School to increase police presence
on all campuses
by Dolores Hamilton
Following Spring Break and through the remainder of the school year, the Iowa Park CISD is planning to have a police presence at each of the four campuses.
The decision was made by the school board Thursday following a discussion on school safety and security. Iowa Park Police Chief Robert Johnson and several of his officers, as well as the school district’s police officer Ray Schultz, were at the meeting to take part in the discussion.
“We have been very progressive here in Iowa Park in approving security and looking at ways to improve school security over the past four or five years,” said Superintendent Steve Moody. “We’re probably ahead of the game. I would say we’re ahead of 70 to 80 percent of school districts in the State of Texas with some of the things we have implemented in the last few years. In light of that, after this last shooting in Florida, we’re having to revisit this.”
With money from the school’s last bond election, several security issues were addressed including new door locks on every door in the district, exterior doors locked, bullet proof glass in exterior doors, a camera system, new hand-held radios for each teacher, and evacuation drills. The school district has employed its own police officer for several years.
Moody said the state is asking the school districts to work with local law enforcement. “Here in Iowa Park we are fortunate to have a great relationship with the local police department - anytime we need anything these guys are here for us.”
Ross Caston, a local fireman/first responder, had spoken to the board earlier. He suggested that the teachers who choose to should be able to carry a weapon, and said there is free training locally for them.
Several female educators at the meeting said they didn’t have the mindset for it, that they were trained to teach. Police Chief Johnson said he is not opposed to arming teachers, but it takes a certain mindset to do that. He added that law enforcement and teachers are trained differently. “The safety of not just the students, but the teachers up there is paramount to us,” Johnson said. “We get there as quickly as we can, but we could use some more help on the campuses.”
Board President Jeff Rhoades suggested making a short term decision and talk about other options in future meetings. The trustees unanimously voted to hire local law enforcement to maintain security at each campus for the remainder of the school year.
In other business, the board voted to replace the 20-year-old lighting at the baseball and softball fields. “We have known that we have been under lit out there, we’re under what is recommended for a high school baseball field,” said Moody. “The need is there for us to replace these lights.” He said purchase of the lights would qualify under the maintenance not acquired by the board last year. The board voted to authorize signing a contract with Tech Line for lighting at the baseball and softball fields not to exceed $280,000.
Rental fees for the baseball and softball fields for regular game and playoff games were approved.
The bid by Chip Wood Contracting of $54,200 for renovation of the gym locker rooms was accepted.
Architects from the firm that was hired to do the facilities study were at the meeting. They went over their schedule and timeline that includes assessment of facilities, long range facility planning, and bond planning among others. They will start the facility assessment next week.
The resale bid of $2,850 for property at 12994 Kamay Rd. was accepted.
The state uses minutes instead of number of days to determine how much time students go to school. Moody said Iowa Park schools have enough extra minutes accumulated to make up for the two days students missed school because of weather.
Jodi Schlaud reported on instructional materials allotment certification, and the board members conducted the first reading of Update 10. During his report Moody said school enrollment stands at 1,832, and gave information on Spring Break and board training.
Emily Gravitt was hired as high school volleyball coach and girls P.E./athletics, and the resignation of Erin Rivers, Kidwell special education teacher, was accepted.
Rotary Club’s Students of the Month for February, Andrew Bolf and Alondra Watkins were recognized by the trustees.