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GISD Board Receives Legislative Update

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By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – In one of his last official acts as the Grapeland ISD Superintendent, Gregg Spivey provided the GISD Board of Trustees with several items for their consideration.

Spivey has announced he will retire at the end of this month. Current Grapeland Elementary Principal Don Jackson will take over the district’s top spot on July 1.

The Monday, June 12 meeting was opened by Board President Eddie Childress who yielded the floor to Spivey for his report.

After informing the trustees the next meeting would be held on July 17, the superintendent gave an update on the goings on of the Texas Legislature as it prepares for a special session in July.

“The very first matter is HB (House Bill) 21. It would have helped schools out but it fell through and the blame for that can be placed on Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick because he wanted to attach vouchers for special education students. The House shot that down because they would have none of that,” Spivey said.

He said an attempt at bill reconciliation between the Texas House and Senate failed, but added while the bill is appears to be dead there was a possibility it could be revived when the two legislative houses reconvene.

Spivey said one of the items to be addressed during the special session was a $1,000 pay raise for all teachers. He cautioned, however, “… this is another scheme by Dan Patrick to make the House look bad. His thoughts on this are probably ‘We’re trying to raise teacher salaries by a $1,000 but the House won’t go for it.’ The reason they won’t go for it is this school choice for special needs students – a voucher – that he’s trying to slip in. They may work something out that will be of benefit to our students, but that remains to be seen.”

As he continued, Spivey informed the board he had recently received the 2017 preliminary end-of-course test results.

“”They look pretty good for the most part, he said. “Algebra I (at 73 percent) is not a bad score. In biology, we scored 100 percent. Everyone who took the test passed it. U.S. History also was very good with a 92 percent. In English I, we were low (54 percent) but we kind of anticipated that. That is an area we will have to work on but in English II, we scored an 86 percent,” he said.

During the administrator’s report, Athletic Director Wayne Mahaffey spoke to the board about the UIL Lone Star Cup.

“This is an award given to schools in each classification in the state of Texas (1A – 6A) for the best score. You are given points for band, athletics, one act play, UIL academics and solo sports. “The points are combined and you are also given points as you advance (above the district level). We are currently in the state (in Class 2A). I have checked it every year since I’ve been here and we have never finished in the rankings. That is a pretty good statement for our school and how we are performing as a whole,” the AD said.

“It really speaks well of our district. It is not just based on one thing. It is based on how well-rounded we are in academics, athletics and other UIL events. I think it’s a tremendous thing for our district. I applaud the teachers and administrators,” Childress added.

In other matters brought before the board:

  • The district’s depository contract was awarded to Prosperity Bank.
  • Contracts with Education Service Center VI were approved.
  • Policy Update 108 was approved by the board.
  • The district’s quarterly investment report was approved by the trustees.
  • The date of June 29 was selected for a called board meeting in regard to the selling of bonds.
  • The board approved the sale of property not needed for district operations.
  • George Pierson was selected as a nominee for the Houston County Appraisal District Board of Trustees.
  • A resolution authorizing reimbursement from bond proceeds was approved.

 

Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.