Gainesville Independent School District honored its Special Olympics team members during this week' school board meeting. The students include Ivan Mendez, Morgan Vondrak, Yessenia Martinez, Jonathan Tessnear and Ramon Cruz. Coaches pictured include GISD Special Education director Kim Otto, William Hendricks, Khara Meyers, Randy Firth, Maria Nova and Stella Tessnear. At the regional meet in Arlington April 11-12, students won individual and team medals with some heading for state in May.

It was an action-packed night at the Gainesville Independent School District (GISD) board meeting Monday with much recognition for accomplishments and honors leading off the evening.

Robert  E. Lee fifth grade math teacher DeeDee Godi was named the teacher of the month for April. Godi not only leads her students in their studies, she also is a team leader for the fifth grade teaching group at Lee.

The GISD board also recognized the Special Olympics team and their efforts during their recent competition.

Director of Special Education, Kim Otto said that this is the fourth year for GISD to have a Special Olympics team that began with only nine athletes. It has since grown to a team of 21 members.

“They competed in dashes, relays, walks, and assisted walks. Field events included ball throws, shot put, javelin throws, and long jump,” Otto continued. “We also have athletes participating in the pentathlon.”

“As director of special education, I want to reiterate how proud I am of our athletes and the willingness of our staff and families to share their time with us to support such an important cause,” Otto said. “Special Olympics is not only about the track meets but about making friends and providing fellowship for our students and their families.”

 In other matters, the GISD business office received a 2014 Platinum Leadership Circle Award and was recognized by superintendent Jeffrey Brasher and the Board of Trustees for their outstanding work in achieving this level. The platinum award is the highest award given out by the Texas comptroller to spotlight entities that go above and beyond to provide financial transparency.

 The Texas Transparency Leadership program states, “Financial transparency is an ongoing goal for any government entity. We encourage and applaud local governments across Texas that are stepping up efforts to give taxpayers a transparent look at where their money goes.”

After serving several years as a GISD trustee, Penni Nichols will not be seeking another term as the Place 2 board member.

Board president Will Presson said, “it has been an honor to work with Mrs. Nichols and I appreciate the wisdom she brought to our board.”

The sentiment was seconded by Mike Rosenberg, trustee from Place 1, who said, “We might not have always agreed but I respect her for the passion and fire she had for the students of the GISD. She always had their best interest at heart.”

Dr. Brasher said that enrollment was up by four students across the district.

Regarding a citizen led event concerning the auction of items from the Franklin building which is destined to be torn down, a public walk-through of the building will be held April 23, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  The auction of designated items to be bid on will be held at 1 p.m. April 24, 2014. Abatement of the building will began May 3.

Preferred Technology Solutions out of Richardson was recommended and approved to install the new phone systems for the GISD. The winning bid totaled out at $108,178.20 using Avaya  equipment. The company was approved in a five to two vote.

 Regarding an updated status on construction projects, it was advised that the baseball field concession stand would be finished out with some paint and that the field irrigation system has some spigots replaced that had been too tightly installed.

Inspection approval at the new bus barn is pending but the deadline of April 28 is still the goal for completion.

Depending on interest rate fluctuation, Southwest Securities’ spokesperson Brian Grubbs said that the potential refunding program regarding 2004 and 2006 bonds could result in a cost savings of more than $4 million for the GISD.

“It all depends on what the interest rate does,” Grubbs said. “We will do what ever is necessary to secure the best possible scenario for the GISD.”


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