LISD eyes graduation requirements
By LPR Staff
Driven by a request from one student, the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees spent a portion of their meeting on Monday evaluating graduation requirements.
The request came from one Senior, who has not yet passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test, but who asked to “walk” with he
r class during commencement ceremonies on Friday evening. Passing an exit-level TAKS exam is a requirement for graduation from high school in the state of Texas. Because of some confusion about the student”s classification during her sophomore and junior years, she was not given the same number of chances to take the exit-level test as her peers were, board members said.
“She”s a good girl, and she”s gotten two scholarships,” the student”s mother asked the board. “Please allow her to walk.”
After an executive session to discuss the matter, the board voted unanimously to make an exception to allow the student to participate in commencement exercises on Friday night. She will not receive a diploma, however, until she passes the TAKS test.
The decision sparked concern with administrators.
“I”ll have… more parents in my office making the same request,” said LHS principal Charles Red after the board returned with their decision.
Some board members justified the decision, saying that the classification problems were no fault of the student, and that the ceremony was a “commencement,” rather than a “graduation.”
Traditionally, the superintendent certifies that the students participating in the ceremony have completed the requirements necessary to receive a high school diploma.
Another hotly-debated issue was brought back to the board on Monday night. The Preparation for Parenting Class at LHS, which the board voted last month would no longer be required, returned to the agenda for clarification.
Last month, the board voted to make the class an elective “effective next school year.” However, several sophomores and juniors have already taken the class, which has been a required course in the past.
“The Class of 2007 is halfway through their high school career,” said Ray Pfefferkorn, a concerned parent. “Changing it is unfair to half the students, who have taken Prep for Parenting as a required course. Instituting this change for the Class of 2007 can change the class ranking, effect the Top 10 and effect the top ten percent.”
Pfefferkorn, along with several parents who stood in support while he was speaking, asked that the board make the class an elective, beginning with the Class of 2008, who just finished their freshman year.
According to Superintendent of Education James Rabe, the T exas Education Agency (TEA) routinely implements such changes beginning with the first class not affected by the change (e.g., the Class of 2008 would not be affected because Prep for Parenting is not offered at the freshman campus).
The published agenda item asked the board to review the requirement only for the class of 2007. However, graduates of the class of 2006 could be effected by the decision, as well. Therefore, Board President John Flores suggested that the item be tabled and brought back to the agenda next month, when the board could make a decision about both classes.
The board scheduled a special meeting to discuss the issue on June 6, 2005 at 6 p.m.
In brief board news:
The board recognized dozens of students and citizens for their contributions and accomplishments during this school year. Those recognitions included: the Clearfork, Plum Creek and Navarro Elementary School Science Fair winners; the Locks of Love donors from Plum Creek Elementary; the Lockhart Junior High – Duke Talent Search program winners; the LHS Choir Award winners; the LHS track team; and the Lockhart Post-Register, which was nominated to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) 2005 Media Honor Roll. Board member Charles Kelly was against nominating the Post-Register to the Honor Roll.
The board approved the renewal of the contract for bus service with Durham Transportation. Board members Andy Govea, Raymond Gonzales and Charles Kelly were against renewing the contract.
LISD will waive the back taxes on the property known as the Mexican/Woodmen of the World Cemetery. The property will be deeded to a group of citizens who have formed an association to restore the cemetery and have it recognized as a historical cemetery.
In accordance with state law, the board heard bids from banks regarding acting as a depository for the school district for the next two years. All three local banks were given the chance to bid, and the First-Lockhart National Bank returned the best bid, according to financial officer Tina Knudsen. First-Lockhart was awarded the contract by a unanimous vote, with board member Carl Ray Ohlendorf abstaining.
Lockhart students will have the opportunity to participate in dance classes next year. Lockhart is one of the only districts in the area that does not have a full-time dance program, and because of significant interest from the student population, a program will be started next school year.
The board approved several personnel recommendations. However, staff has not yet offered a recommendation for a head varsity basketball coach for the next school year.