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BISD board closes summer break with reports, reports, reports, reports

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The Bandera ISD board of trustees met for their regular monthly meeting on Monday, August 13, in the newly remodeled Bandera High School cafeteria. Following a celebratory open house to dedicate the expanded facility, the board settled down to the business of hearing a series of reports from administrators and other district staff.

High School Principal Gary Bitzkie presented the stats for extra-curricular participation at his school. Athletics makes up 16 of the district's extra-curricular activities, including cross country, volleyball, football, basketball, soccer, track, softball, baseball, power lifting, tennis and golf. The arts provide eight additional extra-curricular areas for student participation. The arts programs include art, dance, cheerleading, choir, band and jazz band, along with speech and drama activities which include one act play and debate.

FFA and ag involve the largest number of participants, with approximately 150 students active in FFA and 335 signed up for various ag classes.

Some of those in the ag classes are the same student taking multiple courses.

Musicians include 120 in band, between 30 to 40 in guitar classes and over 20 in jazz band. Over 60 students are taking choir this year.

Over 250 BHS students take an art class.

Many of the students involved in extra-curricular activities also compete in University Interscholastic League and other contests in their field of study.

Providing a wide range of extra-curricular activities fits in with a number of the school board's goals, including providing "a safe, secure and supportive environment that allows students to be productive, creative and successful."

In another report, the board was informed that the legislature had increased the number of courses the district has to provide as a part of teacher training. The new courses, which include sessions on cyber bullying, concussion training and dealing with severe food allergies, among others, were mandated by the legislature with no appropriation of additional funding to pay for them. "They keep adding and never take any away," said Board President Dr. Barbara Skipper about the Austin lawmakers.

District Business Manager Tish Grill announced that the proposed tax rate for 2012-13 will be one cent less than last year. However, she noted that, following a Chapter 41 review, the district is nearing a baseline in property values that will require the district to send even more money back to the state. [See article, page 1A]

Grill also told the board there is advertising space available on the football scoreboard and on various playing field fences. Any vendors interested in advertising at the high school should contact BISD.

The final report of the evening came from maintenance director Ed Barnes.

Barnes submitted a list of proposed facility projects that he hopes to complete by June 30, 2013. "These projects are part of a three- to five-year plan," explained Superintendent Regina Howell. "We understand that if a crisis comes up, some of these projects may have to be moved off or down the list." The board approved spending $407,996 on the projects.

The projects include such items as parking lot maintenance, replacement of doors and windows, roof repairs, and playground upgrades, for example.

Some of the projects in the long-range plan already completed include a sewer lift station at Alkek, an access road to the well at Alkek, gym soundproofing, and improvements in the high school boys locker room.