Blanco Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford announced the appointment of Sandy Gravenor as interim principal of Blanco Elementary School at the April 9 BISD Trustees meeting. Former principal Sue Ann Reininger, whose resignation was announced last month, is currently working with students in the Alternative Education Program. Following executive session, trustees approved the hiring of Linda Romano as the new elementary principal for the 2012-13 school year.
In the Spotlight on Students portion of the meeting, Blanco Middle School band director Brian Hecimovich introduced band members who have advanced to All-Region Symphonic or Concert Band, including Sebastian Thomas, Jesse Ferrell, Steven Flores, Ivan Romero, Charity Windham, Helen Kasberg, M. J. Benjil, and Isaiah Delgado. Mr. Hecimovich especially commended Isaiah and Ivan as two of only three sixth graders who advanced to All-Region Band.
Blanco Elementary School Interim Principal Sandy Gravenor introduced librarian Laurie Kirkscey, who has been selected to serve on the Texas Library Association Two by Two Committee, a subcommittee of the Children’s Round Table Committee. The committee is responsible for selecting the best books for children from two years to second grade. Kirkscey is also a member of the Bluebonnet Committee, which selects books for children in grades three through six. As a result of her membership on these committees, the Blanco community will receive 500 books, to be shared between the Blanco Elementary School Library and the Blanco Library.
Dr. Ford also presented the board with a list of Tentative Staffing Plans for all three campuses for the 2012-13 school year. Trustees voted to approve District and Campus Improvement Plans submitted after development by teams of faculty, staff, parents, and community and business leaders. The goal of the plans is to improve student performance and to meet the specific identified needs of students and the district and campus levels. Trustee Darrel Wagner asked principals and Dr. Ford if the district is “all right” in the face of budget cuts from the state. Dr. Ford responded that the district is in a hiring freeze and will have to absorb the loss of any staff at the three campuses. High school principal Dustin Barton said that there will be some vacancies at the high school, and the loss of faculty positions is detrimental not only in the classroom, but also in other activities such as UIL and sports which faculty members coach. Principal Jesse Salazar said, “We’re fine right now.”
In construction news, Dr. Ford showed trustees pictures of the newly-installed elementary school gym floor, for which an Open House was held. He added that Coach Campbell “is extremely excited about the floor.”In response to a question by a trustee about renovation of the gym restrooms, Dr. Ford said that project would have to wait for summer.
Tom Rehak and Joel Benjagerdes of Vanguard Contractors gave an update on the progress of the elementary school construction/renovation project. Rehak joked that if he had known that the project would bring rain to Central Texas, they would have started it sooner. The cafeteria and east wing slabs were scheduled to be poured next, depending on good weather. Trustee Matt Herden asked to be called when it started so he could see it, even though he was told it would be 2 a.m. on April 9. Asbestos abatement in both wings of the yellow building and in the linoleum of the administrative building is part of the project, priced at $32,000. Fabrication of the metal cafeteria building will begin on April 16. Representatives of Vanguard plan to meet twice a month with Dr. Ford and Maintenance Director Tony Petri to provide updates and deal with concerns. In response to a question by trustee Tim Nance as to how behind the project is, Benjagerdes responded, “We’re not—we’re where we need to be.”
Mike Brooks from TASB made a presentation to trustees on the various options for choosing a delivery method for installation of air conditioning in the middle school gym and adding an emergency shower drain in the 6th and 7th grade science lab. Of the eight options presented, trustees chose the competitive sealed proposals delivery method. Brooks advocated this method, which he had used previously in his work, because of its speed, cost, and transparency. Trustees also approved Energy Systems Associates, Inc. for engineering services for these projects. Company representative Chris Carter, who has visited the middle school and looked at the engineering design required, gave the board an overview of his findings. He estimated that the job, including construction administration, will cost $117,000. Carter assured Matt Herden that his company will be available during and after the project, should any problems arise.
In other business, trustees approved Policy EHBB (local) from TEA, which deals with new terminology in the new statewide plan for gifted and talented programs. Trustees also approved a resolution to suspend portions of EIA (local) and EIC (local) for the 2011-2012 school year. On February 17, 2012, Commissioner of Education Robert Scott, announced that he is modifying House Bill 3 Transition Plan, which would give the district the ability to defer implementation of the statutory provision that requires performance on an end-of-course (EOC) assessment to count as 15 percent of a student’s final grade. Districts that defer the 15 percent provision may do so only for the 2011-2012 school year and must notify TEA of that decision by May 1, 2012.
Because both Kirk Felps and Darrell Wagner are running unopposed for their seats on the Blanco ISD board, trustees voted to approve cancellation of the May 12, 2012 school board election and order each unopposed candidate elected to the office. The Texas legislature amended the election code in 1995 to permit the cancellation of an election under these circumstances. Both Dr. Ford and Landa Lassberg have submitted the necessary documents of certification to the state.
Finally trustees approved a budget amendment releasing federal Title funds to full entitlement per approval from TEA dated March 27, 2012. Title I funds increase to $197,268 (teacher salaries); Title I Migrant funds to $96,552,(salaries, contract services, and supplies) and Title II, Part A (teacher and principal training and recruiting) to $29,276.
Following executive session, trustees accepted the resignation of Elisa Pittman, high school science teacher, effective at the end of the school year, and the retirement of Cynthia Carroll, fourth grade teacher, also effective at the end of the school year.