The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

May 15, 2013

Westwood ISD swears in new, returning trustees

PALESTINE — New school board member Michael Bentley was sworn into office along with two other Westwood Independent School District Board of Trustee incumbents during the WISD Board of Trustees regular meeting Monday.

Bentley, along with incumbents Theresa Bambeck and Carolyn Booker, ran unopposed in Saturday’s election. Bambeck has served on the school board since 2003, while Booker has served since 1995.

Bentley filled the expired seat of former school board member Kim Crawford, who was appointed in December 2012.

“I’ve been looking forward to doing this for a long time. I’ve lived in Westwood since 1991,” Bentley told the Herald-Press after Monday’s meeting.

Bentley is a maintenance supervisor at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Beto Unit. He and his wife, Gina, have two children.

“My daughter graduated from Westwood and my son is going to be a freshman next year. I’ve had a lot of fun being involved in their school activities over the years and serving on the board is something I’ve been wanting to do,” Bentley said. “It’s about the kids.”

During the school board meeting, board members voted against an open transfer policy  that would have allowed students from other school districts in good standing (no academic, discipline or attendance issues) to attend WISD as long as appropriate space for the student and staffing was available.

Board of Trustee member Dr. Don Rice was the lone vote for the open transfer policy.

Bambeck expressed concerns that the open transfer policy could jeopardize the enrollment of the children of WISD teachers due to spacing issues. Currently, WISD teachers can enroll their children in the district regardless of residency, as long as appropriate space for the students and staffing exists.

In other board action, WISD trustees:

• APPROVED new fuel bidding procedures.

• APPROVED bids to replace lighting at the softball field.

• REVIEWED 2013-14 budget information.

• DISCUSSED plans for the recently purchased property next to Westwood Elementary School. The board voted to renovate the home on the property to house a Behavior Attitude for Student Success program and elementary-level disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP). The property’s main use will be to help increase traffic flow and reduce congestion at the elementary school, giving the campus a total of about two acres of parking.

• APPROVED intercom bids for the elementary and high school campuses.

• APPROVED the consent agenda.

After the closed session, the school board voted to hire four employees and approved two more participants in the school’s “Guardian Plan.” The plan allows board-approved WISD employees to carry concealed weapons on the school campus.

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