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LISD to name campus to honor local citizen

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

In a largely-unprecedented and somewhat controversial decision on Monday afternoon, the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees bestowed a great honor on a local resident.

After a brief yet emotional nomination process, the Board voted unanimously to rename the Lockhart High School campus the Lockhart High School – M.L. Cisnero

s Campus. Cisneros, a currently-seated Justice of the Peace, former LISD trustee, former mayor of the City of Lockhart and a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Army was present for the meeting and declared both surprise and humility at the honor.

“I wasn’t expecting this when I came here,” he said. “I thought I was coming to talk about school attendance. I am honored, I am flattered, and I am very humbled by the board’s decision, and I hope that I do not let the community down.”

Cisneros, who handles most of the district’s truancy cases through Caldwell County Justice Precinct One, had been lured to the meeting with the understanding that he would discuss truancy with the board and with new superintendent Dr. Jose Parra.

Many of Cisneros’ colleagues, along with his children, grandchildren and wife, Manuela, were on hand for the presentation. Most tearfully congratulated the Judge and enthusiastically thanked the board for the recognition granted during the meeting.

However, some members of the community thought the decision may have been made too quickly, and berated the board for what they understood to be a broad-sweeping choice.

Several board members reported as early as Monday evening they had received phone calls from constituents who understood the decision would “do away with Lockhart High School.” That, they said, was never the spirit or the intention of the board’s action.

“When the football team comes out of that tunnel at the games, they will still be wearing maroon and white, and they will still be the Lockhart Lions,” said Trustee John Manning, who also said honoring Cisneros by naming a campus for him was “absolutely the right thing to do.”

Spurred by Tuesday afternoon rumors that declared “LHS will now be MLCHS,” and in answer to concerns that exorbitant sums would need to be spent on new athletic jerseys, signage and letter jackets, Parra issued a brief statement via the telephone on Tuesday afternoon during a meeting with Board President Timoteo “Tim” Juarez, Jr.

“It was the intention of the board to rename Lockhart High School to the Lockhart High School – M.L. Cisneros campus,” Parra said. “A meeting will be set in the future to discuss the facility and to plan a dedication ceremony.”

In other business, the trustees discussed the tax rate needed to fund the district’s Fiscal Year 2008 – 2009 budget.

Because the district’s fiscal year runs concurrently with the school year, the final certified tax rolls were not available from the Caldwell County Appraisal District when the board approved the budget on June 23. The certified values became available on July 25.

“One of the disadvantages [to our budget schedule] is that we are putting the budget together on the estimated, not the certified values,” the district’s Chief Financial Officer Tina Knudsen said. “And when the property values go down, the tax rates go up.”

When the appraisal district’s “protest season” came to a close last month, the certified rolls yielded a lower total property value than originally planned in the budget. Therefore, Knudsen asked the board to publish a proposed tax rate a bit higher than originally suggested in June.

According to Knudsen’s figures, the tax rate necessary to fund the district’s budget is $1.04 per $100 of valuation for maintenance and operations, with a $.185-per-$100 rate for interest and sinking, making the total proposed tax rate $1.225 per $100. The final proposed rate, Knudsen’s presentation suggested, is 2.3 cents higher than last year’s rate.

The board must vote on the new tax rate prior to Sept. 30, 2008. They are expected to vote on the rate during their regular meeting on Sept. 22, 2008.

The board considered administration’s annual request to allow a “no pass, no play” waiver for students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which will allow certain students a twice-annual workaround for the state’s No Pass, No Play requirements.

Under the University Interscholastic League (UIL’s) requirements, students must maintain a C-average (70 or higher) in all classes to be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics and band performances. However, students in AP classes are allowed exceptions to that rule under the waiver. Specifically, AP students may earn a grade less than 70 in an AP class and still participate, provided their grades only slump for one grading period. The waiver may be used in two classes maximum. However, the waiver may not be used in the same class twice, nor may it be used more than twice.

Though administration originally recommended only including AP-level classes and dual-enrollment classes in the waiver, trustees voted to include pre-AP classes in the waiver. The covered classes include: all ACC dual-credit classes; AP Chemistry, Biology and US History, English 3 – AP, English 4 – AP, Spanish 4 – AP, Physics – AP and Calculus AB/BC.

In brief news:
The board signed a resolution declaring Highway 142, US 183 and the railroad tracks as “hazardous traffic routes,” thereby allowing the district to provide student transportation around those areas. The measure was initiated after the board received information last month they would have to cut bus service in certain dangerous areas because of the increased cost of fuel.

They recognized two cheerleaders, Ciara Castillo and Amanda Wright, who were named “All Stars” during a recent cheer camp and invited to participate in parades in London, England, and in Houston during the holiday season.

The trustees discussed district investments in local certificates of deposit and in area pools.

They held a brief executive session to discuss personnel issues.

The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees usually meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Conference Center at Lockhart High School. The meetings are open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend.

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