Italy School Board recognized by students, staff

Students and staff recognized the Italy School Board of Trustees Thursday evening at the group’s monthly meeting.

The Stafford Elementary School Student Council was on hand to provide a gift and cookies to board members in acknowledgment of School Board Recognition Month. They had prepared a book for each school board member with each grade thanking them for their service. The book was bound and illustrated by students.

Jonathan Nash, principal, explained the books members received and introduced student council members. Members of the Stafford Student Council include: Tanner Chambers, president; Hannah Carr, vice-president; Ryan Dabney, treasurer; Madi Dickerson, secretary; Haylee Mathers, historian; Emily Janek, Darrin Jackson, fourth grade representatives; Morgan Chambers and Easton Viator, third grade representatives. Their sponsor is Janette Janek.

Lee Joffre, high school principal, had decorative candles for trustees made by art students.

During new business, Greg Shroshire, an accountant with Patillo, Brown and Hill, gave the financial audit for the previous year (ending August 31, 2013).

He briefly explained the report by sections and concluded by saying he found no problems with internal controls. He said everything he asked for had been provided in a timely manner. He said comments from prior years had been corrected and noted there was a lot of improvement this year.

Mark Stiles made the motion with a second from Russ Lewis to approve the auditor’s report. The motion passed unanimously.

Paul Cockerham, president, read the board annual required training report. All new board members are required to have at least 10 hours of training and other board members must have five hours of training. Their hours are: Cockerham, Larry Eubank, Lewis, Cheryl Owen, 12 hours, Stiles, 8.25 hours; Ida Overton and Sal Ramirez, 16.25 hours.

The hours were approved unanimously with a motion by Owen and second from Eubank.

The council also unanimously approved the use of a credit card for the office staff. Stiles made the motion with a second from Eubank.

Joffre began the administrative report for the junior high/high school by apprising trustees with the STAAR update.

  • STAAR Update — He said the requirements keep changing and the English tests are the latest to be updated. He said the testing will combine reading and writing and will require one essay on each test – English I being expository and English II being persuasive. He noted the testing time limit would increase to five hours.
  • Spring Planning — Joffre said he is meeting with a committee to plan banquets and other traditional events in order to avoid conflicting dates and hopes to have the schedule completed by Feb. 7.
  • Seniors — He said the counselor, Erica Miller, has met with seniors and will meet with them a second time by the first week in February. She is discussing ranking, providing updated transcripts and learning the students’ plan for the future. He said scholarship requirements and deadlines should be completed by Feb. 1.
  • Graduation — Joffre said they are discussing having graduation at an alternate site – such as the high school football field – because of the poor acoustics in the dome. Stiles suggested they might find out what it costs to hold graduation at the Waxahachie Civic Center.
  • Dual credits — Joffre said he will be meeting with Navarro College representatives later this month to discuss dual credit agreement options for the 2014/2015 school year. His goal is to allow students to earn their associates degree upon graduation. He will talk with Hill College as well to see what they might offer.
  • Scheduling options – Currently, he said there are conflicts with the band and athletics. He said they are working to alleviate the conflict for the 2014/2015 school year.

Nash invited trustees to the elementary school awards ceremony for the first semester next Friday.

  • Perfect attendance — He recognized three teachers who have perfect attendance thus far – Davee Garcia, Debra Prowell and Tracy Williams.
  • Teachers — He praised the teachers’ effort in response to an intervention program on the campus. He also praised the staff for their plans to teach struggling students after benchmark testing.

Interim Superintendent Henry Lind outlined the January facilities report and discussed a possible bond election.

  • Athletics — He said the maintenance department has installed a green fence around the softball and baseball fields. Lind said students are excited with the update. He said they have also been working on the football field to help with drainage.
  • Ag barn – Lind said they have the gravel for a road and parking around the new barn.
  • Bond election – He had step-by-step directions for a possible bond election. He said the first step would be to hire an architect in order to sell the project in a professional manner. He said there is usually no cost for the architect until the bond passes. He said financial advisors, which will also be needed, are paid in the same manner.

Stiles said the school needs to hire an engineer to meet with the athletic director to figure out how to repair the football field.

Trustees also approved minutes from the previous meetings, utility report, transportation report, December check payments, monthly investments and cash position, December financial statement, tax collections and enrollment.

Student enrollment, as of Jan. 10, is 520 with refined average daily attendance at 484.45 or 97.01% attendance.

Trustees convened into executive session to discuss administrative personnel at 8:15 p.m. They took no action when they reconvened in open session.