Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

April 30, 2013

AISD hopefuls tackle questions

School security, dress code among topics tackled during Classroom Teachers forum

ATHENS — Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees candidates answered another round of questions at a forum organized by the Classroom Teachers Association on Monday.

The candidates and audience squeezed into the Athens Middle School Library where they handled topics ranging from school security to the newly revised dress code.

On the subject of security, Place 5 Candidate Blu Nicholson suggested enlisting local law enforcement to join in the effort to make schools safer.

“If I was elected to the school board, I would take my position as a public servant in this community to try to do some joint training exercises with the local police departments and sheriff’s department,” Nicholson said. “They would have joint training with the local school district so everyone knows what to do in case we have an active shooter on one of our campuses. I think it’s very important that we prepare.”

Nicholson said AISD test scores can be raised by improving the recruitment and retention of educators. Stipends for educators might be a way of keeping good employees from leaving the district.

“We’ll never beat those test standards at AISD with as much turnover as we have,” he added.

Place 7 incumbent Bob Spears said the dress code is a difficult issue that the district has to be judicious in handling.

“My kids don’t have ear rings, but I don’t believe it’s an impediment to learning,” Spears said. “I don’t feel the teachers need to be refereeing an issue like that. If a kid’s shirt is untucked and the kid is spending a lot of time at the office, I don’t think that’s enhancing education.”

Spears said the standardized dress in the district has been effective.

“I think our standardized dress has been a great improvement to discipline and atmosphere in all our campuses,” he said. “It’s a moving target and sometimes you have to be reasonable and make modifications from time to time.”  

Place 7 challenger Jacqueline Solomon told the audience she is also concerned about student achievement.

“Even though the bar keeps going up, there’s no reason why our kids can’t learn,” Solomon said. “They can learn, they can be competitive with their peers in the state of Texas. The last graph I saw said the achievement has been constant for the past three years. For the last three years the achievement is going down and there’s no reason for that.”

Dr. Vance Vaughn, also running in Place 5, said the board’s job starts with selecting the superintendent to head the district.

“Once they feel like they’ve found the best fit, they’ve got to support that superintendent, but at the same time they’ve got to make that superintendent responsible for their governance policies,” Vaughn said.

Enforcing the dress code should fall to the administrators, as the policy states.

“Teachers can’t do their jobs if they have to concentrate on enforcing dress codes,” Vaughn said. “When they send students to the office, something is going to have to be done.”

Place 6 incumbent David Freeman said the board has to handle the difficult issues with flexibility.

“We set the policy and we expect the policies to be followed,” Freeman said. “But then, we can talk out of both sides of our mouths. We say, ‘We’ve got to keep teachers,’ but what if the teachers aren’t performing? There has to be some middle ground.”

MaryAnn Tyner, running in Place 6, said the district should look at curriculum and try to vary the courses offered.

“I think we should add more vocational classes, so maybe the kids who want to go into vocational training can have that opportunity,” Tyner said. “Prepare them for college, but give them a choice.”

Tyner said electricians, plumbers and painters make good salaries.

“It’s a pretty good job, if that’s what they want to do,” Tyner said.

Place 5 incumbent Raymond Williams and Place 6 challenger Niki Killingsworth did not participate in the forum.

Text Only
Local News
  • 2726192_300x300.jpg Darin Karl found Thursday on Cedar Creek Lake

    The body of a 42-year-old man who had been missing in Cedar Creek Lake was recovered on Thursday.
    The drowning victim was identified as Darin Lynn Karl of Kemp. According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, Karl and his nephew were fishing near Cedar Creek Country Club when the boat overturned, ejecting the men. 

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD approves moving monthly meeting, additional drug testing

    Discussion on meal prices for the 2014-15 school year was pulled from Thursday's Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees agenda but other items were approved that will bring about change in the district.
    By unanimous decision, the school board approved changes to the scheduled date for its monthly meetings; additional drug testing on the high school campus and modification to the graduation policy.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 drugs.tif Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 26

    On Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Athens Police Department and Keep Athens Beautiful will host the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, giving the public its seventh opportunity in four years to prevent pill abuse and theft.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif Feud between Tool VFDs extends to city council

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Would Lake Athens residents suffer if city controls water?

    Members of Lake Athens Property Owners Association have been watching the dispute between the City of Athens and the Athens Municipal Water Authority uncertain of how this will affect their future.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Hot issue

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Surplus property to be moved or demolished

    Athens Independent School District purchased property at 404 Royall Street during its March school board meeting with the intent to square off property previously purchased by the district.
    During Thursday's school board meeting, a unanimous decision was made to designate the property as surplus and advertise the home to be moved or demolished.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0077.JPG Taste of Home Cooking School

    The Taste of Home Cooking School was held Thursday at the Cain Center. Hundreds attended the events that was sponsored by Cole A/C and the Athens Daily Review.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif City, AMWA differ on future management of water supply

    The 57-year relationship between the Athens Municipal Water Authority and the City of Athens grew stormy in 2013 because of a disagreement over who should pay certain bills.
    The difference-of-opinion led to the Authority filing suit against the city last December, and the city responding by setting the wheels in motion that slated a May 10 election to decide whether to abolish AMWA.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 Easter.jpg Excited and ready

    Lexie and Isabella Hawkins are excited and ready for the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m. in Kiwanis Park.  Bicycles, rabbits and lots of Easter Eggs will be waiting for you. Everyone is welcome, and of course the Easter Bunny will be there.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo