Blanco County News
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School Board Approves Salary Increase, Reviews Performance Ratings
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 • Posted June 19, 2014

Blanco ISD’s School Board Meeting on June 9 began with the election of new officers. Matt Herndon will stay in his position of President. Kirk Felps was elected to take over the position of Vice President. Bernie San Miguel was elected to the position of Secretary.

Transportation Director John Moore gave a short update and report on the ISD’s fleet. There are currently 19 buses, 5 suburbans, and 5 pickups in the fleet. The fleet stayed within 250 miles of total mileage from last year, at 247,446 miles for the year. Moore suggested that the two buses that are not in working order should be put up for auction. The replacement buses are on order.

Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford then gave an update on BISD Goal #4, “BISD will recruit and retain high-quality and highly effective teachers and provide a work environment for them to feel positively fulfilled.” He shared a chart showing salary comparisons between BISD and other area ISDs. BISD offers the highest salary in the 15-Year and 20-Year comparisons, yet ranked fifth out of seven ISDs in the Maximum Salary rate. Recently, BISD received 61 applicants for the Assistant Band Director position, 27 applicants for the 5th Grade Science position, and 89 applicants for the Elementary Teacher Position.

Salary Recommendation for 2014-2015 school year were approved by the board. Teachers, Librarians, Nurses and Counselors will received an average salary increase of 3.06% or $1.456 per year. Administrators and Bus Drivers will receive a 3% increase while the substitute pay rate will increase by $5 per day. Kay Fraser also noted that the District-paid health benefits will remain unchanged, but the Employees will experience an increase in health premiums. The District currently pays $320.65 per month, per employee.

BISD Principals and Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford each submitted Performance Ratings per House Bill 5 that says that “each district must evaluate the districts and each of its campuses in community and student engagement, assign the district and each campus a rating based on criteria set by a local committee, and report the rating to TEA.” These rating were reviewed by the School Board. The District as a whole and the High School each had ratings in the Exemplary (1) and Recognized (2) areas. The Elementary School received an Acceptable (3) in Educational Programs for Gifted and Talented Students. Concerns were brought up by the Board for the Acceptable Rating for the Middle School’s Digital Learning Environment, which had received and Exemplary in the other campuses and the district. It was explained to the board that the rating was given because “they wanted to see teachers use more technology in the classroom. Mr. Cozzi came to our aid immediately.” Improvements such as; the use of Chrome Notebooks in science classes, designing a curriculum for a new computer applications elective, are scheduled to begin in the 2014-2015 school year.

Two citizens spoke during Open Forum. Maria Baracco spoke on the subject of “The Betterment of Our Children” in which she requested that the board take the opportunity to look into “red flags” and to “dive into the complaint drawers” in order to solve concerns before another “scandal” could take place.

She requested that the Board become the “children’s advocates” and offered that she knew of students that would be transferring before the 2014-2015 school year.

Jennie LaBuhn, who had been the recommended candidate for the AEP position before the board chose Kirk Deissler, also spoke. “I was surprise you didn’t have the courtesy to meet me… So I wanted to come introduce myself.” “Maybe you made the decision not to hire me because I’m not a man,” LaBuhn continued, “I’ve been working at KAPS for the last three and a half years, and I can handle anything that comes my way, especially when it comes to troubled teens.” LaBuhn ended her speech with a request that the board please consider her for any future positions as she was still interested in being on the faculty of BISD.

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