The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

November 13, 2013

Westwood ISD board adopts open transfer policy

By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

Westwood Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the second reading and adoption of the open transfer policy during the regular monthly meeting Monday at Westwood Junior High School.

The now-adopted policy will allow the district to accept out-of-district student candidates during special enrollment periods in the fall and in the spring.

In October, the board approved its first reading of the policy, which would allow non-resident transfers to the school district if the student meets certain guidelines in regards to grades, attendance, discipline and other criteria.

The policy was part of the consent agenda which was approved by the board Monday. Other items in the consent agenda included: minutes of the Oct. 14 regular meeting and public hearing; October tax report; fund-raisers; and first reading of Policy Update 98.

Update 98 brings the district in line with recent legislative changes in regards to elections, board meetings using video conferencing and online message board, school safety, confidential employee records, employee appraisals, curriculum, dual credit, admissions, compulsory attendance and discipline.

Also during the meeting, the board of trustees discussed the remodeling of the home the district purchased recently behind Westwood Elementary School.

The district plans to convert the home into special needs/behavior intervention classrooms. Currently, construction is on hold as the district is waiting on an asbestos report and expects to do an asbestos abatement on the home.

“We would like to make it into four classrooms,” WISD Superintendent Dr. Ed Lyman said during the meeting.

Architect Mark Strong and construction manager at-risk Brit Patterson prepared plans and bids for the meeting. However, the bids were higher than expected for the district. Strong and Patterson are expected to return with revised estimates for the December school board meeting.

The plans include four classrooms, a break room/serving area and restrooms. There was not air conditioning in the home, so the plan to remodel includes air conditioning, new plumbing and new electrical to bring it up to code, as well as new doors, insulation and windows, enclosing the garage and building ramps, etc. Because the building will be utilized for special needs students, American Disability Act requirements are necessary as well.

“Once completed, it will look brand new,” Strong said.

Lyman hopes to offset some of the cost of the remodeling with money the district will receive for housing special needs students from other districts.

Later in the meeting, the WISD board also chose its “Proud Panther” award recipients for the school year from nominations. Board members voted to award the “Proud Panther” award to WISD Board of Trustee President Theresa Bambeck and Dr. Carolyn Booker. Plaques will be ordered to be placed in the Fine Arts room. A ceremony will be held in the future to induct the honorees into the Proud Panther Hall of Recognition.

“I feel very humble that a group of students took the time to nominate me,” Bambeck said during the meeting.

In other action, the board:

• HEARD a report from WISD's Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) Director Michelle Moore, informing board members of the record-keeping process and importance of accuracy in all data submitted to the Texas Education Agency.

PEIMS is critical to the operation of WISD because all data submitted to the state must be accurate to maximize state funding. Also, accuracy of the data often determines state interventions and campus ratings.

• APPROVED first reading of the revised policy for Transportation Management District Vehicles Policy CNB (Local) and DH (Local).

• REVIEWED district and campus improvement plans. WISD Director of Curriculum/Federal Programs Cindy Christian presented the district improvement plans and each campus principal presented its campus improvement plan to the board.

• APPOINTED WISD board member Craig Nivens to serve as a representative to the Anderson County Central Appraisal District for his second two-year term.

• NOMINATED Dr. Carolyn Booker for the Region 7 Texas Association of School Board of Directors position.

• RECOGNIZED students and teachers of the month.

Following closed session, the board:

• APPROVED the teaching contract for fourth-grade teacher Mandy Huffman

• ADDED employee volunteers for the district's Guardian Plan. This allows board-designated and trained employees with concealed handgun licenses to carry handguns on school property. WISD and Cayuga ISD both implemented a Guardian Plan in February.