Kathy Anderson, retiring Director of Curriculum and Special Programs for the Blanco Independent School District, and Bobby Beard, Blanco Elementary School maintenance worker, received words of praise and certificates from Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford at the regular meeting of the BISD trustees on Monday, June 10. Dr. Ford commended Anderson for her many contributions to the district, including her work aligning the curricula of the three campuses through the C-Scope program, her work with migrant students, and her participation on the district administrative team. Anderson will continue to work part-time for the district as Director of Federal and Compensatory Programs. Dr. Ford also thanked Bobby Beard for his work, especially this past school year, when he has served as liaison between the school and Vanguard Contractors during the elementary school renovation and construction project. Several trustees also thanked him for all the work he does.
In their first meeting since May’s election, in which Charles Riley was the only trustee to win his slot against an opponent, trustees elected new officers by acclamation—president, Matt Herden; vice-president, Troy Immel; and secretary, Kirk Felps. Charles Riley was scheduled to be sworn in but was absent due to illness. Trustees selected a delegate, Charles Riley, and an alternate, Matt Herden, to attend the annual TASA/TASB convention in Dallas September 27-29.
In personnel matters, Dr. Ford announced a reorganization of the central office. Anderson’s position will have a new title—Director of Curriculum and Instruction—and that person will be the district testing coordinator, instructional and textbook director, as well as director of special programs. Following executive session, trustees approved Anderson’s retirement and voted to hire Dr. Richard LaBuhn as the new Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Also hired were the following: Teresa Hawkins, 7th grade reading; Laura Salazar, elementary art; and Kay Preiss, 6th grade language arts.
Vanguard Contractors project manager Joel Benjegerdes gave his monthly update to trustees, reporting that the punch list for the original Blanco School building renovation/construction project is complete except for handrails, which should be installed soon. He said that demolition within the elementary school has started to allow the reconfiguration of the administrative office. A new site supervisor, Rick Mikeska, has replaced Bill Burroughs. Benjegerdes said the district is getting “a good benefit” from Mikeska, who will work through the summer on the elementary school renovation. In answer to a question from trustee Darrel Wagner about problems with a freezer in the new elementary school cafeteria, he said that someone was scheduled to come out and look at it at the end of last week.
Director of Transportation John Moore reported that the fleet of 18 buses owned by the district has logged 160,287 in the current school year. The district also owns five Suburbans, five trucks, two special ed buses, and a Yukon. The total mileage for the year is 247,204, an increase over last year’s total of 225,668. Moore showed trustees a photo of the fleet of 11 buses owned by the district in 1990, his first year employed by the district, and said they logged 82K that year. “How come you got rid of the gas pumps?” asked Troy Immel, to which business manager Kay Fraser responded, “Federal regulations.”
In other business, trustees approved a contract with Vanguard Contractors for the remodeling of the entranceways to the middle school and high school in response to security concerns. They also reviewed a list of transfer students for the 2013-14 school year and approved salary and benefit increases at a cost of $232,500. The average salary increase is $1,456 or 3.06%. Teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors will advance one step with a minimum increase of $900. Paraprofessionals/Support Staff will also advance a step, with an estimated cost to the district of $49,630. Administrators will receive a 3% raise, bus drivers, a 4% increase; substitutes an increase of $5 per day, UIL coaching stipends in most categories by $400 for head coaching positions and $200 for assistant coaching positions. The Athletic Director(head football coach and coach of at least one other sport) will receive a $7500 stipend, with other head coaches—volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, and track, receiving $4000 stipends. Head golf, tennis, and cross country coaches will receive a $2900 stipend. The power-lifting coach will receive a $2200 stipend. Other stipends include the following: athletic trainer, $7500; and band director, $4500. Trustees also approved a TASB Policy Update 97.
In Open Forum parent Maria Barraca spoke on the topic of perception as it relates to the BISD trustees. She expressed concern that election results are not sufficiently complete to show what percentage of the population votes. She said that people are afraid to get involved and that it would be good for the district “to remind people that it is good to come and talk. Sometimes we do the right thing, but people don’t perceive it.” She also spoke of the perceptions of her son, Joaquin Olmedo, who spoke after her, saying that his remarks expressed his perceptions “in his 14-year-old world.” Olmedo, an eighth grade student at Blanco Middle School, dressed in his Boy Scout uniform, complained of the attitude of his coaches, who he said “insulted and threatened” him after athletic injuries sidelined him from weight-lifting and running. He said that coaches should be mentors, not “rude bullies”who stress athletics over academics. “How can we be expected to respect the academic side of school if the athletic department can defy the principal, insult our parents, and ridicule us students?” he asked. Following his remarks, a number of adults praised his speaking ability, and one, his bravery in speaking out.