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Trustees address student needs
POTH -- The Poth Independent School District (ISD) is working to provide ample, safe learning environments for its students, addressing improvements to its science program, foundation needs at the high school, and new accommodations for its Life Skills program.
Addressing needs for the district’s science program, Superintendent Andrew Peters presented a proposal to the district’s trustees during their July 16 meeting for the construction of a four-room, stand-alone structure to replace portable classrooms currently in use next to the high school. The complex would house three fully functioning labs and a classroom under one roof.
An estimated cost for the labs, which would be designed to allow students to spend up to 40 percent of class time throughout the year performing hands-on experiments, is $1.5 million. The expense would be funded through a combination of savings and short-term bonds.
Recognizing the considerable costs, the school board approved the measure unanimously, only after discussing the logistics of constructing a completely new high school. Any new school would be constructed on land owned by the district behind the city park.
Due to the location’s relative remoteness from the main campus, however, support entities -- such as a cafeteria and library -- also would need to be taken into account. At this time, such a project is considered too costly, given the current size of the student body.
The present Poth High School, however, has its own set of problems.
OBI, hired to evaluate the district’s needs and current facilities, has recommended that the crumbling foundation of the high school be repaired immediately. Although the damage is obvious, the cause is still unknown, according to OBI.
The board approved providing for a thorough inspection to try to determine the source of the shift.
Elsewhere on campus, renovations to the “L wing” portion of the elementary for the Life Skills class are nearing completion. The two classrooms and one office, which will house all necessary testing and teaching materials, as well as stoves, sinks, and four fireproof filing cabinets, are costing approximately $60,000.
Also addressed is the dual-credit program for high school students. Beginning this fall, Poth ISD will run its dual-credit program through St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. Poth’s previous provider was Palo Alto College; the board also considered Coastal Bend College for this program.
At $80 per credit hour, students will pay a total of $240 for a three-hour course. Scholarships also will be offered as an incentive for both students and the district to stay with the provider.
Following a lengthy discussion, a change in cafeteria prices was approved. For the first time in the district, a pilot program will be implemented to provide free breakfast for all students every day for the entire 2012-13 school year. Federal incentives and a surplus cafeteria fund will offset costs. Trustees were told free breakfast can be an academic benefit to students.
New lunch prices approved include $1.75 for elementary students and $2 for junior high and high school students.
Trustees also reviewed a rough draft of the 2012-13 budget, presented by Peters. Preliminary numbers show expected revenue of $6,906,300, with anticipated expenditures totaling approximately $7,012,100. Trustees will address the $105,800 difference as the district crafts the budget for the coming year.
In other matters, the trustees:
•Amended the student handbook to address tardiness and attendance issues.
•Discussed using reading grades for students in kindergarten through fifth grade as a criterion for promotion or retention. Students who do not pass that class may be retained at that grade level, regardless of success in other classes. English comprehension will be used as a benchmark for academic achievement. Retention is not mandatory and will be left to the discretion of administrators.
Poth ISD regular board meeting July 16
In attendance: Trustees Anthony Cantu, Wade Harris, Bob Kilgore, Elizabeth Clancy-Hrna, and Wesley West; Superintendent Andrew Peters; Superintendent’s Secretary Mary Raabe; Business Manager Dawn Kerby; principals Carolina Gonzales and Frank Hosek.
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