, broke and have to be replaced, unfortunately,” said NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor. view article arw

HOUSTON - The Houston Independent School District is reporting that several of its campuses will be offering virtual instruction through Wednesday, March 3 due to damage caused by the winter storm. Here is a list of the schools affected and the type of repairs being completed:  view article arw

Austin Independent School District (AISD) officials in Austin, Texas, spent last week walking through schools and surveying the aftermath of the recent wave of winter storms. The verdict: Ninety of the district’s 130 schools were affected, and the total damage is estimated at about $15 million. view article arw

Update 8 p.m. March 1: Houston ISD has completed repairs at the following schools, which will be able to reopen for in-person learning March 2: Black MS, Burbank MS, Challenge Early HS @ HCC, Deady MS, Elrod ES, Field ES, Franklin ES, Hamilton MS, Henderson ES, Issacs ES, McGowen ES and Scarborough HS view article arw

All but five of Clear Creek ISD’s campuses sustained damages requiring immediate action as a result of the historic winter storm that swept through Texas the week of Feb. 15. District safety officials briefed trustees at a board meeting Feb. 22 about the extent of damages and gave other details related to CCISD’s storm responses. Of the 42 campuses, 37—or 88% of all campuses—sustained damages requiring immediate action, officials said. Three of the eight high school campuses suffered damages, including damage to multiple outside air handling units at Clear Springs High School, damage to boiler housing at Clear Brook High School and a domestic water line break at Clear View High School. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas -- When the winter storm hit Texas last week, the overhead sprinklers across the hall from Valerie Malone's first-grade classroom broke and flooded rooms on both sides. Malone's elementary school is one of seven in the Arlington Independent School District that couldn't open for in-person learning this week, joining dozens across the state. The fast-plummeting frigid temperatures and power outages froze sprinkler systems, destroyed flooring and disrupted crucial services to school buildings, temporarily preventing some from providing students with food and shelter.    (01) view article arw

A Denton ISD middle school was hit hard by the winter storm and won’t reopen this year. A fire suppression system at Harpool Middle School in Lantana burst because of the freezing temperatures. It flooded the building and damaged the entire first floor. view article arw