|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
Staff cuts approved by TISD board
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Twenty-two positions were eliminated and others were reclassified Monday night as the Trinity School Board worked on cutting back expenses for the 2011-2012 school year. Monday’s action was taken because of an expected major cut in state education spending due to the ongoing budget crisis. During the meeting, Superintendent Dave Plymale gave the board a little bit of good news, noting that Trinity’s anticipated loss may not be has high as previously thought. Last week at a special budget workshop, Plymale said the Trinity school system was expected to lose almost $1.1 million in state money next year. However, based on a current Texas Senate proposal now being considered in Austin, that loss may be lowered to between $800,000 and $900,000. “The latest Senate bill calls for an 8 percent reduction in education spending compared to 10 to 12 percent cuts discussed previously,” he said. “Hopefully, they will be able to work something out so they don’t hit school districts anymore that that.” Among the list of positions being eliminated next year are two administrative jobs in the central office – one of which is being reclassified as clerical – as well as one coach, two elementary teachers, one intermediate teacher, two middle school teachers, one teacher shared by the middle and high schools and one high school teacher. In addition, seven paraprofessional and support positions were cut, as were four bus drivers, one part-time cafeteria employee and up to two custodians. In addition to cutting personnel, the board approved eliminating the cross country, golf and tennis athletic programs. Board member Maggie Trevino express he opposition to cutting those programs and ended up voting against the package of staff and programs reductions recommended by Plymale. “We’re in a budget crisis,” Plymale said. “That doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. If the state comes up with more money, we can look at bringing them back in.” There had been some discussion about keeping the three sports but requiring the students who take part in them to pay fees. Plymale said it would be unfair to charge students in those three sports and not the others. “There are schools – particularly those in large, urban areas -- that do charge fees, but they do it across the board for all sports. I don’t think we should do that in Trinity,” he said. Additional staff reductions could be made in the district’s special education programs, but Plymale asked that action there be delayed until newly hired Director of Special Education Marcia Lawton has a chance to evaluate the local program. Lawton began work Monday and is coming to Trinity from DeSoto. Plymale noted she has an extensive background in special education and is the author of a number of articles on the subject that can be viewed at examiner.com. Other spending cuts that were postponed Monday involved the upkeep of the school district’s ground and athletic fields. Plymale is recommending that the school district start performing that work in-house starting next year. He noted the currently contract for upkeep on the athletic fields expires in August and the contract on the school grounds ends in December. He said the district could hire two people to do the work and save about $60,000, not including the cost of purchasing mowers and other equipment needed for grounds maintenance. It was estimated the equipment would cost about $42,000 but Plymale noted it could be purchased out of the current budget. Action on the matter was postponed at Plymale’s request to allow him to do more research. Other business During the meeting, the school board also: • Voted to cancel the May 14 school board election. Because only the two incumbent board members – Dorothy Franklin and L.C. Courtney – filed as candidates, state law allows the board to cancel the election and declare them as the winners. • Received a Campus Intervention Team (CIT) report from Dr. Wes Hickey. Hickey was appointed by the Texas Education Agency to work with Trinity Middle School after that campus’ math scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test fell to “unacceptable” levels. Hickey reported good progress at the campus and said he was optimistic that when the middle school students are tested in the coming weeks, their TAKS results will improve significantly and remove the need for state monitoring. • Received a report from James Rabe, a consultant hired by the district to help improve the math and science scores. Rabe is in the first year of what he said would probably be a three-year program to help create an improved, focuses curriculum and to provide teachers with proven techniques on how best to present information to students. • Received a report from Renette Bledsoe, the Campus Administrative Mentor (CAM) appointed to work with Trinity High School Principal Craig Ruby on improving math scores at the campus. Bledsoe was appointed last fall after test scores at THS fell below federal minimums. She noted that Ruby, who is in his first year as the THS principal, has been working hard through the current year and she also said she is optimistic that the THS math scores will improve this year. • Received a quarterly athletic report from Athletic Director Chuck Langston. • Voted to offer new contracts to teachers for the coming year based on the recommendations of Plymale and the campus principals. • Approved the summer school schedule. Classes will be from June 6-30 from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday through Thursday at Lansberry Elementary. Don Hill was named as the summer school administrator. • Voted to nominate Greg Peak of the Trinity Standard for the Texas Media Honor Roll.