By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Good news for Gainesville Independent School district (GISD) employees as raises were approved at the recent GISD board meeting Monday.
The board unanimously approved a two percent pay raise for staff and nonprofessional employees who have not maxed out their pay scale.
Teachers were also approved for a step increase.
The Texas Education Agency mandates that all schools in Texas pay their teachers at least the minimum salary described in the Texas Education Code. The first step on the salary schedule applies to beginning teachers with no prior teaching experience. As they gain more experience they reach different “steps” for pay. Each district can pay more than the minimum required salaries.
Regarding property appraisals for this year, Doug Smithson of the Cooke County Appraisal District attended the meeting to advise the board on the certified taxable values for this year’s property appraisals.
“The final report should be ready on July 22 but we estimate the appraised values are up over last year’s $873 million total to just under $926 million this year,” Smithson said.
During the meeting the board also discussed the benefits of a recent training known as the “Team of Eight” that was attended by the school board members.
As required by the Texas Education Code, Section 11.159, the board members must participate in a course of training in which they learn concepts of working together as a corporate body to govern and oversee the management of the school district in order to help all students in making academic improvement.
Place 2 board member Penni Nichols identified one of the programs presented at the training known as “Fuel Up to Play 60” founded by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League and approved by the USDA. The program empowers students to take charge of their own lives by making small dietary changes at school to improve health and getting active for at least 60 minutes every day. The program has been shown to make a positive difference in the lives of the kids and to benefit the community.
“I really liked the concept and would like to look further at possibly including this in the GISD programs in the future,” Nichols said.
Discussing summer maintenance issues in the district Superintendent Jeffrey Brasher updated the board members on the summer projects at the various GISD schools.
Brasher said that middle school projects had been completed including a new walkway, improvements at Chalmers Elementary School were complete, the baseball field project was still on schedule pending unforeseen weather delays, the Edison Elementary School playground equipment had been ordered and that the pea gravel at the Edison school was being removed as planned.
Other policy matters during the meeting include the unanimous approval of CNA Transportation Management to handle local student transportation, the continuance of employment requirements and restrictions based on criminal history and credit reports and the handling of personnel matters regarding substitutes, temporary and part-time positions.
Regarding new regulations involving early graduation and the honors program, it was approved that this fall’s sophomore class would begin the new class ranking system where by the valedictorian and salutatorian should only be eligible for students that have been continually enrolled in the district high school for the four semesters immediately preceding graduation and they must have completed the recommended program or the Advanced-Distinguished Achievement program for graduation.
Also the district shall recognize honor graduates as those who has been continuously enrolled in the district high school for two semesters immediately preceding graduation and completed either the Recommended or Advanced Distinguished Achievement Program with a weighted grade point average of 3.9 or above.
This year’s current juniors and seniors would still fall under the old system.
Consideration of the asbestos abatement and demolition of the Franklin building has been put on hold until the September board meeting for further investigation and determination of handling procedures and the potential sale of the property.
New educators currently hired for the upcoming school year include the following: Shawna Koerner, Max Andrews, Lori Blalock for Chalmers Elementary; Marivel Valledares, Sarah Shelley, Whitney Goodman and Barbara Morgan for Lee Intermediate; Cassie Newton, Amber Dobbins, Matthew Dittman, Brandon Covington and Benjamin Bordlemay for Gainesville Middle School; Ridwan Williams for Gainesville High School; Sonya Markle for Gainesville Middle and High School.
Janice Mauldin was also approved by the board for the position of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Mauldlin has a Bachelor of Science from Texas Tech University, a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.