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Sports Injuries Spark Parent Concern
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 • Posted November 17, 2009

In the wake of numerous injuries to Blanco High School athletes in contact sports, parent Kelle Gombert addressed the BISD trustees at their regular meeting November 9 on the need for a trainer “or some type of medical personnel on the sidelines” of games. The presence of EMS personnel at varsity football games only is inadequate, according to Gombert, since injuries occur in other sports, particularly junior varsity football. Tearfully she recounted a recent game in San Antonio in which her injured son had to lie on the field for 30 minutes before EMS personnel arrived. Gombert listed injuries for the current year, including a major head injury, broken bones, and knee, ankle, wrist, and finger injuries. “We all know of the risks we take when these kids play contact sports, but to take the risk of not having them taken care of on the sidelines is not right,” she emphasized. Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford addressed her concerns as part of his report, explaining that trustee Charles Riley has been in contact with Texas State University’s trainer program. The board voted to give Riley the authority to form a special committee to research the procedure for hiring a trainer.

The “Spotlight on Students” portion of the meeting featured elementary school students performing a traditional dance and song under the direction of music teacher Melissa Mollberg. The following students were introduced by principal Sue Ann Reininger after their performance: Landry Rogers, Abby Blankenburg, Jared De Los Santos, Maiya Keutz, Kolby Marek, Kelton Marek, ayden Liesmann, Hunter West, Clarissa Forrester, Jacob Kasberg, Addy Seymour, Malinda Campbell, and Marcela Alegria.

Principals Reininger, Jesse Salazar of Blanco Middle School, and Dustin Barton of Blanco High School gave an update on the various ways the schools communicate with the community, including the e-newsletter The Bell, e-mails to parents, the blancoisd.org website, which includes calendars for each school, and what each principal termed an “Open Door” policy, which encourages parents to come to school.

Curriculum director Kathy Anderson updated trustees on the CSCOPE program, which has been adopted by 600 out of the 1000 school districts in Texas. Among the many advantages of the program, stressed Anderson, is the continuity it gives students who move from one district to another, the preparation for End-of-Course exams, soon to replace the TAKS testing, and integration of the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards into the program.

Superintendent Ford announced that the district has earned 11 Gold Performance Awards, based on spring 2009 TAKS testing. “This is an outstanding achievement for our district,” enthused Ford, adding his thanks to all personnel who contributed to the district’s success. Ford also announced that the district has met the first phase of the grant requirements to receive a $1000 grant from the Capital Area College Tech Prep Consortium.

Architect Randy Fromberg updated trustees on the facilities study which his firm is undertaking with the help of the district’s site-based committee. Needs cited by the committee include moving fifth grade classes from portable classrooms, parking lot drainage issues at the high school, adding an ISS room at the high school and middle schools, science lab improvements at the middle school, improving inadequate cafeteria and kitchen facilities at the elemetary school, finding a permanent location for administrative offices, what to do with the old yellow mission-style building and the Kendalia property, and making school offices more secure, among others. Issues such as the birth rate and future subdivisions also factor into the study, according to Fromberg.

Trustees approved the Kendalia Public Library’s request to construct an ADA-compliant restroom addition. At last month’s meeting representatives from the Kendalia Community Association requested that the school district deed the property to the library, a request which was denied by the trustees after executive session.

In other business, trustees appointed the following to the School Health Advisory Council: Peggy Pepper, chair; Jesse Salazar, Tressa Savarino, parent; Diana Schwind, parent; and Julie West, parent. Trustees also voted to cast half of its 1768 votes for candidate Jack Felps and half for David Behrends, to serve on the Blanco County Appraisal District Board of Directors. Trustees voted to cast no votes for the Hays County Central District Board or the Kendall County Appraisal District Board candidates.

Trustees voted to invest federal stimulus funds received as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to hire a Student Success Coordinator for Blanco High School and a Technology Specialist for the Special Education Department. The duties of the Student Success Coordinator, hired at a salary of $60K, will be to work with at-risk students. Forty percent of Blanco High students qualify as “at risk” students, based on criteria such as “not advancing from one grade to another, not meeting expectations on TAKS, limited English Proficient Status, and not maintaining an average of 70 in two or more subjects.” The Technology Specialist position, at a salary of no more than $30K, will be primarily data input.

After executive session, trustees approved the hiring of Keitha St. Clair as the Student Success Coordinator. Finally, trustees voted to approve two budget amendments to use stimulus funds for staff salary increases, substitute salaries, SCOPE training costs, the high school math coaching project, the two new positions mentioned above, a Pre-K teacher and Early Start Program, technology training, and the purchase of interwrite boards.

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