LISD Board eyes closed-campus lunch at LHS
By LPR Staff
After months of consideration last year as to whether to allow seniors to leave the Lockhart High School campus for lunch, the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees revisited the issue during their Monday evening meeting.
Initially, LHS principal Larry Ramirez asked the board to open the campus for lunch for all students to eas
e the enforcement burden on his staff.
“We are not 100 percent successful in making sure that only seniors leave campus for lunch, but we are spending a lot of time and taxpayer money to try,” Ramirez said. “We also spend a lot of time working with the kids that do leave campus.”
According to a memo Ramirez submitted to the board, he estimates that his staff spends about 22 man-hours each week trying to enforce the partially-closed campus restrictions.
“I have no data that says whether we should open the campus or close it,” Ramirez said. “And it doesn”t really matter to me either way, but it needs to be one way or the other.”
Most board members noted that the issues that led to the partial closing of the campus during lunchtime would resurface if the campus was re-opened for lunch.
“There are a lot of kids that don”t have any way to get somewhere and they just started drifting into the neighborhoods [surrounding the campus],” said Board President John Flores. “When the residents asked the students to leave, they started finding their homes and property vandalized.”
Though most of the board members gave vocal support to closing the campus completely for lunch, they also expressed concern that the community should be given the opportunity to have input in the decision.
“We”re here to be representatives of the voters,” said Trustee Timoteo “Tim” Juarez, Jr. “We may think that we are acting in the best interest of the students, but the parents might have another idea of what is in their best interest, and we should give them the chance to tell us what they think.”
Trustee Dennis Placke suggested that Ramirez organize public meetings to discuss the issue before the board acts.
Ramirez agreed to organize and announce meetings in compliance with the request, and the board will revisit the issue during their April meeting.
In other board business:
The Lockhart Kiwanis Club donated a commemorative bench to LISD in honor of long-time Kiwanian and Lockhart sports fan Louis Mohle, Jr. Mohle, an avid high school sports fan, passed away in February. The bench in his honor will be installed beneath a shade tree at the LHS Walking Track on Medina Street.
“Dad would have liked the shade,” joked Mohle”s son, LISD Trustee Clint Mohle.
The Kiwanis Club plans to announce a date for the installation and dedication of the bench in the near future.
The board heard the mid-year report from the Communities in Schools program.
Program Coordinators from the junior high, freshman campus and high school explained the nature of services they provide to at-risk children, including counseling, parenting classes and after-school activities.
According to figures presented by the coordinators, more than 79 percent of the students involved with the Communities in Schools program in the fall semester have already begun to show improvement in grades, attendance and discipline.
Because the district has missed out on the opportunity to hire bilingual teachers in the past, the board agreed to allow the Human Resources Director to offer contracts at job fairs. Although the contracts will still have to be approved by the board, the contracts will be equivalent to a commitment from the teachers to work for the district. Superintendent of Human Resources Theresa Ramirez suggested to the board that offering contracts in this way might stop qualified bilingual candidates from continuing to look for work after acquiring provisional contracts with LISD.
In brief board news:
The board honored three educators who were named in the 2006 edition of “Who”s Who Among American Teachers.”
Administrators presented a status report on the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget. The budget has been a source of contention between board members and administrators because of the significant cuts that need to be made to offer the district a balanced budget for the next fiscal year. Hall indicated that progress is being made toward significant cuts to the budget, but more work is still needed to offset a nearly $1.2 million deficit.
The board extended contracts for several district employees for periods of one and two years.
The board will meet early on Monday, May 22 to canvass the vote from the May 13 election.
Trustee Carl Ohlendorf volunteered to serve on the Caldwell County Appraisal District”s building and relocation committee. The appraisal district currently rents office space from LISD, but has been examining the possibility of relocating or building a new office in the near future.
The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees meets the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockhart High School Conference Center.