NEWS HEADLINES

School board election canceled; Trustees support sheriff’s SRO initiative

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, March 30, 2013

With no one interested in contesting their seats, three members were reappointed to the Alvord ISD board of trustees Thursday night, and the May 11 election was canceled.

Jimmy Looney, place 3, Larry Nivens, place 4, and V.J. “Vic” Czerniak, place 5, were certified as unopposed candidates after the filing period passed with no one except the incumbents signing up for any of the three seats.

Aside from that, the highlight of Thursday’s meeting was an agreement to budget for a school resource officer through the Wise County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff David Walker visited in January with Superintendent Bill Branum to discuss providing a trained and uniformed law enforcement officer to be on the county’s rural campuses while school is in session.

A letter from Walker dated Feb. 19 proposed his department hire two additional deputies at a cost of $38,000 salary, $28,601 in insurance and $2,200 for uniforms and equipment. Rounding up to $62,000 each for two deputies, Walker proposed splitting the total cost of $124,000 with the four rural school districts, with the county paying half and the districts splitting the other half four ways.

That comes to an estimated $15,500 each for Alvord, Chico, Slidell and Paradise ISDs.

All four districts would then have a uniformed deputy on duty in their districts during school hours. When school is not in session, those deputies would work as assigned within the county.

“I’d like to go ahead and make a commitment to Sheriff Walker,” Branum told his board. “I think it’s a great deal and a good opportunity for us, whether it’s $15,000, $20,000 or $25,000. It’s not going to be ridiculous.”

He said the district would include a line item in next year’s budget and probably go a little above what Walker had requested.

It passed unanimously.

OTHER ACTION

The board also approved a student transfer and created a District Instructional Materials Allotment Team for the 2013-14 school year before going into a closed session.

Prior to that, they heard reports from all three campus principals and two board members.

  • Board member Vic Czerniak gave a brief update on his efforts to get a designated school zone around Alvord Middle School. He is working with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to have a sign installed with lights that flash when school is in session, warning drivers that the school zone speed limit is 20 mph. After a misunderstanding, he said, “We’re back to square one.” He will continue to work with TxDOT.
  • Board member Kevin Wood reported he had attended a legislative conference in Austin recently and said the Texas House had passed HB5, which would mean “some sweeping reforms in the way schools operate.” He noted changes to graduation requirements, career education, testing and other items – all depending on what changes the Senate makes. Wood applauded Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen, author of the bill.
  • Elementary Principal Bridget Williams noted that STAAR testing is April 2-3 and again April 23-24. Her campus has 342 students with an average daily attendance (ADA) of 94.92 for the fifth six weeks and 96.04 for the year;
  • Middle School Principal Janis Branum reported 173 students and ADA of 95.41 for the six weeks and 96.42 year-to-date. She also reviewed a list of her school’s award winners in the recent Wise County Youth Fair;
  • High School Principal Dr. Rhett King reported an enrollment of 193 students and ADA of 96.87 for the six weeks and 96.42 year-to-date. He also reviewed a lengthy list of Youth Fair winners from Alvord, noted that end-of-course exams will be given next week and went over results from the recent district UIL meet in which several AHS students earned honors.

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