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Paradise Superintendent Monty Chapman’s contract has been extended for another year.
With a short agenda, the Paradise ISD board of trustees went quickly into a closed session Monday night. After about an hour and a half, they emerged to vote 5-2 in favor of keeping Chapman in place. Trustees Lonnie Holder and Kevin Howerton voted against the extension.
Chapman will finish his 19th year with the district in June.
“It’s always a positive to have my contract extended for another year,” Chapman said. “I’m positive about the outlook and I think we have a tremendous staff.”
One of the challenges Chapman faces, like most other superintendents across the state, is the financial question mark with regard to state funding. PISD is one of the many school districts involved in lawsuits against the state over school funding.
“What we’re hearing from the legislature is that closing arguments for these lawsuits will come in February, and the judge’s decision will come soon after,” Chapman said. “We are hoping to get funding restored. They cut ours by 10 percent. There’s a point where you run out of things to cut.”
Chapman said the district chose to save money through attrition by not filling open positions in maintenance and custodial. The school has also been putting off major purchases, like buses.
“What is at stake is that we’ve had to make cuts that are not sustainable over the long term,” he said. “At some point you have to buy a bus, and we’ve gone two years without purchasing one. If you don’t rotate those out, it will become a problem.”
Texas has also not adjusted its transportation allotment since the late ’70s. Chapman said that is also a big deal, since fuel and maintenance costs are very different now.
Chapman also pointed out that about 80,000 new students enter the school system each year – and the state’s budget is two years behind in funding them. Chapman said without the necessary funds, paying for the basics can become difficult.
“I’m a good steward of public money, and that is what I was hired to be. If there’s no money there, there’s no money for cost-of-living raises for teachers,” Chapman said. “The best thing that could come out of all this is a fair and equatable system throughout the state.”
Following Chapman’s contract approval the board will begin looking at other district administrators, including Assistant Superintendent Patti Seckman, and principals, either in February or March and then teacher contract renewals.
Chapman’s contract will be up for renewal again early next year.
The board was also presented with two videos in honor of school board appreciation month.
Attendance numbers for the district are slightly down after a small bump in numbers. Attendance for PISD is about 1,065 students.