By Hillary S. Meeks
Killeen Daily Herald
Local school board members cemented their support of building an elementary school in Nolanville at a meeting Tuesday.
The approval is contingent upon whether or not a $1.7 million bond proposed by the city of Nolanville is approved by voters in the May 12 election. The Killeen Independent School District has owned land on 10th Street and Farm-to-Market Road 43 for some time, and has decided it would be the ideal spot for its 31st elementary school – but only if 10th Street is made wider and safer for school traffic. The bond funds would make that possible.
KISD board member Mike Helm made a motion for the board's approval, but added another contingency that the district would not formally approve building the new elementary school until bonds are issued.
KISD System Superintendent Jim Hawkins said the district will go ahead with contingency plans to build the school at the Nolanville site, and then will ask for approval of a contract bid after the bonds have been issued.
"I want a reasonable degree of certainty that the street improvements are going to be made," Helm said.
Board members also approved, by a 5-1 vote, three content and engagement specialist positions. They are central administration staff positions, each to deal with curriculum in a different subject: math, science and fine arts.
"Our central office staff is smaller than comparable districts, and it will still be smaller if you approve this," Hawkins told board members.
Trustee Dr. Ron Rainosek was the only board member to vote against approving the budget allocations.
"I haven't heard from teachers – though I have heard the opposite – that they need someone from the central office to support them," he said.
Hawkins said more support is needed for math and science because state expectations for those subjects have been raised. Next year will be the first year high school students will be required to have four math and four science credits, he said. He also said the district has grown considerably since someone was hired to help with the fine arts department.
"It's not an unreasonable request; the need is real," Hawkins said.
If filled this summer, the approved allocations will total $223,688.
Also approved at the meeting was a change in class ranking. It will require high school students who move from other districts or within the district to be enrolled at the high school they plan to graduate from by the Monday after Labor Day of their senior year to be eligible for valedictorian and salutatorian spots. Students who transfer within the district or from nearby districts will be required to enroll by the Monday after Labor Day of their junior year.
Members said farewell to longtime board president Brenda Coley, who has been on the board for 11 years. Tuesday marked her last regularly scheduled meeting as board president before her resignation.
In a teary goodbye, Coley thanked all those who supported her, including her family, her fellow board members, superintendent chief of staff Barbara Adams and superintendent assistant Diana Kaye.
"There is no greater volunteer job that you have the greatest influence in than this job, and for that, I thank the community," Coley said in her farewell address.
Contact Hillary S. Meeks at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7464