OISD enrollment reaches new high

ONALASKA -- During the Onalaska School Board meeting, Superintendent Lynn Redden presented a State of the District power point covering the time frame from the 2006-07 school years to the present term of 2017-18.

District enrollment in 2006-07 was 855 with 482 children in elementary school. In 2011-12 the enrolment topped out at 957 with 554 in elementary classes. There was a significant drop in enrollment ending in 2014-15, when it fell to 895, with 555 in elementary school, showing the loss was primarily at the junior/senior high level.

The three years since that time have all shown increases and as of Oct. 3, the distinct currently has 1,120 students, with 676 at the elementary school.

The expansion and new classrooms, funded by the bond issue approved two years ago, have provided necessary room for the students, with enhanced facilities in all classrooms. The projected growth for the next four terms, through 2021-22, anticipates an enrollment of 534 at the junior/senior high.

The report showed the accountability summary for the elementary school and showed the standard was met for student achievement, student progress and post secondary readiness. The start target for achievement is 60 and the Onalaska Independent School District scored 80. The target for student progress is 32 and OISD’s score is 45. The target for closing performance gaps is 28 with OISD scoring 43; and target for readiness is 12, while OISD scored 32.

The elementary school received “distinction earned” in academic achievement in mathematics, top 25 percent in student progress and in postsecondary readiness. The achievement report for the junior/senior high showed the target for student achievement was 60 with OISD scoring 80; target for progress was 17, while OISD scored 40; the target for closing performance gaps was 30, with OISD scoring 45; and the readiness target was 60, with OISD scoring 81.

Distinction was earned in academic achievement in social studies and in top 25 percent closing performance gaps. The district met the standards in all categories.

A representative from Weaver and Tidwell Tax Advisory, LLC, presented the audits for the year which ended Aug. 31. After a review, the trustees accepted the audit. A copy is available in the business office during regular business hours.

The Ag Issues team presented their programs on Boarder Security during the meeting. They will present this program in many venues as they practice for UIL competition. Under the direction of Adam Graham, this segment of agriculture educations continues to successfully compete in statewide competition.

The board discussed the need for a new irrigation well at the high school. The current older well no longer produces enough water under normal operation for the needs and the addition of a track facility will increase the needs. The board approved having a new well drilled.
The consent agenda was approved, consisting of principal recognition, construction update, enrollment and attendance report, and rescheduling the November board meeting to Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. in the board room at the administration building.

They also approved the minutes of the September meeting, tax report, and quarterly investment report and budget amendments. They accepted bids in foreclosed property presented except for the bid from Teresa Nunez for lot 3, block 16, and section 1, Cedar Point, in the amount of $831.50; which does not meet the minimum percentage of appraised value set by the board.

Workman selected for GISD board seat

mugGOODRICH -- The Goodrich Independent School District’s Board of Trustees appointed a new member and approved the implementation of the Texas Academic Intervention System (TAIS) during its meeting last week.

Heather Workman of Goodrich was appointed by the board during Thursday’s meeting to fill the trustee spot previously held by John Whitehouse. As the mother of three GISD students, Workman expects to bring her dedication to the district in order to better serve the community.

“I have a vision for the students here in our community to be offered the best education just like other districts with a bigger school system.” Workman told the Enterprise. “Both of my boys are dyslexic, so I have a passion to make sure that everybody has a learning opportunity no matter what.”

Workman stated she is looking forward to working alongside the other board members and administration staff in the coming months.

“I was so excited when they appointed me. I want to have the foundation and shared vision with [the board] to be able to work together and conquer things as a team.” said Workman.
Workman is married to Paul, her husband of 12 years. Both are parents to Goodrich elementary students, James and Jacob, and high school junior, Summer.

During the action agenda, the board approved the implementation of the Texas Academic Intervention System (TAIS) with targeted elements for the elementary and middle school campuses. The training system is utilized with districts and campuses that earn a rating of Improvement Required (IR) through the State Accountability System.

Although all three GISD campuses met state standards in 2016, records indicated a drop in performance at the elementary and middle school in spring of this year. Accountability reports for both campuses did not meet enough of the required performance indexes, which include student achievement, student growth, closing-the-gap and college readiness.

Areas of focus during professional development this year will include writing, reading, economically-disadvantaged and ESL. Targeted improvement plans are also being implemented for both campuses.

During business items, the board was presented with an initial proposal from PTI Construction to build a new school playground in exchange for a land property, valued at $22,873, owned by the district. The proposed agreement would include three construction options of Henderson-brand playground equipment. The board is expected to hear a full proposal at next month’s public meeting.

The board approved a waiver during the action agenda for missed days of instruction from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 and a reduction of minimum days of service, due to Hurricane Harvey.
A 2017-2018 budget amendment was also approved, which consisted of $43,383 in additional funds from the 2015 National School Lunch Program.

