by Emily Waldrep
Spurger ISD held a school board meeting on Thursday, March 1, in the Administration building to discuss various issues, including district goals, declining mineral values, and reading and dyslexia programs.
The first order of business on the regular agenda was a report from the tax accessor. The report stated that since timber prices are falling, the value of minerals will decrease as well, which means that the district will collect less in taxes. A tentative tax audit will be available for the district in the coming months, and the final will be completed in July, but reports are already stating that values will be much lower because of the falling timber and mineral values.
During the district goals report by Mrs. Keppi Fortenberry, the reading and dyslexia program was discussed. In an effort to give every child the same learning experience, students are beginning to be screened for dyslexia and learning problems at a 2nd grade level, then followed and if necessary, evaluated, at a 3rd grade level. Superintendent Joe Fisher says this works because, "kids don't have a solid reading foundation until about third grade, but they have their basics down after 2nd grade, and we begin to watch them at that level." That way, Spurger can catch possible reading developmental problems earlier and place the kids in the appropriate program. As far as the dyslexia and reading program itself, Fisher say's "we will continue to use the same programs because they work." The district also boast having Amber Conner, a certified master reading teacher, at the school to work with students who need the extra help.
The board also passed a resolution to name Emily Waldrep to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Media Honor Roll, a prestigious honor that has never been given to another Spurger resident. The TASB Media Honor Roll's goal is "to recognize representatives who make the effort to get to know the superintendent, board president, and district mission and goals, report school news that is fair, accurate and balanced, give a high profile position to good news about schools, visit the schools and maintain a policy of no surprises by sharing information with school representatives." Nominees for this award get recognition by the board and employees, as well as a certificate and recognition of tasb.org.
The board also voted on a representative on the ESC board of directors, and will be adding Christy Hughes as the single name on the Tyler County Ballot. Winners will be announced after the entire regions votes are counted.
The elementary principal reported that the children are working hard to raise money for a new piece of playground equipment shaped like a large Pirate Ship. The board will be budgeting that next school year, but has no time frame of when that piece of equipment will be purchased.
The board also went over various smaller matters, such as approving David Stickler as the auditor for the next school year, discussing a long range facility improvement plan and budgeting for the coming years and discussing the High Schools One Act Play's performance in competition in Carthage at Panola College on March 22, 2012.
The next board meeting will be held on April 19, 2012 in the Administration building.