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LISD to press forward with tennis court construction

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By Miranda Rogers

POST-REGISTER

Many Lockhart Lions are pleased to know that the goal of building three to four new tennis courts is moving forward.

In a unanimous vote on Monday evening, the LISD Board of Trustees chose to move forward with seeking a Request for Proposal to update and expand the tennis courts to bring the playable number of courts up

to either six or eight. Currently, according to Coach Kat Lemons, there are five useable tennis courts at the disposal of LISD students.

Students like Rachel Lewis , a veteran of the LHS Varsity Tennis Team, have voiced their concerns about the lack of attention the tennis courts have received in the past , stating common problems like obesity could be solved with more access to courts. She also said that “older” players, such as tennis team parent Mary Lou Williams, would have the opportunity to be more active if the courts were in better repair.

Rachel’s mother, Robin Lewis, said she felt much the same way, saying that some parents are unable to watch their children play, because the tennis team must always play out of town. She also said that the ability to host tournaments in Lockhart will bring both visitors and revenue to the District.

Trustee Brenda Spillmann, who voted in favor of the proposal, expressed concern that this might not be the right time to move forward with construction, reminding the other Trustees that as the drought continues, and then is relieved, the ground will continue to shift, contract and expand, and possibly damage the newly-poured tennis courts.

Board Vice President Susan Brooks also voted in favor, but had concerns of her own.

“I know that this is something that needs to be done,” she said. “But with as many needs as we have for capital improvements, in as many facilities that need work – I just don’t know that the tennis courts are the highest priority we have.”

The plan of action for the tennis courts is to either abandon damaged court and add four new courts or replace the damaged court and add three new courts.

Still, there was some public confusion about the Board’s intention, as the approved motion required requests for proposal for “six courts for home play and eight courts for tournament play.” Some parents and players noted it sounded as though the Board’s intention was to build 14 courts.

However, sources inside the District said Board President Timoteo “Tim” Juarez’s intent was clear, to seek bids on both projects, and then determine which would be the most beneficial and cost effective – resulting in a total number of either six courts, or eight courts.

In addition to budget concerns, there is also a time constraint that must be taken into consideration.

There will be an estimated seven months that the courts will be out of commission, so timing is critical or students will be unable to practice for upcoming games.

In other news, disappointed father Rick Womble approached the board to discuss a situation in which a student was physically assaulted during an extracurricular activity. Womble said he blames those in the elected seats, claiming that “self-serving” decisions have created an environment in which teachers are diminished and unable to carry out their duties or resources.

In brief news:

The Trustees convened in a series of Executive Sessions, lasting nearly three hours, to discuss “An employee matter,” “Issues related to Student Discipline and Student Behavior” and to perform a formative evaluation of Superintendent Dr. Jose Parra. The Trustees did not take action on these matters, and did not elaborate on the situations being discussed.

They unanimously approved a total tax rate of for $1.1882 per $100 of valuation for the coming fiscal year. This rate, though above the effective tax rate,  is a slight decrease from last year’s rate.

The Board heard and discussed several personnel issues, including the retirement of a member of the District’s finance office, and the employment of the following individuals and positions:

Oscar Garcia – counselor, Lockhart High School;

Joseph Litherland – Physicial Education, Lockhart Junior High;

John McCarthy – Social Studies, Pride High School;

Joseph Alford – Social Studies, Lockhart Junior High;

Jennifer Nelson – Math, Lockhart Junior High; and

Deanne Franco – Counselor, Navarro Elementary.

A candidate was brought forward as an Interim Assistant Principal at Lockhart High School, but the Trustees took no action on the recommendation.

The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees routinely meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month in the Conference Center at Lockhart High School. The meetings are open to the public and webcast on the District’s website, www.lockhartisd.org.

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