At the October 14 meeting of trustees of the Blanco Independent School District, Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford announced that the district has received a Superior Financial Integrity Rating from the Texas Education Agency for 2011-2012. Based on scores on 20 indicators, the district achieved a score of 67, with a passing score being 52. Trustee president Matt Herden thanked financial officer Kay Fraser for her efforts.
The monthly Spotlight portion of the meeting featured eighth grade band students, introduced by Blanco Middle School principal Keitha St. Clair. St. Clair explained that many students were absent due to a volleyball game and praised their level of commitment to band, which involves several performances a week. Among their awards in competitions this year are a 1st place for drum line, a 1st place for drum major, and a rating of 2 in their last competition.
Blanco High principal Dr. Dustin Barton gave recognition to teachers of Advanced Placement and Dual-Enrollment classes—Gina Blankenburg, Jody Schwarzlose, Edit Quintanilla, and Amy Hackebeil. He explained that these teachers must do multiple preparations each day in addition to their advanced classes and praised them for their efforts in ensuring that students do well on their AP exams. In his words, “Their ability to recruit students for AP classes enabled BHS to receive a distinction from the Texas Education Agency for AP/IB and Advanced Dual-Enrollment Completion Participation.”
Director of Curriculum Dr. Richard LaBuhn reported on the district’s Staff Development Program, enumerating programs at each of Blanco’s three campuses, including webinars, distance learning, and satellite training for teachers in Region 13.
Kay Fraser updated trustees on the district’s food service program, which has faced tougher regulations in the past two years in order to qualify for subsidies through USDA. Cutting calories and sodium has proved challenging in getting the 633 students who eat lunch each day to enjoy nutritious meals with more fruit and leafy green vegetables, said Fraser. The breakfast program also faces stiffer requirements this year. She showed a photo of the food service staff—10 full-time and 2 part-time, including a credentialed chef, Victoria Kretchman, who she said has been “a wonderful addition to our staff.” Fraser also informed trustees that an in-depth food-service audit was to be performed Tuesday, October 15, at the elementary school. “We’ve been working very hard to prepare,” she said, “and I’m confident that we will come through with flying colors.”
Trustees voted to cast Blanco ISD’s votes for the Blanco County Appraisal Board to Dr. David Behrends and Lynn Boyd, who currently serve on that board. After a brief review of the district’s Investment Policy, trustees approved it. The main change, according to Kay Fraser, was the addition of a new broker, The Bank of Oklahoma, which she said “has a lot of good offerings for school districts.” She added that the district has a diverse portfolio, and that investments are made strictly in accordance with the Public Funds Investment Act.
The following people spoke in Open Forum: Maria Barraco, Joaquin Olmedo, Frank Hunter, Virginia Castro, and the district’s attorney Paul Hunn. Several were critical of the behavior of coaches in the district, while Castro praised those who speak up for their children. Attorney Paul Hunn praised the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford and the trustees, asserting that if one hasn’t been sued at least once, something is wrong. He concluded by saying that in Blanco ISD, the grown-ups are in charge, not the children.
A number of those in attendance were associated with American Legion Post 352, which the district has attempted to evict from their building on school grounds. The subject of Executive Session was Consultation with Attorney Regarding Pending Litigation—Blanco Memorial Highway Post 352, the American Legion, Department of Texas vs. Board of Trustees of the Blanco Independent School District, and J. Buck Ford, Superintendent. There was no action.