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Trustees address technology, construction


Trustees with the La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) met Dec. 13.

Board members honored the La Vernia volleyball team and Mighty Bear Band for their successes; they also recognized three more seniors as part of the board’s Senior Spotlight. (See more on this on page 9.)

Janice Gimbel presided in the absence of board President Michael Jendrusch. She and trustees Eric Friedrichs, Richard Schier, John Bilicek, James Barnett, and David Watson approved the bid for struck-off property. This allows properties that were delinquent on taxes to move through legal proceedings to the sale process and back onto the district’s tax rolls.

The board also heard about an amendment approved on Nov. 19 by the State Board of Education, which removed any reference to an announcement during school board meetings that calls for elections. The only announcement needed is at the last regular board meeting in the calendar year.

It was also announced that the district’s trustees have exceeded the required board training, with David Watson accruing 17 hours; James Barnett, 18.25; Eric Friedrichs, 21.25; John Bilicek, 21.50; Richard Schier, 23.75; Mike Jendrusch, 30; and Janice Gimbel, 39.75.

Allen D. Bordelon, director of technology and grants, provided a short update on technology in the district, with a more in-depth review planned in January.

“La Vernia ISD is moving into the cloud structure, which is a first in the region and state,” Bordelon said.

This system allows even more servers and eliminates the slowness in the network. The technology lab completed on the intermediate school campus has experienced a definite improvement in speed, Bordelon said.

Thin client computers are being used now, he said; these are physically smaller, more energy-efficient, and lower in cost. The cloud system also allows users to be able to access their desktops from anywhere in the district. Programs for special education are also being piloted in this system for instructors and administrators to assist their students more efficiently.

“I would also like to see students be able to use their own electronic devices for instructional needs within their campus computer networks,” Bordelon said.

This opens up more opportunities for students to learn at school and work at home.

Theo “Sonny” Gerlich, director of operations, said he could “é see a light at the end of the tunnel” regarding bond construction. In about four more weeks, he said, the auditorium and gym next to the junior high school campus should be complete. Bleachers are being installed; the lines for combination courts and artists’ paintings on center court and wall are complete. Junior high students should be able to start practicing on the courts, Gerlich said.

He added that acoustical engineers will work to ensure the sound system is set up right. Training on the system for district employees should begin in January.

The district is preparing for a dedication ceremony, consulting district and community members to plan this, Superintendent Tom Harvey said. This may include a big performance to open the facility in high style.

Gerlich also reported that work on the new tennis courts is almost complete. Sidewalks have been poured; fences are up and winter rye and Bermuda grass are being planted to stabilize the soil. Controls for lights are computerized in the same way as those for the district’s other athletic facilities.

Rules are being drafted to define use of the courts by the public; they will not be open for public use until construction is complete. Student athletes and their coaches will be able to enter for practices.

“We can see an end in sight to these projects,” Gerlich said.

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