Sidewalk error’s cost challenged by commissioners

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LIVINGSTON -- Who is going to pay for a $3,200 error made on the sidewalk leading to the new senior citizens’ center in Livingston was an issue this week during the Polk County Commissioners Court meeting.

Convening on Monday instead of their normal Tuesday due to conflict with a state conference, commissioners received a change order request from engineers on the construction of the senior center that sparked the debate.

According to the Chow Bao representing EHRA engineers of Houston, the slope of the center’s main sidewalk from its front entrance to the parking area needed to be changed to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Pct. 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet noted from the beginning of the project it was emphasized that because this facility was for senior citizens, it had to be ADA compliant. He questioned how such a mistake could be made and asked who was responsible for the error.
“Why are the people of Polk County being asked to pay to correct something for whoever made this mistake?” Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy asked.

“Exactly,” Overstreet added.

In the end the commis-sioners tabled the change order request to allow the project’s grant consultant Randy Blanks and Bao to confer with others involved with the project.

Also related to the new senior center, commissioners decided to handle the parking lot striping and building landscaping in-hour rather than to hire outside contractors.

Disaster declaration
In other business Monday, commissioners approved the extension of the county disaster declaration for another 30 days, meaning it will now run through at least Oct. 30.

Having such a declaration gives commissioners added authority to handle road and bridge repairs throughout the county.
The declaration was issued originally by Murphy on Aug. 25 as Hurricane Harvey approached and was confirmed and extended for 30 days by the full commissioners court on Aug. 31.

Other business

During the meeting, commissioners also:
Presented the Texas Historical Commission’s Distinguished Service Award to the Polk County Historical Commission for their work during 2016 to preserve local history.

Authorized Sheriff Kenneth Hammack to advertise for bids for the purchase of six patrol units and two criminal investigation units.

Authorized Pct. 1 Commissioner Bob Willis to advertise for bids for the purchase of four pickup trucks.

Accepted a bid of $65,000 for the concrete headwall construction on the Freeman Road bridge in Precinct 3.

Voted to re-nominate all of the current five members of the Polk Central Appraisal District Board for new terms.

Accepted the annual bids on road materials, tires, oil and gas and pest control.

Approved the sale of properties seized for the non-payment of taxes, including four lots in Precinct 1, a one-acre tract in Precinct 3 and four lots and a 2.664-acre tract in Precinct 4.

‘Bid’ Smith takes oath as Livingston alderman

new aldermanLIVINGSTON -- The Livingston City Council appointed Marion A. “Bid” Smith” as a new alderman during a special called meeting on Tuesday to fill the position left by the incoming city manager.

Smith, a Livingston native and former Polk County Tax Assessor-Collector, was sworn-in as alderman Tuesday to fill a vacancy on the council that was created by the resignation of Bill Wiggins, who will become city manager starting Oct. 1. Smith will serve the remaining term of the position until the next city election in May 2018.

“On behalf of the city council, we are so pleased that Bid has accepted the appointment. Bid understands the meaning of public service and brings his level maturity and responsiveness to which we are accustomed on the council. We look forward to his input and participation in the coming months,” Mayor Clarke Evans said after Tuesday’s meeting.

Smith graduated from Livingston High School as valedictorian and later graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in business. He served as the Polk County Tax Assessor-Collector for 20 years, retiring from that position in 2012. Smith is married to Grace, his wife of 36 years, and is an active member of the Livingston Lions Club.

“I would like to thank the Livingston City Council, mayor and city manager for giving me the opportunity to serve as interim city council member,” Smith said. “I will give you the best of my ability in order to serve all of the citizens of Livingston in a fair and responsible manner. I am proud to say that I have been a lifelong citizen of the city and look forward to serving on the council to keep our city safe, progressive and stable.”

LISD board examines enrollment fraud issue

LIVINGSTON -- The Livingston Independent School District’s Board of Trustees was presented with a report on enrollment fraud and approved changes to its dual credit program during its September meeting.

LISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins presented the district’s Enrollment Fraud and FDA Policy. Administrators have recently met to discuss the digital vision in student learning from the student aspect, personnel aspect and ancillary aspect.

That vision includes the possibility of using digital forms for the registration process. One of the advantages is the ability to track the forms. The mobility rate of students transferring in and out of LISD students is near 20 percent.

“We have students wanting to come into the district that are not residents. According to policy, students must meet one of several criteria under FDA (local) before they are admitted or allowed to stay in LISD. They must have resident parents, be grandfathered in as an approved transfer, must be classified as homeless, or resident minors living apart. If the student does not live in the district the transfer policy is the only way to attend LISD,” Hawkins said.

“Transfer status is dictated by capacity which is a factor for enrollment.” Hawkins added. “Capacity may be classified as classroom availability but can also apply to personnel available to teach classes. The district has a clear policy and as a district, we will follow that policy to ensure that the resources by the taxpayers of LISD are directed appropriately. Those that break policy are subject to fines and penalties accordingly.”

