Education

School district chooses retiring boss’ replacement

By Trishna Buch

AN EAST TEXAS schools boss has been selected as sole finalist for Cynthia Lusignolo’s job at Texas City.
The city’s independent school district trustees have approved Port Neches-Groves ISD superintendent Rodney Cavness to take over when she retires at the end of June after five years at the district helm.
They selected him unanimously on Tuesday and will hold a special meeting on May 23 for him to sign his contract.
Cavness, left, has been superintendent and CEO of Port Neches-Groves ISD for the past seven years. His 27-year educational career began at Beaumont ISD, where he worked as a teacher and coach. He has also worked at Silsbee ISD and is a former principal of West Brook high school in Beaumont and is a member of the Texas education agency’s commissioner’s cabinet.
Before joining Port Neches-Groves, the Lamar University, Beaumont, graduate was CEO and superintendent of Evadale ISD for three years.
He has received several professional awards including the state’s region-five secondary-school principal of the year in 2005 and regional superintendent of the year in 2010.
After Cavness’ selection, TCISD board president Dickey Campbell said he has “a proven track record of strong financial accountability and utilizing effective academic practices, while enhancing teamwork”.
Campbell added: “He is a big supporter of enrichment programs including academic, athletics and fine arts and is also a proponent of CTE and STEM programs.
“These are just a few reasons why we believe Dr Cavness is the ideal candidate to lead Texas City ISD.”

VOTERS were given a chance to put candidates for educational trusteeships to the test on Tuesday during a public forum hosted by Texas City-La Marque chamber of commerce at Mall Of The Mainland’s recently reopened central corridor.
During the forum, the candidates spoke about their qualifications for the job and outlined their vision for their respective jurisdictions before members of the public asked questions.
In the May 6 elections, Texas City ISD sees Lois Henderson-Jones and Mable Pratt vying for its district-two board seat and Nakisha Paul and David Rac contesting its district-three position.
College Of The Mainland sees Roney McCrary, Sharon Mitchiner and Melissa Skipworth vying for its board of trustees’ position five, while Don Gartman and Arnetta Henderson are rivals for position seven.

Senator wants special graduation project extended

By Richard Lee
Texas Senate News

A PROGRAM that allows some Texas high-school seniors to graduate even if they don’t pass all their required standardized tests could become permanent even though it is set to expire this fall.
The senate education committee this week considered a proposal to extend the program, which passed into state law two years ago and could help several thousand students each year.
If passed, Amarillo senator Kel Seliger’s senate bill 463 would make the law permanent.
Seliger proposed the existing law during the legislature’s 2015 session, creating an alternate pathway to graduation for students who meet all other graduation requirements but fail to pass one or two required STAAR end-of-course examinations.
Under the law, committees made up of a student’s parents, teachers and school administrators look at the student’s entire academic career, including factors
like grades and extra-curricular activities.
They can assign remedial work or an additional project in the subjects for which the student failed the standardized test.
If they unanimously agree that the student is ready to move on to college, the military or the workforce, they can then recommend that he or she be allowed to graduate.
Seliger said on Tuesday that less than three per cent of last year’s Texas senior class, or about 12,000 students, graduated this way.
About 70 per cent of the students who submitted to an independent graduation committee were approved for graduation but Seliger said even more important is the 30 per cent who weren’t. He said it “shows that the educators involved in this and the parents are being discerning and pretty tough minded.  “They aren’t doing this just to get the kid out of school unless he should get out of school.”

Secure our schools

Our word is our bond

City defends $62m proposal’s ‘vague’ language

By Trishna Buch

SUSPICION that a city might misapply a $62 million bond being voted by its residents next month brought a forceful reaction from its city manager this week.
Brian Maxwell of Galveston told The Post there was no substance to some residents’ fears that the bond would be used for purposes other than infrastructure improvements listed on the city website.
And he said another complaint, that Galveston already has the money to fund the projects, is ill-founded.
If approved in the May 6 local elections, the bond could result in a 3.5 cent tax increase on every $100 of taxable property value for residents starting in the 2018 fiscal year based on the current average $215,000 value of homesteads on the island.
The Post spoke to Maxwell after a resident with knowledge of city-hall workings was among citizens who expressed concern that the wording of the bond proposal on the May 6 ballot paper is vague about the necessity for the funds and does not specify any projects on which the money would be spent if passed.
Instead, the wording on the official ballot refers only to “the construction, acquisition, improvement and rehabilitation of streets, bridges, storm sewers and drainage, including curbs, gutters, sidewalks and other related public infrastructure, traffic systems and acquisition of rights of way relating to such projects”.
The citizens, who requested anonymity, said that could be a license for the city to transfer the money for other purposes, leaving the listed infrastructure projects on the shelf. One expressed a belief that Galveston has a long history of calling for bonds whose proceeds end up in the city’s general fund, from where they finance raised salaries and suchlike.
But, when asked why the city had not outlined the specific projects in the ballot, Maxwell said: “No city does their bond that way”.
He said the city has a five-year capital-improvement plan that will cost a total of $217 million, $84 million of which will be going towards the listed improvements to the city’s streets and drainage infrastructure
Of the $84 million, he said $22 million is due to come from various sources and funds, leaving $62 million to come from the passing of the bond.
The fate of the bond will determine whether several projects are financed, including $10.4 million on reconstructing 45th Street from Broadway to Seawall Boulevard, $10.2 million on an 18th Street drainage project from the ship channel to Avenue K and $5.9 million on 37th Street from Broadway to Seawall Boulevard.
The citizens said they also wanted to know why the city isn’t using funds it sets aside each year to pay for the infrastructure projects.
Maxwell said the city cannot use those funds to pay for the proposed bond projects because it will take an extended period of time to gather up all of the funds involved and the bond projects need to have been completed or started by 2021.
He said the bond will be authorized over a period of time set by the city council based on factors including the city’s current needs, prevailing market conditions, assessed city valuations and demographic changes.
The city’s proposed projects as listed on its website are below.
For more details about the bond, go online to galvestontx.gov/798/Bond-Election-2017.

