By Rebecca LaFlure

The Cove Herald

KILLEEN - Bobby Ott was accepted as deputy superintendent of the Killeen Independent School District Tuesday night, after a unanimous vote by the district's board of trustees. Ott is currently deputy superintendent of Copperas Cove ISD.

An official transfer date has not been set. Ott confirmed that he accepted the position during a telephone interview Tuesday night.

"I'm truly looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead in the Killeen Independent School District," Ott said.

"I'm going to spend a lot of time building relationships right away and understanding the Killeen community, understanding their needs, and understanding the needs of the students… I always want to improve the situation I enter."

A native of Copperas Cove, Ott was appointed deputy superintendent of CCISD in April 2006. He previously served as the director of literacy initiatives in the University of Texas System.

KISD Superintendent Robert Muller said he selected Ott because of his extensive experience in education, leadership style and proven success as deputy superintendent in CCISD.

"He has demonstrated that he has a leadership style which consistently leads to school improvement and is focused on supporting the classroom. Dr. Ott understands the uniqueness of working in a military community and the importance of supporting military family members," Muller said.

Rose Cameron, CCISD superintendent, said she was aware Ott had applied for the KISD position, and is sad to see him leave Copperas Cove. CCISD will now begin the process in looking for a new deputy superintendent, she said.

"I don't even want to talk about it. He's leaving, and we're so sad," she said. "I think they're getting a great, great administrator and it's definitely our loss."

Also at the meeting, Diana Miller was appointed to the position of chief academic adviser. Miller is currently the principal at Skipcha Elementary School. She has worked in KISD since 1991.

"As a principal, both on and off post, Ms. Miller has been highly effective in leading her campuses to both implement innovative instructional strategies and consistently realize gains in student

achievement," Muller said.

Miller said, as chief academic adviser, her main goal is to improve student achievement.

"I'll be working closely with Dr. Muller and the rest of his staff to select strategies and curriculum ideas that we can utilize as a district," she said. "It's going to be an exciting challenge."

Stimulus Money

KISD may upgrade to a faster and more efficient wide-area network next year - funded by millions of dollars from the federal economic stimulus package.

The district collected nearly $5.1 million in Impact Aid money for construction and renovation projects earlier this month. District officials presented the chief construction project option to the board of trustees Tuesday to be paid for by the additional funds.

The money must be spent within the next two years.

The most cost-efficient project would be to change the district's network infrastructure from an ATM service to a Gigabit Ethernet service, said John Evans, chief technology official.

The network upgrade would provide the district with a faster network connection, a larger bandwidth to transmit data and would increase staff support and resources.

No board action was taken, but Evans and his team were given permission to pursue price quotes and put a final package together for future board approval. If approved, Evans hopes to begin the project this summer and finish within the next year, he said.

"In looking at the stimulus package and the federal requirements associated with the money, we looked for items that would be heavier on the equipment, material or resources side as opposed to labor costs," Evans said.

"We're getting a lot more equipment for these dollars and pay a minimal amount for labor or services then in some of the more labor-intensive projects."

Based on funding requirements for the stimulus package, the projects must use all American-made construction materials, and abide by the Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage provisions. Complying with the Davis Bacon Act will increase labor costs by approximately 20 percent to 25 percent.

"It seems to be that this is a very efficient project. I can't fathom that you could find anything that you could do with more equipment and less labor than this," said Mike Helm, board secretary.

"I think this is a great opportunity to do something that was on our schedule to do anyway."

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