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Front Page December 13, 2011  RSS feed

District wraps up for the holidays

by Vanessa Goodwyn

All members were present when the BISD School Board met, one week early, on Monday evening to wrap up school business before the Christmas holiday. It was Jackie Thomason's final meeting as superintendent, which lent a nostalgic air to the proceedings. There were some emotional moments as President Jim Scott expressed his appreciation for all that Thomason has done for the district and Thomason responded, citing his hopes and prayers for the district and for his successor, Lacy Freeman.

Trustee Russell Jonas announced that the State will be making up much of the $23M shortfall in the State budget by cutting $8 from education. Much of that funding is earmarked to come from the Pre-K program which Jonas described as being "slaughtered". He passionately suggested that this be challenged. "The way to create a future harvest is NOT to cut the seed you plant!" Jonas insisted, and he pointed out that eliminating Pre-K funding really hinders districts --like BISD-- which have large percentages of ESL and economically disadvantaged students who need that extra year of preparation.

After an executive session late in the meeting, several personnel changes were announced. The resignation of BHS home economics teacher Dana Wheeler was accepted and she was released from her contract. Nan Grisham was employed as the fourth grade math teacher for the remainder of the school year, replacing Lisa Boudiette who was recently promoted to the position of the Interim Assistant Junior High Principal.

Architect Paul Mc- Cullough, representing ACI (the firm which designed the new high school), was present with a gift for the district. He explained that the BHS facility had been his firm's entry in a competition at the most recent TASB convention and was judged the winner in three categories: Design, Value and Process of Planning. McCullough presented the district with a copy of the poster which was entered in the competition and of the award plaque.

The district UIL realignment will be announced in February. Thomason stated that Coach Mark Read is having trouble setting up a preseason football schedule due to the fact that schools which we have played and beaten quite soundly in the past are not interested in rescheduling with us. The schedule may have to wait until the new districts are announced in order to see what schools will be in our district.

Principal Johnny Veretto gave a State of the Campus report for the elementary school. He stated, "Our main focus is getting ready for STAAR test that's coming up this year." He announced that BES hosted the recent UIL academic competition and placed 3rd behind Teague and Leon. They also had a very successful recent fundraiser, Movie Night. He reviewed the upcoming schedule, which includes the popular annual Teacher/Student singalong on December 16th.

As a precautionary measure, the district is seeking an easement through the Pate Ranch property west of the elementary campus as an emergency evacuation route in the event of a problem on Highway 79. The superintendent was authorized to pursue a proposed interlocal agreement with the Pates.

Routine business filled most of the meeting. - It was announced that all board members have met or exceeded the requirements for board training. - The next meeting of the BISD Board was changed to January 23. - The district approved the membership in an additional purchasing cooperative, TIPS/ TAPS. There is no charge for membership. - The board reviewed bids and authorized the purchase of a 2013 Blue Bird school bus. - Budget amendments were approved. - The wording of several local policies was amended to keep local policies in alignment with changes that came out of recent legislative sessions.


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