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2014-03-06

Howell gives 'State of the District' report

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Pictured: Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Bandera ISD Superintendent Regina Howell welcomed Mayor Don Clark and Sheriff Dan Butts to her coffee to mark Public Schools Week, Tuesday, March 4.


Bandera ISD Superintendent Regina Howell presented a concise "State of the District" to guests at her coffee Tuesday morning, March 4. The coffee was only one of several special activities held throughout the district in celebration of Public Schools Week, March 3-7.
Communication is a key goal for Howell. "We're very positive about our communication with community groups and individuals, it's very open and friendly." Howell especially cited relationships with local law enforcement and numerous nonprofit organizations that cooperate in making the district better for its students.
Howell noted the importance of offering extracurricular activities for students. "These activities are a sign of a thriving school," said Howell, who also said the district has found that its multitude of extracurricular programs, from athletics to academics, acts as a draw in bringing new students into the district.
Those new enrollees are important, said Howell, because the district's average daily attendance is the key factor in school funding. "Since 2002, we've had a steady decrease in enrollment. That affects our funding [ from state and federal sources] negatively," she said. The steady drop in enrollment has forced the district to make some hard, and sometimes unpopular financial decisions, Howell said. However, the board did authorize the use of the district's fund balance for capital improvements over the past few years. "The high school cafeteria expansion, and the refurbishing of the track have been a big part of that," said Howell. There have also been a lot of smaller projects, as well as updating some of "the non-pretty things you don't see, like electrical, plumbing, drainage."
Another main goal of the district is to operate safe schools. "We work with local law enforcement and they have been very helpful," said Howell. The district conducts regular safety drills and education activities with students and staff.
Additional safety measures have been undertaken at each school in the district. "We can't guarantee 100 percent safety," said Howell, "but safety is a daily goal."
Howell concluded her report by thanking those who took the time to attend the event and offering an invitation. "We want people to know that Public Schools Week is not the only time they can visit the schools or get in touch with us. We have an open door policy to answer questions."