Seen and Heard at the August School Board Meeting

Seen and Heard at the August 2019 School Board Meeting
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August 19, 2019 -- The Amarillo ISD School Board started the August 19 meeting by welcoming two new trustees, Kayla Mendez and David Nance, to the Board table.  The Board appointed Ms. Mendez, who is an engineer at Pantex, to fill the vacancy left by the resignation in May of Trustee John Ben Blanchard, and they appointed Mr. Nance, president of Denman Building Products, to the vacancy left by the resignation of Trustee Renee McCown in June.  Ms. Mendez and Mr. Nance took the Oath of Office on Aug. 16. Both these Board positions are unexpired terms and will be up for election in May 2021.

The Board heard a presentation from Shawn Kennedy, Caprock High School art teacher, who talked about how his students cultivate the arts at Caprock and also in the larger community.
  Mr. Kennedy showed pictures of his students’ work at the SnackPak 4 Kids facility, Hodgetown executive offices, and the Hope Garden in the San Jacinto neighborhood.

Trustees heard several comments from parents in favor of installing artificial turf on all high school baseball and softball fields.
 Superintendent Loomis gave an informational report to the Board regarding the benefits, the possible challenges and the costs of installing turf, and Mr. Loomis and Athletic Director Brad Thiessen answered questions from the Board.

The Board approved a contract to hire off-duty, uniformed law enforcement personnel to provide additional security for schools and District activities and events.  The off-duty officers will be in addition to police liaison officers already assigned to AISD schools.  Trustees also adopted a resolution providing for a $125 stipend to be given to each AISD teacher, counselor, nurse and librarian to purchase student supplies.  “We know teachers and other staff often spend their personal money, without reimbursement, to get their classrooms, libraries and offices ready for the new school year,” said Superintendent Loomis.  “This is a way to thank them for going above and beyond their job responsibilities to always make sure our kids have what they need to be successful.”

The Board also adopted an order for the 2019 tax rate, setting the rate at $1.169 per $100 of property valuation, compared to $1.239 last year.  The lower rate is due to state-mandated property tax compression and means the owner of a home valued at $100,000 will pay $876.75 in school taxes for 2019, compared to $929.25 in 2018.

Finally, trustees approved a revised Student Code of Conduct that incorporates changes in law from the 86th Legislature, and they approved the installation of a HAWK red-light system, providing a protected crosswalk from the main Caprock High School campus across 34th St. to the new Caprock sports complex and parking lot.  The Board also awarded a contract to Wiley Hicks, Jr. Inc. for the bond construction project at Caprock and Tradewind Elementary School.

The Board acknowledged gifts and donations totaling $22,061.75, given to various schools this month from Central Church of Christ, Natalie Archer, Kenneth Worsham and J.L. Payne.

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