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Ivanhoe Council considers street repair issues

by Emily Waldrep

The City of Ivanhoe held its monthly city council meeting at 6 p.m. on July 10th at the City Hall to discuss various agenda items, including election procedures and appointment of officers to several organizations.

The street and road report was read by Roland Priddy, who reported that in the last three months the city spent $21,000 dollars on the roads. A list was provided of what work was done and how many hours were spent on the roads.

According to Priddy, the rain and drainage on the dirt roads has been a problem for the workers.

"They are trying to put rock into some of the washouts," Priddy said. "Hopefully this will work better than just putting more dirt in that is going to wash right back out again."

Priddy also reported that a representative from Lufkin is going to come out and meet with members of the council about an overlay for the roads that will cost approximately $5,000, which Priddy says may be a problem because the contractor cannot mobilize for that price.
Thankfully, the contractor is scheduled to be in Woodville in several weeks and hopes to take a look at the road that needs the overlay.

The council also held its second reading for Resolution #2012-4R(d) which is a resolution to rescind, or erase, Resolution #2012-4R and amendments "A" through "C" for appointments of officers and liaisons.

"The council understands the need for reorganization when a plan is not quite right and the city council recognizes that these resolutions have not proved to be a benefit to the city at this time," said Mayor Jack Brockhouse.

The council could not rescind the resolutions and amendments at the second reading, but all council members approved the second reading. The next reading will be held during the August meeting.

Next, the council discussed the yearly issue of holding a joint election with Tyler County on November 4.

"This is the same agreement we do every year and we have the joint election with the county that saves us a lot of money," Brockhouse said. "It would be of the benefit of the city, county, and voters to hold the election jointly."

All council members approved holding a joint election with Tyler County, adopting a contract with the Tyler County Clerk for the election, and calling a regular election for November 4 for the purpose of electing and mayor and two city council members.

The council also accepted David Hyman and Company as the year 2014 city auditors.

Spurger ISD Board approves combining election with county

by Emily Waldrep

Spurger ISD school board held its monthly meeting on June 19, 2014 at 7 p.m. and was able to discuss contracts, goals, and election options for the 2014 election year.

In first order of business, the board heard the third reading of the TASB Update 99 and will be ready to accept the update during the July meeting.

The board also voted to uphold the current memorandum of Understanding Concurrent Enrollment and dual credit partnership between Angelina College and Spurger ISD. The memorandum allows high school students to enroll in classes at Angelina that transfer to their high school courses so that some students can begin receiving college credit in high school. The program has been in place at Spurger successfully for several years, and the board saw no reason to end or amend what is working for their students. The board unanimously approved the agenda item and students will continue to be allowed to be duel enrolled in both Angelina and Spurger.

The board also discussed approving C&C Sanitation and Waste Management Services to take care of the trash and dumpsters on the campus. Superintendent Joe Fisher brought up some problems he had experienced with the company, and asked the board to read over and review the new contract. After some discussion, the board amended the contract to better fit their needs and will be submitting it to the sanitation company for approval.

The board also discussed school board election options. In the past, the board has handled its own election at the administration office but last year opted to go in with the county and have their names added to the ballot in Woodville. It worked well last year and, according to Fisher, saved the district several thousand dollars. After some discussion, the board decided to hold the school board election with the county again this year. Two spots will be up for re-election in November.

The next meeting will be held July 17 at 7 p.m. in the administration building.

Colmesneil ISD signs Edd Trotter as new athletic director

by Michael G. Maness

Edd TrotterColmesneil ISD Board president Curtis Pittman convened the board, and secretary Kenneth Adaway led the invocation at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening, June 17. On the consent agenda, the minutes from a special board meeting on June 4 were approved, where the board had approved the hiring of Edd Thomas Trotter as the school's new athletic director.

Later, Trotter said, "I am excited to come to Colmesneil and plan on building and continuing their success." Originally from Nacogdoches, for the last seven years he has been at Diboll ISD as junior high athletic coordinator and head baseball coach from 2009-14, where their baseball team made several regional and area finals every year from 2011 to 2014. He also has served West Sabine ISD, Shelbyville ISD, and Huntington ISD. He has a B.A. from SFA and a M.A. from Walden University.

Elementary school principal Yvette Carlton reported some outstanding stats on the recent STAAR analysis. Nearly all of the grades reported average test results above the state average. For example, third grade reading was 92 percent, up from 83 percent last year, while the state average was 76 percent. Sixth grade math was 86 percent, in a state average of 78 percent. Many of the averages were up ten or more points from last year.

High school principal Walter McAlpin also reported increases, with a whopping 100 percent in eighth grade reading, in a state average of 82 percent. Eighth grade math was at 91 percent, in a state average of 79 percent.

Both Carlton and McAlpin were thankful and proud for their teachers and students.

Superintendent Angela Matterson reported that Lake Tejas would be starting swimming lessons, proud that several of their students were certified, and the money earned would go for scholarships. The large school billboard that was removed when the Family Dollar was constructed will find a new home, likely courtesy of board member Jim Carlton, who will report back next month with prospects for a location.

