School trustees takes stand against vouchers

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By Angela Guillory

Linden-Kildare school trustees signed a resolution against vouchers, taxpayer savings grants, tax credits and other mechanisms during their meeting Jan. 11, which they say would reduce Public Education Funding distributed to existing districts.

During the 82nd regular session, the Texas Legislature reduced public education funding by $5.4 billon. The resolution states "public school districts are subject to stringent accountability standards and school choice already exists in the Texas public school system.

"Vouchers, taxpayer savings grants and tax credits eliminate public accountability and do not provide all parents and children with school choice. They have not been proven effective in improving student achievement and closing the achievement gap.

"Diverting public money away from public schools is an inefficient use of scarce resources.

"Vouchers, taxpayer savings grants and tax credits will not guarantee a competitive, educated workforce to meet the demands of employers in Texas.

"L-KCISD board of trustees calls on the Texas Legislature to reject all attempts to divert public dollars away from public schools in the form of vouchers, taxpayer savings grants and tax credits, or any other mechanisms that have the effect of reducing funding to public schools."

All board members were present at this month’s meeting and in favor of this resolution.

A public hearing was held about the Academic Excellence Indicator System district and campus reports pertaining to test scores and other data. There were no comments from the public or discussion of the information. A detailed report is available on the district website at

Trustees approved a resolution to amend the Cass County Special Education Cooperative Shared Services Agreement. The resolution will waive the requirement of the notification date for a school to leave the co-op.

Trustees repealed all previously adopted board policies and adopted those provided by the Texas Association of School Boards Policy Service (TASB), including those in Update 96. TASB will provide updating services to the district’s Localized Policy Manual and bill the district for charges incurred.

A present progress report of board members’ continuing education credits indicated one board member, Robby Johnson, is deficient. Those meeting and/or exceeding the annual requirements of continuing education credits are Randy Fitts, Curtis Harrison Jr., Tammy Palmer, Tracy Spaniol, Kay Stephens and Marlon Sullivan.

A resolution was passed authorizing the superintendent and business manager to negotiate and execute any and all contracts and other documents incidental to establishing an investment account for the purpose of purchasing financial institution investments including certificates of deposits, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts and money market accounts.

This document was required by the financial institution even though the authority was already granted by board policy.

A security audit report for Mae Luster Stephens Junior High School was included in board members’ packets to review but was not discussed. After the meeting, Superintendent Dr. James Cowley said they received the information on Thursday, Feb. 7 and did not have time to review before the meeting. He said it may be discussed at a future date.

The board granted authority to apply for a Low Attendance Waiver for five days in January. Cowley explained numerous students were absent due to the flu or stomach virus that was going around. The district had 108 students absent one day when attendance was taken. He said more students left before the end of the day. On Jan. 22, 129 students were absent district-wide with 118 the following day. Low attendance days were Jan. 18, 22, 23, 24 and 25.

In the superintendent’s report, Cowley noted that enrollment is down to 787 from a high of 801.

In regard to the administrative reports provided to the board, Marlon Sullivan, trustee, took a moment to express his appreciation for the time taken to produce and include them in the board agenda book. He noted this was the part of the agenda he most enjoyed. President Kay Stephens echoed the sentiment for all board members.

The March meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 18, since the regular date would fall during spring break.

Cowley said teacher contracts will not be considered in March, but will be handled in May. Due to a change in state law the district now has the option of a 10-day notice as opposed to the previous 45 days before the last day of instruction to renew contracts or not.

After an executive session was held to discuss personnel and administrative contracts, trustees reconvened and agreed to extend all administrative contracts by one year before adjourning.

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