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School tax rate will not change

by Dolores Hamilton
At their meeting Thursday night, Iowa Park school trustees discussed the proposed budget and tax rate for 2013 and adopted changes to the student handbook, which will, for the first time, allow students to use their personal electronic devices for specific classroom work.

During a discussion on the budget, Sharon Godwin, the school’s business manager, presented a preliminary budget with total revenues of $15,446,006 and expenditures of $15,271,653, leaving a surplus of $174,353.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Board President Steve Fairchild. “This will be my ninth year (on the board) coming up and I’ve not seen a preliminary budget that’s positive in a long time.”

School/City Tax Collector Jonathan Clubb recommended staying with a tax rate of $1.28 per $100 property valuation, the same as last year. The board agreed and set Aug. 27 as the date for their meeting to adopt the budget and set the tax rate.

A new policy, “Bring Your Own Device,” referred to as BYOD, was added to the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct.

According to the student handbook, Device means a privately owned wireless and/or portable electronic piece of equipment that includes laptops, notebooks, tablets/slates, iPod Touches, e-Readers, cell and smart phones.

Starting with this school year, Iowa Park CISD schools will allow students to use privately owned electronic devices to access the IPCISD wireless network. The students will be allowed to bring their own technology devices to use at specified times during the school day.

Use of devices to enhance learning in the classroom will be pursued when deemed appropriate at individual teacher discretion. With teacher approval, students may use their devices in the classroom to access and save information form the Internet, collaborate with other learners, and utilize the productivity tools available to them.

Guidelines for use of the electronic devices may be found in the Student Handbooks.

The electronic devices will be used at the high school, middle school, and limited use at Bradford Elementary. Iowa Park HIgh School Principal Tim Bartram said use of the devices would be under the control of teachers in the classroom. When asked how they would handle students who don’t have a device, he said they hoped to have some in the school library that could be checked out, or the students could pair up in teams where they share. Darla Biddy, principal at the middle school, said they would follow a similar plan at that campus.

Some of the changes to the dress code include: Pants must not have tears, frays or holes; male students must wear socks at all times; female students are not permitted to wear dresses or blouses with spaghetti straps, and no stretch or yoga pants will be worn.

New personnel hired for 2013-2014 include: Stephen Jones, high school math; Kellie Jo Scott, high school theater art; Diane Reese, high school attendance clerk; Allison Goins, middle school special education; Kayla Lalumia, middle school special education; and Krystal Romeo, Bradford special education.
The resignations of Anna Spivey, high school theater art, and Jessica Crosby, high school attendance clerk, were accepted.

A quote of $47,120 from J.J. Milhollon for the batting cage at the high school athletic complex was accepted. Also approved were food service bids from Bimbo Bakeries USA (Mrs. Bairds), Blue Bell Creameries, and Oak Farms Dairy.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2013, the trustees approved adjusting the current Master’s Degree stipend to $2,500 for any teacher, counselor, nurse, or librarian with an advanced degree in accordance with Administrative Policy.

Iowa Park CISD employees hired before Sept. 1, 2013 and who maintain continuous employment with the district will receive a stipend of $5,000 if they have a current Master’s Degree or if they attain their Master’s Degree before Sept. 1, 2014.

Trustees conducted the final reading of TASB Policy Update 97, and it was approved.

Architect Jackie Lebow and John Spillers, construction manager, reported on progress of the work at the stadium and other school facilities. Lebow said work was moving along as well as could be expected with the rain. Spillers voiced concern about people walking through the construction area at the stadium and being injured. A suggestion was made to have a designated area for people to gather in order to observe the progress in construction.

The school’s technology director Mike Parchman showed a video demonstrating the ability of new security cameras that have been installed on each campus.