During admin reports, a short video introducing Advancement Via Individual Development (AVID) was presented. The program is currently being utilized by the district and is designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills.

LISD Athletic Director Brian Broussard provided information on UIL junior high baseball and softball programs during the fall season. UIL allows 12 games and two tournaments a year. The closest schools currently participating in this program include Lufkin (6A) and smaller schools like Onalaska (3A.) Budgeting would have to be considered for equipment, travel expenses and coaches. Each coach currently employed at Livingston Junior High School instructs three different sports.

LISD Chief Curriculum Officer Janan Moore gave a curriculum update and presented the beginning-of-the-year report on the SRA (Science Research Associates) Reading Mastery program for 2nd through 5th grades. The program is used at each of the three elementary campuses and the intermediate school.

“There is a loss of retention over the summer so principals have assessed students and rearranged the groups where they can receive the biggest benefit of the program,” Moore said. “Corrective reading is implemented in the third grade to help students with reading difficulties move up to the proper grade level. It focuses on helping students with reading skill deficits and aides with intervention.”

Teachers report SRA results every five weeks, at minimum. Principals review SRA data once a week and regroup students with like skills. Outside tutors are brought in to help with the interventions.

“We have chosen Lead 4ward to address interventions and teaching strategies. District assessments will be more defined in scope and sequence. They are now based on units that need to be covered and will allow unity with teachers,” said Moore.

Changes to the LISD Dual Credit Plan in conjunction with EIC were approved by the board during the action agenda. The changes would allow students in the Class of 2022 to increase enrollment from one to two courses of dual credit during their freshman year. The plan is the final piece that would allow students to earn 60 college hours paid for by the district.

“We have a plan in place that will allow the students of our community an opportunity to obtain half of their college coursework by the time they receive their high school diploma. This program has the potential to save the parents of Livingston literally thousands of dollars by cutting the cost of college in half for LISD students,” the superintendent said.

Action items also approved during the meeting included the quarterly investment report, reflecting a $16,020,606 balance as of Aug. 31 with $48,362 of interest earned during June, July and August.

The purchase of a chiller from J.C.I. for $457,800 for the Livingston Junior High campus was approved, along with a budget amendment in the amount of $458,000 to make the purchase.

Items were approved under the consent agenda included minutes from the previous board meeting, the financial statement and payment of bills, personal property donations, purchases over $25,000 and an overnight trip by Livingston FFA.

LISD employees Shea Gibson and Kim Stanley were inducted into the prestigious Apple Corps.

Campus recognition was given to Pine Ridge Elementary for TEA Academic Achievement in ELA Reading, Timber Creek Elementary for TEA top 25 percent in closing performance gaps and top 25 percent in student progress. Livingston Junior High was recognized for TEA Academic Achievement in Science and Mathematics.

Corrigan approves tax rate

Enterprise staff
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CORRIGAN -- A 2017 tax rate of $0.513 per $100 in assessed value was approved last week by the Corrigan City Council during their August meeting.

City Manager Darrian Hudman requested rate to support the city’s new budget. It includes $0.406 to support the maintenance and operation fund and $0.107 for the interest and sinking fund, which covers the city’s annual debt.

Council approved the rate without comment.

Mayor Pro Tem Earlie C. Baldwin chaired the meeting. Mayor Johnna Gibson and Johnnie Mae Brooks were absent.

Hudman, in the absence of Police Chief Darrell Gibson, described the “demo” Tahoe police package vehicle available to the department. They will trade in one of the troublesome Chevrolet Caprices, purchased several years ago when the Ford Ltd. became unavailable. Council approved the lease purchase agreement.

After a brief discussion, council voted to engage Linebarger Coggan Blair and Sampson, LLP for collecting the city’s delinquent taxes. This does not cost the city, as they will receive their payment from the state-mandated penalty funds applied to these accounts. Council then voted to sever their contract with McCreary, Veselka, Bragg and Allen, P.C., which had been their collection agency.

Municipal Court Judge L. Wayne Yankie reported only one alcohol-related case in July, with 48 misdemeanor cases, one city ordinance violation, and 699 traffic violations adjudicated. Yankie reported that he now has a warrant officer working half time and so far, he has been very productive in serving process on wanted subjects. To date, it has cleared up 57 open cases.

The police department made 32 arrests, issued 1,237 citations, responded to 216 calls for service and performed 1,341 building checks. A total of 18 new cases were worked and 26 were forwarded to Polk County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. There also were four accidents with no fatalities.

Council approved the minutes from the July meeting and reviewed the financial reports for that period.

During items from council, councilmember Michael Nobles informed Hudman that even though he had been told the garbage placed in his existing bin would be collected, it has not been done. He was told by the garbage collector they would not pick it up from the container. Hudman said he would get it ironed out with the management at Piney Woods Sanitation.