By Jackie Stone
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS – As parents and children waited outside the doors of the new elementary school in the Lampasas Independent School District, teachers and administrators inside roamed the freshly painted halls with papers, pens and plans for the first day back to school.
"I've never got to open a new school," said Jeanie Smart, a kindergarten teacher at Taylor Creek Elementary School. "It's just beautiful here, colorful; everyone's excited. It's a very positive, upbeat attitude."
A bell rang out overhead, and a voice announced that the doors would be opening soon. Smiling teachers let out a round of cheers as they waited at their classroom doors.
On the other side of Lampasas, Superintendent Randy Hoyer started off his day making sure things were running smoothly at the district's other new school, Lampasas High School.
The new superintendent said the summer has been long and busy, but he has received overwhelming support from his new community.
The day "has been almost scary good. It's gone really smooth," Hoyer said around midday after visiting both new campuses. "So far, we're two for two."
At Taylor Creek Elementary, the noise level suddenly jumped and sound bounced off the walls as the doors opened Monday morning and people streamed in.
Principal Kelly Dunn walked the halls shaking hands and saying hello to children and parents on their way to class.
"Greeting the parents, getting kids to classes – that'll be a lot of our day. Just getting the routine down for them – as much routine as you can get," he said.
First-grader Xavier Hoyenski bounced down the hall and pointed to a book he wants to read that was posted on a board in the hall.
"We've been reading up. You know, going through all the Dr. Seuss books again," his mother, Jean Hoyenski, said of their back-to-school preparations.
Hoyer said he was waiting for final enrollment numbers, which should come out after Labor Day. Those numbers will determine whether classes have the right student-to-teacher ratio, where adjustments need to be made and most importantly, what next year's budget will look like.
"We had to make some significant cuts out of the budget, and we need our numbers to pick back up again (before next year)," he said.
Hoyer said he hopes this year to bring all LISD schools up to recognized status, a distinction given to Hanna Springs Intermediate School in the most recent Texas Education Agency ratings.
"Over the years, I've had people ask me over the summer, 'Well, are you enjoying your summer? Your time off?'" he said. "What they don't really realize is that June, July and August are probably the most busy times for the central office."