By Rebecca LaFlure

The Cove Herald

In light of School Board Appreciation Month, Copperas Cove Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Rose Cameron outlined her top priorities for the coming year at a board meeting Tuesday, including ensuring that Impact Aid legislation is reauthorized by Congress this year.

Impact Aid is a federal program administered by the Department of Education that gives money to school districts that lose property tax revenues due to the presence of large, tax-exempt federal bodies in the area, such as military bases.

Cameron said this piece of legislation is highly important to CCISD because of its close proximity to Fort Hood.

The money is used by local schools, just as property taxes would, to hire teachers, purchase school supplies, and pay for other school district needs.

According to Cameron, CCISD received in excess of $11 million last year from Impact Aid, and it makes up approximately 16 to 20 percent of the school district’s total revenue.

As a part of the No Child Left Behind Act, Cameron said Impact Aid is currently “in limbo” until it is reauthorized.

“It’s very concerning to us, and we want to see that legislation reauthorized,” Cameron said. “The loss would have a huge impact on our district.”

Cameron said she will remain in constant contact with federal legislators to ensure Impact Aid is reauthorized and receives adequate funding.

Minor changes in the law can have a huge impact on school districts, Cameron said. “We provide them with data so that they can understand the full impact of language put forth for adoption.”

Other priorities Cameron discussed were to continue giving teachers the resources necessary to be effective in the classroom and maintaining high school programs that prepare students for college, including SAT and ACT training.

CCISD’s average SAT and ACT scores are slightly below the state average.

In 2007, the district’s average SAT score was 950 while the state average was 992.

CCISD’s average ACT score was 18.6 while the state’s was 20.2 in the same year.

Cameron said in the long term, CCISD will have to focus on what facilities are needed to accommodate the school district’s continued growth.

According to Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott, CCISD has increased by 229 students since the 2006-07 school year.

In other school board news:

The CCISD school board was recognized at Tuesday’s meeting for School Board Recognition Month. Members of the school board include: Cameron, Inez Faison, Jim Copeland, Mike Wilburn, Joan Manning, Bob Weiss, Lynn Wessels and Glynn Powell.

CCISD was named a recognized district for the 2007-08 school year with commending on reading and social studies.

All of the CCISD campuses improved their TAKS score average in spring 2008 and CCISD has a higher TAKS test average than both the region and state averages, according to CCISD’s current school board meeting packet.

Based on a district-wide alcohol and drug survey, students who have admitted to consuming alcohol decreased by 2.95 percent and using tobacco products decreased by 1.05 percent. Admitting to having smoked marijuana, however, increased by 1.29 percent, and inhalant use increased by 1.89 percent.

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