The board discussed at length the Pre-K program for the up-coming year. Matterson was excited that they had 31 prospects, 13 of which qualify for full state funding. The board approved for the school to move ahead and allowed for a $225 monthly tuition for those kids who did not qualify for state aide, encouraging Matterson and Carlton to work with parents who might have trouble paying the monthly tuition.

Matterson was especially proud to report that 82.6 percent of their teachers completed the anonymously recorded TELL Texas State Survey of school-based licensed educators given earlier in the year and required by law in Texas HB 2012. Colmesneil was on page one of the 31-page report, 16th from the top in Texas in a list of 1,228 schools with 82,979 total responses. See the survey and list at TELLTexas.org. Sadly, within the state, 1,000+ schools had less than 50 percent of their teachers reporting, 800+ < 25 percent, 500+ < 10 percent, and 200+ with zero reporting. And, so often in the news lately, only 8.03 percent of Beaumont ISD's 1,631 teachers responded. Matterson beamed and stressed how important it was for their leadership to have responsive teachers, saying, "We utilize and need good teachers' feedback."

On their transportation needs, a lively discussion ensued. Matterson will be looking at the purchase of a suburban-type vehicle to avoid both the excessive cost of refunding staffer's vehicle use and the waste of using full-size buses for trips with few staff and students.
The board adjourned proud of their teachers and students.

Chester ISD finishes security camera upgrades

by Michael Maness

Board President Ray McKnight convened the Chester ISD monthly board meeting at 5:30 p.m., and Vernon Lewis led an invocation and the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags.
The rest of school's TASB grant came through. With the additional $4,000, Wayne Ivey was proud to report that all of their 16 security cameras were all up and running giving a view of most of the critical areas including the gyms, hallways, walkways and even to the concession stand. This is a 24-7 monitoring system on a continuous feedback that records many days in succession and records on battery power, too, should the electricity fail.

"You can really see a lot," Ivey said.

The board approved Ivey's recommendation for a part-time fully credentialed teacher to replace the vacated teacher's aide position for the science and instructional lab. The goal was to make the lab fully operational in assessments and teaching to meet the needs of students.
Ivey reported on the school's textbooks and acquisition of computers for the teachers and they are looking at grants for more.

The stipend schedule for the coaches was approved to make sure they were properly compensated for their extra work.

The board approved the EIF plan on their graduation policy that, according to Ivey, was sent from TASB and combined a foundation plan with their old, a kind of mixing of both the old with the new.

The consent agenda was quickly passed with little discussion, Superintendent Wayne Ivey mentioning that they picked up a little extra tax money during the year. Forecasters see property values increasing by almost $2 million. Their budget looked good. With attendance at 96.5 percent for the year, the board was very proud, being that so much revenue was predicated upon attendance and their forecasting estimates have been on target.

School bus #37 will be off to the salvage yard after their mechanics remove anything they might be able to use on other buses, like seats and lights. It was too far gone to repair. Ivey noted the condition of several buses, a few having A/C problems, one having a tire replaced, and other minor stuff. Bus #36 needed a head gasket, and Ivey was rather happy that his staff had found a Houston dealer that was able to fix it at a reasonable price.

Woodville ISD hires Boys’ Athletic Coordinator/Head Coach

by Janette Blackwell

In a special-called May 28 meeting, the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees met in executive session before publicly announcing their selection of Coach Mike Waldie as Boys' Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach, in which he will oversee all aspects of the football program for grades seven through 12.

Waldie earned his bachelor degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. His experience spans from assistant coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator for college programs in Kansas to athletic director for boys' and girls' programs, assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for school districts extending from northeast Texas' Mt. Pleasant to south Texas' Luling.

The Board also approved a motion authorizing Superintendent Glen Conner to negotiate salaries of incoming newly-hired District administrative employees until the Board adopts a new salary schedule.

City of Chester swears in new council member Charlotte Barnes

Michael G. Maness

Mayor C. E. Lawrence convened the Chester City Council at their regular time of 6 p.m., Monday, June 3.

After approving the minutes from the previous meeting, the council members approved the appointment of Charlotte Barnes to fill the seat vacated by B. E. Williams, who passed away the previous month from a long-held illness. City Secretary Annette Hickman gave the oath of office to Barnes.

The agenda item regarding employee raises was tabled by consensus to the next meeting, Lawrence and the council preferring to have all members present for that determination.

Councilman Vincent Incardona asked several questions regarding the budget. Hickman brought forth the ledger and explained numerous items. Lawrence noted that the auditors had no questions with the books, confident that any impropriety would have been noted. After some discussion regarding the movement of some recurring expenses into their own budget item, the council consensus seemed content to leave well enough alone.

The Gas Company budget seemed to be lower than normal, and most of the council members reflected their joy over lower gas bills throughout the rather warm winter season.

With a motion to adjourn, the council parted in good spirits.