School board election cancelled
At Thursday evening's meeting of the Sweetwater ISD (Independent School District) Board of Trustees, approval was given to cancel the upcoming school board election as the three candidates were uncontested. The election, which would have been held on Saturday, May 11, would have been for seats for Districts 1, 2 and 5 on the board. As a result, Genevieve Mayes and Becky Jimenez will continue to serve in their respective districts of 1 and 2, while Jennifer Cherry will now serve in District 5. Cherry will be replacing Nancy Johnson on the board, who chose not to run for re-election.Also during the meeting, Policy Update 96, which affects local policies, was approved. The changes on three different aspects were discussed prior to approval.The local DEC policy updated a matter regarding compensation and benefits, specifically leaves and absences. Ten days are given to an employee, evenly split by the state and district, but the updated policy clarified that the days given by the state cannot be taken away.The local FEB policy now states that, for attendance accounting, the second hour of educational learning will now determine a student's absence. Also, the local EFAA policy dealt with the selection and adoption of instructional materials, in that a team should be formed to make the selection. For SISD, the textbook and instructional materials committee is made up of Kathy Smartt-Asst. Superintendent, Janell Jones-Coordinator of District Testing and Special Programs, Sue Schlueter-Technology Director, Mike Marlett-Director of Educational Technology, Jeff Withrow-Sweetwater Middle School (SMS) principal and Larry Hopple-SMS teacher.In other matters dealing with instructional materials, approval was given to the Textbook and Instructional Materials certification. Since textbooks are becoming a thing of the past, only around $4,500 was spent in the previous two-year allotment. C-Scope is the curriculum used by SISD, but will now be monitored more closely by the state to ensure parent transparency.This action comes after concerns were raised by some parents in Texas, which caught the attention of some state lawmakers. However, Sweetwater ISD superintendent Terry Pittman praised the C-Scope curriculum, as it has helped improve test scores across the district.Furthermore, approval was given toward a class size waiver, which the district applied for as a result of growth in the elementary grade levels. The state approved the waiver and next year, teachers will be added in order to accommodate the growth.Additionally, the board approved the Optional Flex Year Plan (OFYP) Waiver. Nine days have been designated as "flex days" for the next year, with each campus using them in various ways or opting out of the program.The consent agenda was also approved, which consisted of the minutes of the February 18, 2013 meeting, the investment statement and the three delinquent tax lot bids--all of which met the minimum requirements, along with the February 2013 financial statement and bills.