WISD trustees to wrestle with decision

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Since January was School Board Recognition Month, the trustees, in recognition for their work, were given gift baskets at the Thursday, Jan. 25, meeting. Superintendent Dr. Chris Moran interviewed elementary students for a video presentation about the students’ thoughts on what a board member looks like, how old they are and what they do.

Five high school students addressed the WISD board during open forum. Each of the students, Jack Pannagl, Tala Arthur, Aaron Blake, Josh Green and Bradley Green, are members of the wrestling club and thanked the board for the opportunity to participate.

Wrestling opened as a club this year for the first time and the wrestlers expressed their thanks for the opportunity to compete in wrestling and requested the district continue wrestling, but as a University Interscholastic League (UIL) sport.

“I am delighted to say our wrestlers have great success and growth throughout the season,” Bradley Green reported. “We’ve competed at three tournaments and have had wrestlers place in each tournament. Our female teammates have even placed first and second in varsity competition. We will gain even more interest as a UIL sport as many have verbally committed they would join if it became a UIL sport.”

“We, the wrestling team, wish the board will continue wrestling at WHS and turn it into a UIL sport that will be opened up to future students and to students that want to try something new,” Blake stated.

The most significant difference between a club and a UIL sport is the source of funding. Clubs support themselves whereas UIL sports receive school funding. There is a process, however, for clubs to be considered for UIL status. That process includes evaluations of the interest level and need, the cost associated with adding it and the impact it will have on the school budget, according to Moran.

The 2016-2017 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) was presented. It shows the district’s scores on a number of measures comparative to Region 7 and statewide results. Overall, students in WISD performed better than those in Region 7 or the state as a whole, including on and the ACT, originally American College Testing, and Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

The report also specifies the percentage of teachers with differing years of experience compared to those state-wide. The percentage of teachers within WISD having 20 plus years experience stands at 18.8 percent. State-wide, the percentage is only 15.5 percent. Teachers with 11-20 years of experience are 35.9 percent compared to 27.8 percent across the state. Teachers within the district who have 6-10 years of teaching experience are at 25.1 percent compared to the state’s 20.9 percent.

Additionally, there are no teachers within WISD who do not hold a bachelors or higher degree.

Yet the same report shows that the average teacher salary, by years of experience, falls short of the state average. Depending on the years of experience, teachers in WISD receive roughly 89 – 92 percent of their counterparts state-wide, yet WISD has only a 13.6 percent turnover rate compared to the 16.4 percent state-wide.

Another construction update was given with a June 2018 given as a possible completion date for the new Brown Elementary campus.

A report on new technology, virtual desktops, was presented. The report explained how the technology system would allow the Technology Department to assist campuses from their office without having to send a technician to each individual machine.

The board approved the financial audit, the high school exemption policy and the guaranteed maximum price for stage three of the bond construction project.

Election of members of the board of trustees for Place 4 and Place 5, seats currently held by Greg Hood and Wade Weathers, will take place Saturday, May 5. Anyone seeking to run must file by Friday, Feb. 16, and can pick up information regarding filing from the Administration Office, 106 West Wildcat Drive.

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