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School welcomes new superintendent

School welcomes new superintendent
GREGORY RIPPS— Dr. Jose Moreno, new La Vernia Independent School District superintendent

By Gregory Ripps

Dr. Jose Moreno is now officially the superintendent of the La Vernia Independent School District (ISD), after signing his contract May 5 during the regular board of trustees meeting.

Moreno, formally attired in coat, tie, and white shirt, greeted those attending the meeting at the door as they arrived. He’d been confirmed as the lone finalist for the job April 9.

After the meeting started, Moreno donned a La Vernia blue polo shirt to match those worn by the trustees to join Dr. Cody Miller, board president, to sign his employment contract after the board unanimously approved the hire.

Enthusiastic applause from the more than 100 adults and children filling the primary school cafeteria greeted their handshake as the signatures were completed.

While many people were present for student recognitions and presentations, many also stayed to see the new superintendent in action.

The board members also thanked Linda Bettin, who had served as interim superintendent since last fall, after former Superintendent Tom Harvey resigned.

“You have a great school, and I appreciate coming back,” said Bettin, who was presented with roses.

Also during the meeting, Dee Wegehaupt, a district teacher representing an “outside” sports team, the Hit Organization, advocated making district facilities open to non-district organizations in the La Vernia community.

She said children who attend La Vernia ISD schools often belong to athletic organizations outside school and noted that the tracks, gyms, and fields were available under past district administrations.

“La Vernia can show we support our athletes by opening our facilities to the public,” Wegehaupt said.

The matter arose later in the meeting, as the board members discussed the draft of a new policy regarding rental of district facilities. Trustees expressed concerns over the amount of the rental fees and restrictions within the current draft of the policy.

Janice Gimbel, addressing fees, said the district had stopped allowing outside groups to use district facilities over upkeep concerns. “Fees must cover expenses,” she said.

The current draft of the policy states that only the tracks, gyms, and fields would be available to outside groups. Miller said that the superintendent should have discretion to approve allowing rental of other areas, adding that to his motion to amend the draft of the policy. This was approved unanimously, but no action was taken on the policy itself.

Moreno said that he wanted to continue to look at the administrative procedures and charges for facility rental and would look at expanding ways to serve the greater community but emphasized he would always put the district students’ needs first.

The trustees revisited the matter of proposed changes to the start and end times for school days. Dr. Diane Fisher, the district’s assistant superintendent, provided an update for the 2014-15 school year.

Moreno supported an earlier start time for primary students.

“From research and from what we’ve seen, we actually benefit from having children there earlier,” he said.

Fisher offered information on after-school programs for the primary and intermediate campuses, comparing four child-care facilities in the area. If the district were to establish an after-school program, things to consider, Fisher said, include impact on other child-care providers, the requirement for additional and special staff, as well as special safety, child nutrition, and other guidelines that would apply.

Moreno said he would like to continue the research and “look at all options.”

The board took no action on the matter.

In other matters, the trustees:

¢Approved a new policy regarding head lice as recommended by the La Vernia Health Advisory Council.

¢Approved continuing a shared service agreement with the Educational Service Center, Region 20, School for the Deaf. One district student currently attends.

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