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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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June 26, 2003     Hays Free Press
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June 26, 2003
 

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June 26, 2003 Currem eB Page 3 me Free Press Buda Elementary principal finally selected by Hays school district BY BILL PETERSON Editor AYS CISD--Following two defections that temporarily left the Hays CISD without a principal for Buda Elementary School, the district turned to Hays High School Dean of Students Carolyn Hitt at Monday night's school board meeting. The board voted unanimous- ly to name Hitt for the position, which is expanded next year with the consolidation of the Buda Elementary and Buda Primary School campuses. Hilt has served in various roles with the district since 1995, includ- ing principal of Tom Green Elementary School. The district had been with- out a principal for the double campus since shortly after the end of the last school year, when Jennifer Dusek decided the expanded position would compromise her family respon- sibilities. Dusek worked as the principal at Buda Primary last year, with Gil Peyton as princi- pal at Buda Elementary. The school district decided to consolidate the campuses in a cost-cutting move. The admin- istration has reduced positions and declined many new hires in an effort to close a projected Fiscal Year 2003-04 deficit in excess of $2 million. The consolidation of cam- puses left the district needing only one full principal, so it assigned Peyton to be principal want to work nights, later accepted a position as an Elementary Principal in Rockdale. The board also filled the assistant principal position at Barton Middle School Monday night, hiring Judy Logan by a unanimous vote. Logan had been principal at Barton Junior High in 1998-9 before becom- ing principal at Lake Travis Middle School in the Lake Travis ISD. In other developments: The board voted to sus- pend an employee retention plan that socked the district with a bill for $700,000 earlier this year. Though the employee matching contribution plan took on a 24 percent increase in uti- lization this year, the district assumed only a two percent rise by not changing the two percent default figure in the formula. The ,district will fund the 401(a) matching plan through Aug. 31, at which point contri- butions will be suspended. The plan will be re-evaluated at the end of the 2003-04 school year. Meanwhile, the district is considering alternatives, such as the Education Service Center Region 10 plan. In the future, the district may also limit matching contributions. The administration said employees have more or less agreed to the plan suspension. "The district has not received any negative feedback about suspending the plan," said Hays CISD interim finance year contract providing for four annual renewals. A couple snafus have hit construction projects, though the resulting delays, if any, won't be substantial. The Rosalie Tobias International School will open on time this fall, even though the anticipated sewer hook-up will be lacking. The district had been counting on hooking in with City of Kyle sewer through a nearby residential development. However, the Brookside development has fallen behind schedule, so the school will open with pumper trucks to handle wastewater until the city sewer lines can be connected. Also, high winds on June 2 damaged the roof at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Kohler's Krossing. The facility, which was to open in July or August, now will open in September because it needs a new roof. Two former Synergy teach- ers spoke to the board about the program, which faces discontin- uation now that the original grant has expired. Christy Growt and Marlo Malott said the program's resources and best practices could be put to better use across the ninth grade, rather than just running a self-contained pro- gram for about 250 students who fill out an application. "Often, ninth grade is the year when students decide if they're going to graduate," said The teachers said the pro- gram's demographics are run- ning about 70 percent white, which is out of line with the general population of Hays High School, which is about 50 percent white. In addition, the teachers raised concerns as to whether the Synergy program is succeeding at teaching the cur- riculum basics. The program originally was funded by a Small Loans Communities Grant of $366,000 for three years, begin- ning in 2000. Hays CISD Assisiant Superintendent Steve Ebell said the interdisciplina. and team teaching aspects of the Synergy program could be used through- out the school. "There is a feeling among teachers that Synergy should and can be modified to impact more student," Ebell said. A half-dozen students went to the school board earlier this year to argue that the Synergy program should be continued. Ebell said the district is making all efforts to schedule those stu- dents together in the coming year, as they've requested. Trustees Vice President Christie Pogue said she wanted to be sure the students could be kept together. Trustees President Laurie Cromwell, cit- ing the influence of students who spoke to the board, said she wants to know if grant money is available to continue the program. Now Diggar than Evar! AUSTIN MOTOR MILE & PAINT I1740  Road We've doubled our size to 15,000 square feet. All repairs done in-house by qualified, dependable technicians. Galen George Philip Vescovo Chris Burrell Monday -Frida 7".30 a.m. - 5".30 p.m. 292-1060 FAX 292-1059 Fr Ihrluw N = I FM 16211 at Barton Middle School and Dusek to be principal at Buda The district hired Patillo, Synergy components could ease I ..................... " (1 C Elementary. Peyton, saying he Brown & Hill of Waco as its the transition from middle ,' Watenn00 _alendar for June has young children and doesn't new auditing firm, with a one- school. I   For hose-end sprinklers water 7 pm - 10 am Hays CISD ..... guarded" [" ,  Fol und rground s ,em,. we ter t 7idnight- 1 i (' , .................. I --.Ifvour .  : ". I u address Then your watering Tip of the Month: ll III lill mliilll i lilni lill liln I Ill Nil In I  director Carter Scherff. Growt, who added that the I about TAKS scores BY BILL PETEnSON Editor YS CISD---No one really ows what the scores from this year's Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) examinations mean, because there is nothing against which to compare them. So, Hays CISD Assistant Superintendent Steve Ebell said he's "guardedly optimistic" about the final results that recently became available. The TAKS test was in its first year throughout Texas schools in 2002-03, replacing the TAAS examination. Because the two tests are substantially different, they can't be directly compared. Nor are this year's tests being used to rate the per- formances of the schools. But the schools can still learn a thing or two. "One of the nice things about a state assessment system is that it is a program assessment sys- tem," Ebell said. "...This is not a minimum skills level test any- more. This is a grade level requirement." Despite the lack of a prede- termined standard, the HCISD learned quite a bit just by com- paring Hays students with stu- dents statewide. And that news wasn't all good, mostly because last year's junior class turned in a dismal performance. The Hays juniors finished well below statewide averages in math, English, social studies and science. Hays High School ran into problems convincing juniors to be serious about the tests; which have no bearing on their graduation status. "We did everything we could to motivate students to put forth their best efforts," Ebell said. Considering that other schools must have run into the same difficulty, the Hays juniors still turned in a comparably poor performance. For example, only 56 per- cent of Hays juniors passed the English test, compared with 67 percent across the state. On the social studies test, 83 percent of Hays juniors passed, compared with 90 percent across the state. Only 53 percent of Hays juniors passed the science test, com- pared with 67 percent across the state. However, it wasn't just the Hays juniors who performed below state average in science. In the other two grades that took science tests, the fifth and tenth grades, Hays finished behind the state average. "We have work to do in sci- ence, no doubt about it," Ebell said. "Across the board, our per- formance is below average, and that's not acceptable." Tenth graders took the social studies, math and science exams, finishing slightly below state average in both categories - 85 percent to 86 percent in social studies, 68 percent to 72 percent in math and 67 percent to 69 percent in science. However, Hays ninth graders finished above the state aver- ages in reading (87-82) and math (64-63), the only tests they took. Hays students proved to be better writers than the state average. Hays seventh graders and fourth graders, the only grades to take the writing exam, both topped the average. Hays students tended to run behind the state in reading dur- ing the early grades, then ahead of the state in the later grades. Conversely, Hays students ran ahead of the state average in math during the early grades before falling behind with the later grades. ! ends in... I , f I I I I I I I I I I I ! I For underground systems water midnight - 10 am days are .... I I I I I I , . .| * I L Don't water "hardscapes". 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