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Board cancels election, changes school calendar, among other serious business

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April 14, 2011 - The Leonard ISD Board of Trustees met on Monday, April 11, to handle an agenda full of big business for the district, which set a new enrollment record this week with 918 students. The longer than usual meeting included handling personnel contracts, hearing and seeing construction updates, adopting a school calendar for the 2011-12 school year, revising the school calendar for the current year, offering an Early Resignation Incentive program, and voting to purchase two school buses.

Following the approval of consent items from previous meetings, the members voted to cancel the May 14 election. The election was called for two seats that were up for another two-year term, and only two people - the same two that currently occupy them - applied for those positions. Incumbents Bill Watson and Buster Sudderth filed for re-election and no others filed to oppose them, so they retain their seats.

The 2010-11 school calendar was revised to show April 22 (Good Friday) and May 6 to be bad weather make-up days with students on all campuses being in class on those days. The Tier I students will now attend until Monday, May 23. The Memorial Day holiday has been reinstated and the last day of school will be June 3, with high school graduation that night and junior high graduation on May 31.

On behalf of the Calendar Committee, Elementary Principal Brad Maxwell presented the 2011-12 school calendar for approval. The calendar shows school convening on Aug. 22 for students, with teachers having five staff development days before the students arrive. Students and teachers will have a three-day holiday for Thanksgiving, two weeks off for Christmas and Spring Break will be March 12-16. Tier I students will dismiss on May 18 and Tier II on June 1. The only other extended time off would be the weekend of Easter where Good Friday, April 6, 2012, is established as a Student/Teacher Holiday and Monday, April 9, 2012, will be a bad weather make-up day. So the weekend could essentially be a four-day, unless that Monday must be used to make up days missed due to inclement weather.

The next act of business was the purchase of two 71-passenger Blue Bird school buses and discussed future use of cameras on all LISD buses for safety reasons

The district voted to offer an Early Resignation Notice Incentive for the 2010-11 school year. The first ten LISD employees who have worked 20 or more years for the district who offers a letter of resignation in a timely manner, along with the application for the incentive program to the Superintendent on or before 3 p.m. on May 13, 2011, will be eligible to receive a $10,000, minus applicable taxes, lump sum payment. There are currently over 15 employees of LISD who qualify for the incentive, but the motion was for the first ten who applied and had completed all the requirements.

Dwain Campbell gave a visual construction report, taking trustees and guests on a tour to show several improvements within the district. The improvements include the following: the junior high and elementary roofs have been completed; a new freezer for the elementary school cafeteria is now complete and will be connected to the cafeteria with a breezeway this summer; four A/C units on the intermediate school have been replaced, and three more are left; a storage area for the band hall is nearing completion; the bus barn now has a four-stall parking area; new restrooms at the football field are nearing completion and are arranged in such a way that students will not be able to hide behind the building; the intermediate school has had new floors installed over Christmas break; and the high school library now has all brand new Mac Computers, desktops and laptops. Campbell also announced he had taken advantage of a program offered by Case Tractors and acquired a 52-horse power tractor for the school district, at no cost to the district. The district had to agree to use it for less than 250 hours during the year and at the end of the year the district would buy the piece of equipment or would trade it back to Case for another model.

The trustees and guests were also exposed to the ENO whiteboard system in the intermediate school and the Engage system which works with a pull down screen in the classroom and a wireless writing tablet. Principal Brandi Savage showed off the advantages and disadvantages of each system. There was some discussion of End of Course exams and how the school district would be responsible for providing the bandwidth for every student to test at the same time. The final consensus was End of Course testing on computers would be a long way off because of the cost prohibitions.

In other personnel business the board voted to pay exempt and non-exempt employees for the bad weather days they missed due to ice and snow, and also voted to rehire the following employees: Annie Alexander, Tammy Barnes, Gwen Boyer, Tany Brockus, Amber Dameron, Kacy Garner, Bethani Knight, Kristi Malone, Kacie Maxwell, Andrea Scoggins, Jennifer Scoggins, Joyce Scott, Sandra Sims, Karla Walker, Sheri Watson, Laura Westbrook, Judy Williams, Kristi Wortham, Nancy Zachary, Judith Barker, Alichia Brackett, Donna Branch, Brenda Daugherty, Jennifer Lyday, Sandy Mahler, Susan Perkins, Sherie Phillips, Terie Sutton, Jason Achimon, Melinda Brooks, Jourdan Clough, Ava Jean Craton, Debbie Gauntt, Brody Lipsey, Timothy Phifer, Mark Scoggins, Michele Scoggins, Matt Stidham, Jessica Stovall, Traci Ward, Kacie Weaver, Angela Williamson, Amanda Workman, Greg Connelly, Alice Dills, Mike Dills, James Garner, Arthur Green, Marilynn Henderson, Jennifer Herod, Terri King, Pam Mc Carley, Amanda Meares, Richard Miller, Matt Moyer, Dru Murray, Kyle Phifer, Terry Phifer, Karla Pohl, Kenny Roberts, Jeff Smith, Jennifer Stidham, Mike Williamson, and Brenda Wrenn. The board further accepted the resignations of Lee Ann Lyday and Gena Dunfee and voted to end Keely Koppold's contract.

[Editor's Note: The Leonard City Council is also set to vote on cancelling the municipal election at Tuesday night's meeting for similar reasons as the school board had. Though the decision was not officially made at press time, it is likely that no election will be held on May 14. See next week's issue for full story.]

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