Athens Independent School District Superintendent Blake Stiles told the Athens Kiwanis Club on Tuesday that school finance, testing and campus security are issues he’s watching closely this year.
The battle in Washington over sequestration has billions of dollars in school funding hanging in the balance, Stiles said. Sequestration, enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, would mean $85 billion in budget cuts if Congress does not intervene.
“This may be hard to believe but in the state of Texas alone $67.8 million in funding could be lost,” Stiles said. “You’re talking about a lot of Head Start teachers who could lose their jobs if this happens.”
Stiles said with the AISD’s high poverty level, many of the district’s 3- and 4-year-old children could be affected by the losses to Head Start funding.
On the subject of state funding, Stiles said he agrees with District Judge John Dietz’s recent ruling that declared Texas’ system of supporting schools both unconstitutional and inadequate. However, Stiles said he doesn’t think it will mean much relief for school districts this year.
“I doubt that they’re going to get anything done in this legislative session, which will make it interesting for me in budgeting next year for our schools. I think next spring they’ll go back for a special session and try to iron it out,” Stiles said.
There are several bills filed in the House and Senate that could have an impact on public schools. Stiles said he is particularly interested in House Bill 5 that covers issues related to graduation requirements, student assessment and accountability.
The bill creates one diploma for all high school students called the “foundation high school diploma.” It also gives students an opportunity to earn endorsements added to the diploma in areas such as business and industry or arts and humanities.
HB5 cuts back on the amount of tests students are required to take and also installs an easier-to-understand “0 to 100” grading scale. Stiles approves cutting back the testing burden to allow students more time with their daily studies.
“You don’t grow a pig by weighing it,” Stiles said.
On the topic of school security, Stiles said the high school and middle school do not have secure vestibules at their front entrances.
“We need to fix that,” Stiles said. “We need to at least have a way to slow somebody down if an intruder came to our door.”
The security problem at the high school is increased by the fact that it consists of two separate buildings. Stiles said the district could possibly construct a hallway between the two buildings.
Another problem Stiles sees is the area where middle school parents drop off and pick up their children.
“It’s terrible,” Stiles said. “I’ve seen cars stacked up on the highway. We really need another car loop.”
AISD’s Stiles says challenges ahead for Head Start, school budget
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Color run coming to Athens
Have you been seeing those pictures on the internet of people in wild costumes, running through clouds of neon pink, blue, purple, and green and coming out looking like a rainbow?
If you have, you’ve been looking at the hottest thing to hit the walking and running world – the color run. And it’s coming to Athens on March 22 to benefit Hope Springs Water and celebrate International World Water Day.
AISD students honored for reading challenge
To get kids excited about reading and encourage more adults to spend time reading with their children, the National Education Association launched the first NEA's Read Across America day in 1998.
On March 3, NEA's Read Across America marked 17 years of celebrating reading and the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
Athens Independent School District participated in the event, but added a twist to encourage students to read more often.
The minimum standard for living
The average minimum wage worker renting a living space in Henderson County will spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on their home.
The National Low-Income Housing Coalition reports Henderson County renters would have to work 85 hours at minimum wage for a two bedroom apartment. Of the six counties in the 5th Congressional District, Henderson ranks second, behind Dallas, for the most hours required.
Chandler, BMC to settle contract
Since the beginning of the year, Chandler city officials and leaders of the Brownsboro-Murchison-Chandler Youth Foundation have worked to finalize an agreement on use of the facilities at Winchester Park.
County preparing to address roads
With hundreds of miles of pavement to deal with, three Henderson County Road and Bridge Precincts may soon be getting a tool to help them keep track of the tasks involved.
The Henderson County Information Technology Committee discussed on Wednesday whether to acquire Precinct Tracker software and will present its findings to Commissioners Court.
The students have spoken, Brownsboro ISD considering adding a soccer program.
Superintendent Dr. Chris Moran is scheduled to updated the school board on the progress of the program during the meeting on Monday, March 17.
A by-precinct breakdown of Henderson County’s vote on Tuesday shows pockets of support for candidates who came up short in the vote totals.
The 27 boxes in the county delivered 9,908 votes, of which more than half, 5,219, were cast during early balloting. There were 8,869 in the more hotly-contested Republican races and 1,039 Democratic votes.
Missing no more
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department reports the recovery of a boat and a tractor among the $40,000 in stolen property located over the past week.
A true country caterer
It’s not every restaurant that you visit, that while you are eating, you are watching the RFD-TV channel known as “Rural America’s Most Important Network.” The huge wall screen keeps eyes going back and forth from where they are cutting their pork chops, to current information about the profit that can be realized from soy-bean growth on that day.
CASA receives $5,000 from Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric believes in supporting non-profit organizations in the communities where they work and live.
Recently, Steve Ramsey, Location Manager, from Schneider Electric presented a check to CASA’s Resource Development Officer Elvis Allen, as a sponsor of CASA’s annual 5K Race and fundraiser for the upcoming 2014 event.
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