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District to ban e-cigs


Despite their growing popularity as a smokeless alternative to the “real thing,” e-cigarettes will be banned on all La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) premises, and at all school events for students, staff, and visitors.

The policy will mirror the ban on cigarettes, said Dr. Cody Miller, the school board president, after a June 16 special meeting. This concern is based on concerns from the Centers for Disease Control, he said.

The trustees are moving forward with policy changes, which will ban e-cigarettes. Miller said the board members agreed to have administration work with the district’s legal counsel to draft policy revisions, which will be considered before the first day of school.

In other matters, the trustees approved the purchase of new weight-training equipment. The district will spend approximately $40,000 for this, after part of the expense was met by a donation from the athletic booster club.

“The equipment will be placed in the new weight room which was part of the 500 building renovation,” Miller said after the meeting. A delivery date has not been set, but the board hopes it will arrive in time for the new school year.

Also related to finances, the trustees heard that the final numbers for the current budget will not be available until the end of August. The La Vernia district anticipates an increase in revenues from increased property values and increased state and federal funding. A full budget workshop is planned for June 30 to prepare the 2014-15 budget.

Continuing the monetary discussions, information about salary comparisons between La Vernia ISD, Floresville ISD, San Antonio ISD, and East Central ISD was provided to give the board and administration an understanding of La Vernia’s competitiveness in salaries for employees.

“In most cases, LVISD is very close to the salary amounts being paid by those other districts for similar positions,” Miller said. “District administration will be working to correct discrepancies in a few positions over the next two years.”

Trustees also approved a step salary increase for all employees. Salary schedules will remain the same for next year; all employees will move up to the next step, Miller said. Individual raises will be determined based on the person’s years of experience, effective with their first paycheck for the next school year.

Stipends also were discussed and will be part of the June 30 budget workshop, Miller said. The trustees want stipends to be “as clear and transparent as possible,” according to the board president.

The trustees also addressed several hiring issues, and approved the hire of Brenda Oates as the new director of special education, who likely will start in July.

In addition to several teachers who have been hired recently, the board also approved a new:

¢La Vernia High School academic dean, Steven Verm (This is a new position)

¢High school assistant principal, John Zamora

¢Junior high counselor, Sheryl Mondragon

¢Campus-based literacy coach, Tracy Vajdos.

Several teachers also have been approved, Miller said.

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