NEWS HEADLINES

Alvord trustees size up volleyball

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When it comes to girls’ sports – cross country, basketball, track and softball – Alvord has a reputation as a winner.

But it’s also a small school, with only 207 students in grades nine through 12, which means the number of athletes those sports can draw from is limited.

That’s one concern as the school board looks at adding volleyball, starting with the 2014-15 school year.

“It appears there’s a pretty good level of interest,” Superintendent Bill Branum told the board Monday night.

After the matter came up last month, Branum asked athletic director Curtis Enis to poll students in several grades about volleyball. In the sixth grade, 16 girls expressed an interest in playing. In the seventh, there were 14, and the eighth and ninth grades each had 15. Six girls in the 10th grade also approached Enis and said they would be interested in playing if volleyball were offered.

Board member Jeannette Ward asked if those girls also play basketball and run cross country.

“If these individuals who signed up are multi-sport athletes, that could very well put them in danger of going over the amount of extracurricular days very quickly if they attempt to do all five sports,” she said. “We’ve had an issue with that in the past.

“That would be my only reservation – not knowing that information before we went to make a move.”

Branum said the polling didn’t include that information, but he would get it in time for the next board meeting, when volleyball will be on the agenda.

“High school volleyball involves two-a-days, similar to football,” he said. “Volleyball and cross country would be more likely to be simultaneous than volleyball and basketball, unless you had a playoff volleyball team.

“Since we wouldn’t be playing varsity right away, the playoffs would not be on the table. We’d be doing the best we could to find 12 to 15 games at the middle school and for the ninth and 10th grade.”

Branum estimated startup costs at about $35,000 for things like re-striping the gym floor and buying poles, nets, pads, officials’ stands, volleyballs, uniforms and other equipment.

They could use a coach who is already on staff, or hire a new one. Either way, most of the costs would be in next year’s budget.

The plan would be to start volleyball in the middle school and grade nine, then work up to varsity competition over two or three years.

Anticipating UIL redistricting this spring, it’s likely Alvord will be matched with schools that offer the sport, Branum said.

“If we go into one district, everybody in there already plays volleyball,” he said. “If we go into another one, I think there’s one that does not, but the rest of them do. It appears that a lot of schools our size are playing volleyball.”

Branum said a decision would be needed by April, at the latest, if the sport is to be added this fall.

HEARING HELD ON ACADEMIC REPORT

State law requires school districts hold a public hearing on their academic performance indicators every year. Alvord held theirs at Monday’s meeting – although the numbers being reported have been out for several months.

“In the overall scheme of things, we did very, very well,” Branum said. “You know that.”

All three of Alvord ISD’s campuses – elementary, middle and high school – achieved the “Met Standards” designation, the highest one that was offered last year. Both the middle school and high school also earned distinction in several areas.

“We had a new system, new standards, new expectations, much more complex questions,” Branum said. “Considering all that, I’m so proud of what our staff has been able to accomplish, and our kids, and also their parents.

“I really do believe it takes us all to be successful,” he added. “We receive a significant amount of support from the community – from the parents, who also have high expectations for their children. It pays off when we are all on the same page.”

OTHER BUSINESS

The board also:

  • postponed the presentation of their annual audit report after the CPA was unable to get to the meeting prior to adjournment. It was noted that he had three audits to present that night.
  • approved the waiver of three missed instructional days due to ice, as well as a resolution to compensate employees for those days.
  • approved the final payment to North Texas Contracting for the concrete paving around the high school and middle school campuses over the summer.
  • approved a budget amendment providing $36,000 to install card reader systems on exterior doors throughout the district, noting that they are much easier and cheaper to re-key.

The board also approved transfer requests and had an executive session, but took no action on the personnel matter they discussed.

BOARD TO HEAR AUDIT REPORT FRIDAY

Given that Jan. 31 is the deadline for school districts to file their official audit with the state, the fact that the auditor could not make Monday’s meeting presented a potential logistical problem for Alvord ISD.

Accountant Steve Gilliland of Bowie, who had three audits to present Monday night, pulled up at the Alvord ISD administration building about the time the last of the board members were leaving. The board finished its business at about 8 and agreed to wait until 8:15 before adjourning.

Gilliland arrived about 8:25.

They will get together, though, at 3:30 p.m. Friday for the official presentation of the audit report, which will then be filed electronically with the Texas Education Agency.

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