Streets and/or Drainage Projects:

  • 11 Mile and FM 3005*
  • 16th St from Broadway to Ave N 1/2
  • 18th St from the Ship Channel to Ave K*
  • 25th St From Broadway to Seawall
  • 26th St from Ave N to Broadway
  • 26th St from Broadway to Church Street
  • 27th St from Broadway to Seawall
  • 29th St from Church St to Harborside
  • 29th St from Ave O to Ave R 1/2
  • 30th St from Ave O to Seawall Blvd
  • 35th St from Postoffice to Broadway
  • 37th St from Broadway to Seawall
  • 45th St from Broadway to Seawall
  • 49th St from Ave P to Ave S 1/2
  • 61st St & Seawall Intersection Improvements
  • 73rd St from Heards Ln to Ave N 1/2
  • Ave L Storm System at 62nd and 63rd*
  • Church St from 35th to 37th Street*
  • Replacement of Strand Pavers
  • Storm Sewer Rehabilitation Program*
  • Primarily Drainage Projects

$3 million in mill and overlay projects currently planned:

  • All Streets – Indian Beach Subdivision
  • 30th St from Ave M to Ave N 1/2
  • 32nd St from Mechanic to Post Office
  • 36th St from Ave K to Ave L
  • 36th St from Ball St to Broadway
  • 46th St from Ave N to Ave R
  • 46th St from Ave R 1/2 to Ave T
  • 46th St from Ave R to Ave R 1/2
  • 46th St from Broadway to Ave L
  • 49th St from Broadway to Ave L
  • 53rd St from Broadway to Winnie
  • 59th St from Ave S to Ave S 1/2
  • 59th St from Maco to Seawall
  • 71st St from I-45 Frontage to 440 FT North
  • Avenue K from 25th to 33rd
  • Avenue L from 27th  to 31st
  • Avenue M from 41st to 43rd
  • Avenue Q from Neuman to Saladia
  • Avenue Q 1/2  from 25th to 27th
  • Ball St from 16th to 17th
  • Bristow Dr off of 16 Mile Rd
  • Mechanic from 26th St and a  1/2 block west
  • Postoffice Street from 27th St to 29th St

 

ISD calls for megafund to overhaul aging campuses

By Trishna Buch

RESIDENTS of the Clear Creek independent school district are being asked to pass a $487 million bond when they head to the polls on May 6.
The district wants the money in order to rebuild two schools, as well as repairing and adding to several existing campuses and introducing improved technology and safety measures.
If passed, the bond will cost taxpayers except seniors a $0.035 increase.
The bulk of the funds – $309.3 million – will go towards the rebuilding program and major renovations at seven other schools and the district’s transportation center, as well as repairs at several schools that are not set for renovations.
According to the district’s website, several of its schools are more than 40 years old and some more than 50. If the bond is approved, the rebuilding and renovations will take place at schools that need drastic improvement, while others will receive a variety of repairs based on priority.
The two schools being rebuilt are Clear View high school, on Walnut Street, at a cost of $45.2 million, and League City elementary, on East Wilkins Street, for $46.9 million.
The schools due for renovations include Ross elementary, on West Main Street, at $20.7 million and Landolt elementary, on Pilgrims Point Drive, at $18.8 million.
Renovations at the district’s transportation center will include a new parking lot for school buses and a new access road. Elsewhere, district-wide priority repairs costing $66.2 million are planned for schools including Clear Brook high school on FM 2351, Clear Creek high school on East Main Street, Clear Falls high school on Village Way and Clear Springs high school on Palomino Lane.
A $70.8 million category in the bond includes the building of a new elementary school along SH-96 in League City, construction of an 18-classroom addition at Stewart elementary on Marina Bay Drive, a 10-classroom addition at Clear Lake intermediate on El Camino Real and a seven-classroom addition at Creekside intermediate on West Main Street.
Several safety improvements costing $17.5 million are also due to take place, including upgrading campus security systems and replacing older school buses and dangerous and dilapidated playground equipment.
Student programs at the district will also see $43.6 million going towards additions and renovations. The district plans to open a second science magnet program because 200 students are turned away from its Seabrook science magnet program each year, with $10.3 million for the expansion of Brookside intermediate, on FM-528, by adding classrooms and science laboratories.
Clear Creek high school will see $13.7 million spent on new sound and ticket booths, lighting improvements and other work in its auditorium. Clear Creek intermediate, on East Main Street, will receive $6.5 million for renovating fine arts and athletic spaces and adding a new band hall and $4.0 million will go towards replacing athletic and fine arts equipment throughout the district.
The district will use $31.8 million to boost its technology, replacing or installing new ceiling projectors in the majority of its classrooms, replacing laboratory and staff computers and replacing its telephone system, among other improvements.

