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School Board considers new direction new election plan

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School Board considers new direction new election plan
By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

Voting in school board and municipal elections might be easier for Lockhart residents during the May 2005 election cycle.

During their meeting on Monday, the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees heard a proposal that would allow for a merger

of City of Lockhart and LISD ballots within certain voting districts.

Under the current districting system, LISD districts do not mirror the city”s districts. This system means that some voters fall within one city district and a different school board district. Most voters have to go to separate locations to cast ballots in city and school board elections.

Under the current plan, ballots and polling places for municipal and school district elections would be merged. The proposed plan would allow for “one-stop shopping,” meaning that both municipal and city elections would be on the same ballot. Those municipal districts that contain multiple LISD districts would have a variety of ballots, designed so that the election judges could match voters with their ballots by their street address.

In addition to alleviating the need for voters to go to multiple election sites, the new plan would allow for a reduction in costs to both the city and the district, as elections will require fewer polling places, fewer judges and fewer administrators.

Connie Ortiz, the City Secretary spoke briefly about the plan during the presentation, indicating that the new plan will be beneficial for both the city and the district.

The Lockhart City Council will hear the proposal during their next regular meeting on Nov. 2, and a decision as to whether to introduce the cooperative system should be made public in the near future.

Citizens expressed concerns to the board regarding the availability of school nurses. One citizen claimed that her daughter, who takes two prescribed medications, had to wait more than an hour for her medicine because the Lockhart High School nurse was unavailable.

Public concern was fueled by the idea that the district is not adequately paying their nurses, making turnover unacceptably high.

According to LHS principal Charles Red, the nurse did tender her resignation to accept a better-paying job, but indicated that a replacement should be presented to the board for approval at the next meeting. Red denied the allegation that the high school has gone through three nurses during the current school year.

Because there was no agenda item allowing the board to take action with regard to the nurse shortage, they could not offer response or explanation regarding the nursing situation. However, board member Andy Govea requested that the item be added to next month”s agenda so the board can assess the situation.

Citizens expressed equal concern about the Disciplinary Alternative Education (Delta) Program. Among other concerns, the board heard comments regarding the lack of maintenance, the lack of consistent schoolwork submission from mainstream teachers and a lack of sufficient personnel to effectively execute the Delta program. The board approved three new educator positions to be filled in the Delta program.

The board was asked to approve a bid for construction of a new parking lot at Navarro Elementary School.

When the project was introduced to the board, it was estimated to cost just over $20,000 to complete. During Monday”s meeting, the board heard a bid that was nearly three times the originally projected cost. The proposed parking lot included a 108-foot driveway leading to 30 additional parking spaces to be built facing Medina Street between Navarro Elementary and the LHS Softball Fields. The project as proposed would have cost more than $65,000 to complete.

The board rejected the bid and asked the contractor to go back to the drawing board to prepare different and less-costly options.

In other board business:

The board presented a well-deserved award to the Lockhart High School Roaring Lion Band in honor of he group”s award-winning performances at two separate marching contests this fall. Band director Roxanne Vickers and several members of the Roaring Lion Band were on hand to accept the award.

They recognized Lockhart Junior High School for achieving a “Recognized” status from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The “Recognized” status is awarded only to schools in which 70 percent of the students pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. LISD”s school ratings were announced by the TEA last month.

The board, along with Superintendent John Hall, bid a fond farewell to their secretary Judy Cathey. Cathey, who was given a promotion last month, will remain employed with the district, but will no longer work directly under Hall or the board.

In brief board news, construction on Bluebonnet Elementary is 55 percent complete.

Interest rates on the district”s investment funds are up nearly half of a percent.

Three district employees resigned, and the board approved employment for 23 new employees, including 20 substitute teachers.

The board renewed two contracts between Community Action, Inc., and LISD. The contracts will allow a continued, cooperative effort between LISD and Community Action, Inc., to provide English as a Second Language and family literacy programs through LISD”s Adult Learning Center.

LISD will continue to provide GED testing for Gary Job Corps students through the Adult Learning Center.

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