Munoz takes seat on LISD Board
By LPR Staff
After an extensive, private discussion on the evening of Jan. 19, the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees offered a position to Lockhart resident Alfredo Munoz.
Munoz, a longtime resident and habitual participant with such educational events as the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Step Up to Success Program, accept
ed the appointment to sit as the District 4 Trustee, after the elected trustee, Derek Benavides, resigned late last year.
Munoz was sworn in on Wednesday evening and got right down to business during a lengthy meeting on Monday, during which the trustees covered a vast expanse of territory, ending with a lengthy executive session in which they decided to cast a vote of confidence for district’s superintendent, Dr. Jose Parra.
Most notably prior to receiving his evaluation, Parra gave the trustees the “State of the District” for the last educational year. In his review, Parra offered a wealth of statistics which combined to show that the students in Lockhart ISD are performing well – in many cases above regional and state averages.
Across the board, Parra said, Lockhart students have met and exceeded the expectations set forth for them by their teachers, their administrators, and the school board. Those accomplishments include huge gains in testing scores and completion rates, and a steep decline in dropout rates throughout the district.
One of the greatest concerns in past years was the number of Lockhart ISD seniors who were unable to participate in graduation activities because they did not pass their exit-level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests. As recently as 2006, upwards of 50 students began their senior year in fear of being unable to graduate, and in 2007, more than 30 students were unable to walk.
In the Class of 2011, only 15 students still need to pass their tests. Only three members of the Class of 2010 were unable to graduate because of testing scores.
“We need to celebrate and value the students and staff members,” Parra said. “We need to celebrate and value our supportive, involved community.”
As he ended his presentation, Parra urged the board to Honor the Past, celebrate the present and plan for the future.
In other business, dozens of students attended the meeting to pay tribute to the trustees as the District celebrated School Board Appreciation Month. For more than 30 minutes, Trustees were regaled with gifts and presentations, poems and, in one case, videos, as means of thanks from the students and staff of the district for their volunteerism and contribution to education in the community.
The trustees quickly and unanimously voted to approve an out-of-state trip to Florida for the Roaring Lion Band.
Between now and June, band members and Band Boosters have planned a variety of fundraisers to offset the costs of the trip to Disney World, wherein the band will participate in Disney Music Days, and perform at the famed theme park.
A schedule of their performance times should be available in the spring, according to Head Band Director Scott Taube.
The board also had extensive discussion about a notion brought forward by Trustees Juan Alvarez and Tom Guyton. The pair said they hoped to help the board build cohesiveness in the community by inviting local clergy to perform the invocation at the beginning of each meeting, a duty which is currently assigned to Parra.
Trustee Brenda Spillman expressed concern about the legal “powder-keg” the notion might open for the district, citing worries about how to fairly choose and schedule such guests. She also said she feared such an action might open the board to lawsuits from non-Christian groups who might feel they were underrepresented.
While Guyton suggested that selection criteria could be established and adhered to, Alvarez noted a need to discuss the matter with the district’s attorney.
Trustee Chip Pittman chimed into the conversation to express his distaste for the idea of spending taxpayer dollars on attorney’s fees to “fix something that isn’t broken.”
Eventually, after a few moments of heated debate, Alvarez, who asked the item be placed on the agenda, withdrew the idea.
In brief news:
The Board heard presentations from three law firms interested in providing services related to the upcoming redistricting process, which will be a likely result of the 2010 Census. After some discussion, the Board chose to award the contract to the Austin firm of Walsh Anderson, who performed redistricting services for LISD in 2000.
They approved the tax sale of three properties within the district.
The Trustees offered Parra a one-year contract extension, securing his service in the district until 2013.
The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees routinely meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Conference Center of Lockhart High School. The meetings are broadcast via webstream at www.lockhartisd.org, and are rebroadcast on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Saturdays.