Who votes where in redrawn school district

By Trishna Buch  

A SCHOOL district has moved to dispel voters’ fears that they won’t know whether and where to cast their ballots in next month’s elections.
The Post asked Texas City independent school district for help in ending the confusion after receiving requests from members of the public for advice about three electoral divisions.
Melissa Tortorici, TCISD’s communications director, responded by providing detailed maps of the two districts – numbers two and three – in which voters are being called upon to elect new representatives for the five-district jurisdiction, top left.
She also explained the thinking behind the redrawing of the election boundaries, which came about as a result of last year’s annexation of La Marque ISD by Texas City at the command of former Texas education commissioner Michael Williams.
She said: “The major concern was to make sure that the districts were to have populations balanced as much as possible within the single-member districts, while making sure that it met all legal requirements”.
As a result of the boundary changes, people living in the eastern half of Tiki Island and on the mainland moving north through Bayou Vista and into south La Marque will vote in district two, center right, where incumbent Mable Pratt, a retiree, is being challenged by social worker Lois Henderson-Jones. Pratt was elected in December after the death of Manuel Guajardo, who had represented TCISD’s former district two for many years.
People living in north La Marque and West Texas City will vote in district three, left, where Nakisha Paul, a nursing information technology coordinator, and David Rac, a retired higher-education financial officer, are on the ballot.
Voters living in both districts can cast their ballot at any Galveston County polling station open on the day they go to the polls.
Tortorici provided two lists of polling places, one comprised of stations open during early voting, from April 24-28 and again on May 1 and 2, and the other showing the locations open on election day, May 6. Both lists are shown at bottom and they are also online at galvestonvotes.org. Select “This election” on the home page and then “Polling locations” to find the station most convenient for your lifestyle.
You can cast your ballot near your home, near your place of work, a shopping mall or anywhere on the relevant list that’s convenient to your needs on the day you vote.
Voters in the jurisdiction’s district five have also contacted The Post to ask their situation.
The district was also up for election but no one stepped forward to challenge the incumbent, banker Dickey Campbell, so there will be no vote and he will be returned unopposed.
Campbell and the winner of the district-three election will serve until May 2020, while the winner of the district-two seat will serve the remaining two years of its natural term, until May 2019.
• The TCISD maps also appear in electronic form on our website, where viewers can zoom in to read extra details such as street names.

 

 

Early voting polling places
April 24-28, 8:00am-5:00pm, and May 1 and 2, 7:00am-7:00pm

Seaside Baptist church
16534 Termini-San Luis Pass Road
Jamaica Beach

Fine-arts building foyer
College Of The Mainland
1200 North Amburn Road
Texas City

County court house, second floor
722 Moody Avenue
Galveston

MUD 12 building, second floor
2929 SH-6, Suite 300
Bayou Vista

Hitchcock city hall
7423 SH-6
Hitchcock

Santa Fe ISD museum
13304 SH-6
Santa Fe

La Marque community center
1109-B Bayou Road
La Marque

Dickinson community center
2714 SH-3
Dickinson

Kemah fire department
905 SH-146
Kemah

County justice center, second-floor conference room
600 59th Street
Galveston

Moody Methodist church
2803 53rd Street
Galveston

Election Day polling places
May 6, 7:00am-7:00pm

Seaside Baptist church
16534 Termini-San Luis Pass Road
Jamaica Beach

Rebecca Sealy Hospital, first floor
404 8th Street
Galveston

County court house, second floor
722 Moody Avenue
Galveston

Morgan elementary magnet school
1410 37th Street
Galveston

GISD administration building
board room
3904 Avenue T at 39th Street
Galveston

MUD 12 building, second floor
2929 SH-6, Suite 300
Bayou Vista

Alamo school
5200 Avenue N1/2
Galveston

Moody Methodist church
2803 53rd Street
Galveston

La Marque community center
1109B Bayou Road
La Marque

Santa Fe ISD museum
13304 SH-6
Santa Fe

Dickinson city hall
4403 SH-3
Dickinson

Kemah fire department
905 SH-146
Kemah

Nessler Center surf room
2010 5th Avenue North
Texas City

Hitchcock ISD administration
lunch room
7801 Neville Road, Building B
Hitchcock

Carver Park community center
6415 Park Avenue
Texas City