By Iuliana Petre
Killeen Daily Herald
The Texas Education Agency recently gave the Killeen Independent School District a slap on the wrist for failing to appropriately serve students with special needs.
Representatives from TEA were present during Tuesday's board of trustees meeting to discuss the placement of a state conservator in the district to oversee the implementation of corrective actions.
According to the TEA, the district's non-compliance with systematic and student-specific issues for those students who reside in residential care and treatment facilities within the boundaries of the school district failed to meet all standards set by TEA.
The residential facilities within the district are located at Metroplex Hospital, Option House and the Bell County Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Placement program.
The three areas of non-compliance are: TAKS participation of special education students, provision of related services while students reside in residential facilities and providing students a commensurate school day.
Although TEA recently implemented a monitoring process for school districts, KISD made some changes, but not enough to ensure that all areas were in compliance.
The district was notified by phone on Aug. 6 that the three remaining areas were out of compliance.
KISD has made a lot of improvements, but three areas remain, said Ron Rowe, the TEA representative who spoke to the board of trustees.
Rowe went on to introduce Marsha Williams, the state-appointed conservator, who will begin today to work with the district to rectify the remaining three issues.
"Williams has a vast wealth of up-to-date knowledge and will work cooperatively with KISD staff and administrators to rectify discrepancies," Rowe said. Williams will be responsible for overseeing immediate corrections, implementation of all corrective actions, directing actions to be taken, reporting to the department of special programs and advising on further sanctions that need to be considered, Rowe said.
Williams will provide monthly reports on the progress made.
During the meeting's public forums, one Killeen resident and one KISD instructor voiced their concerns.
Brenda Wesley, a Killeen resident, asked the board to consider naming a future school after a woman and a minority.
Wesley recommended Dr. Bernice E. Moland's name. Moland was the first black female in Killeen to earn a doctorate in education. Moland worked her way from teacher to principal to special assistant to the superintendent and was selected as outstanding teacher for the state of Texas in the early 1990s. Moland was also honored by teachers organizations in Killeen for her outstanding work as an educator.
"All of these schools (in the district) and only one was named after a female," Wesley said, referring to Oveta Culp Hobby on Fort Hood.
Sharon Smitherman, a business teacher, asked the board to consider hiring one more technologist to maintain the computers in the district.
There are 916 aging computers in 16 locations and one technologist to maintain all of them, Smitherman said, adding that each computer gets 4,000 log-ins per day, which means more 1 one million log-ins on each computer each year.
It's too much for one person, Smitherman said.
Contact Iuliana Petre at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7469.