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WISD to hire Athletic Director, approves contracts

by Janette Blackwell

According to Woodville ISD Superintendent Glen Conner, in its April 23 meeting, the Board of Trustees considered and approved pursuing either hiring or assigning a district athletic director. A boys' coordinator and a girls' coordinator currently oversee the athletic program. In other personnel news, the Board approved teacher, special education co-op personnel, nurse and counselor contracts for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Board also discussed the possibility of implementing a full-day Pre-K program. Of all Woodville ISD students, 80 percent are economically disadvantaged. Discussion centered upon a full-day Pre-K program to enhance student readiness and "to close the gap that economic inequality creates," according to Conner. He noted that, on a federal level, movement toward universal Pre-K is gaining ground. Board members expressed the need for more information on actual costs to implement and to sustain the program, and to consider the effects upon already-existing local day care and Pre-K programs. The intent is not to encroach upon the niche already filled by private businesses or programs, but to supplement the educational offering in order to assist students. The Board also discussed a tuition-based Pre-K for students who do not otherwise qualify. This would make Pre-K available to students whose family incomes surpass the amounts established by need-based programs and to students from English-speaking families.

In an interview Superintendent Conner, he applauded the accomplishments of two outstanding Woodville students. Conner attended a Lamar University-hosted meeting Monday, April 21, where the two were honored, along with 15 other students from the region. Judge Randy Shelton of Jefferson County established Southeast Texas' Do the Write Thing program. Sixth through eighth grade students submit their written entries about how violence has affected their lives and what can be done to prevent violence in their own community, as part of the National Campaign to Stop Violence. Woodville seventh grader Marcos Broom was selected as the national ambassador for the Southeast Texas Region. He will travel to Washington, DC, this summer to share his views on ending violence with Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, the secretary of education, the secretary of the interior and the attorney general. Marcos' submission will be published in the Library of Congress, and his parents and teacher Amee Scarberry will accompany him on a tour of Washington. Also representing Woodville Middle School, eight-grade student Rané Prak was selected and recognized as a regional ambassador for her submission.

The Board welcomed the occasion for STAR Recognition, commending the achievements of seven FFA students, recognized for advancing to state competition on the Dairy Products and Quality team and for moving forward to area contest with the Forestry team. The Board also saluted six outstanding choir students for their advancement to state-level vocal solo and ensemble competition.

Conner announced that the District received two additional energy efficiency rebates from Entergy. The first, for $6,900, reflected improvements resulting from the lighting upgrades at the Summit and the district's gymnasiums. The second, for $3,300, was for increased efficiency based upon the HVAC project in Wheat Elementary cafeteria. With previously-received rebates, Entergy has awarded over $18,000 to the District.

In other business, the Board voted its approval to proceed with ordering a 77-passenger bus, in order for the bus to arrive in time for the approaching school year.

In an information-gathering executive session, the Board consulted with John Manuel, the District's tax attorney, about reserving mineral rights on District-owned trust property.

The Board considered and approved Wathen, DeShong & Juncker, LLP, to conduct the 2013-2014 annual financial statement and compliance audit for fiscal year ending August 31, 2014.

The Board also approved the March 17 meeting minutes, as well as Assistant Superintendent Cody Jarrott's financial reports, tax collections report and investment report. Jarrott also presented an updated revenue overview.

In his monthly superintendent's facilities report, Conner declared the Entegral facilities upgrade project "substantially completed."

Some of the district events on the horizon in this busy time of year include:
May 9 – the first Tyler County Special Olympics organized by Woodville ISD
May 12 – Woodville FFA banquet
May 20 – Woodville High School student awards and scholarship program
May 22 – District retirement reception; band and choir concert
May 29 – Pre-K promotion
June 5 – Woodville Middle School promotion
June 6 – Woodville High School graduation