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TRUSTEES APPROVE SCHOOL MARSHAL PROGRAM, ADDITIONAL OFFICERS
June 25, 2018
The Granbury ISD Board of Trustees approved implementation of a School Marshal Program as well as additional school resource officers at its regular monthly meeting on June 18, 2018.
The action by the school board followed discussions over the past few months on a variety of measures to strengthen campus safety and security.
Regarding the marshal program, Texas state law allows public school districts to appoint some employees who hold a current concealed handgun license as school marshals. The licensing program through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement requires marshals meet strict requirements, complete a mental health evaluation, and undergo extensive training totaling 80 hours on physical security, use of force and legal liability, firearms training, and law enforcement strategies and techniques. The identities of marshals are kept confidential, and the law allows appointments for one marshal per two hundred students.
Trustees limited the number of marshals to ten individuals with preference to those with a background in the military or law enforcement.
The board action also included the expansion of the school resource officer program with the additional of four officers. Currently, the district utilizes Granbury police officer Jeff Hastings (along with Ben the drug dog) and Hood County Sheriff’s deputy Patrick Jones. Under the board plan, the district will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to local law enforcement agencies and then establish a memorandum of understanding with the agency or agencies. It is planned for the officer to be deployed on a rotating basis among GISD campuses.
Other provisions of the board action included:
- authorization to share technology with local law enforcement agencies, allowing access to campus surveillance systems in the event of an emergency
- study and implementation of a “panic button” in every classrooms to give teacher instant capability to alert officials in the event of an emergency
- creation of a Behavioral Assessment Team (BAT) for the district to provide threat assessments and early intervention before a crisis arises
Board members also approved the restriction and designation of $500,000 in district reserves to implement the security measurers for the 2018-19 fiscal year with the expectation that the administration will budget the additional ongoing costs with minimal impact on the district’s tax rate going forward.
Trustees heard a report from curriculum director Sharon Williams on a new partnership with Communities In Schools of Greater Tarrant County to employ licensed social workers at campuses to provide intensive case management for up to 90 students identified as those most in need of special assistance in order to succeed in school. The main focus will be on assisting families with basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, safety, and transportation. Social workers will work in conjunction with school staff to offer services not currently provided, assess needs of the school and its students and families to develop a written campus plan, build relationships and trust, and make home visits. The program will be financed with Title I federal funds. For the 2018-19 school year, four social workers will be employed for the program – two at Granbury High School, one at Granbury Middle School, and one at Baccus Elementary School.
Board members approved a three-year waiver to the Texas Education Agency regarding accelerated instruction for students who fail the third administration of state exams for grades 5 and 8 in reading and math.
The board approved initial action on the 2018-19 employee compensation plan, with a $1,000 raise for teachers and 2% midpoint increase for other staff. Trustees will consider a higher increase after the district receives certified property values from county appraisal districts and has a firmer budget outlook.
Also in personnel, the board completed the annual evaluation of superintendent Dr. James Largent, who is retiring at the end of July. Trustees also approved several professional staff appointments and were notified of employees who are retiring or resigning.
During the public comment period, several individuals addressed the board regarding campus security.
Reports to the board included assistant superintendent Dobie Williams presenting financial statements, cash flow and investment reports, and categorical expenses report for April 2018.
The board also approved minutes from the last regular meeting, budget amendments, and bids and purchases for career and technical education instructional supplies, online subscriptions, and software and management solutions. Board members also nominated trustee Rhonda Rezsofi to fill a position on the board of directors for the Texas Association of School Boards, approved the sale of properties previously struck off the tax rolls, and the recycling of old textbooks and laptop computers. Other action included the adoption of a resolution conveying a drainage easement to the City of Granbury on property next to Acton Middle School.
Donations reported to the board included: $8,000 from Texas EMS for the donation of an ambulance and mobile lab for the high school health science program; $1,927 from the Pirate Baseball booster club for team travel; $100 from Kelly Moore Paint for paint mixer.
Trustees next convene for a special meeting on Monday, July 17 at 3:00 P.M. to discuss further the search for the next superintendent. The next regular monthly meeting will be Monday, July 30 combined with the annual budget workshop. Board meetings are held in the GISD Board Room located in the Administration Building at 217 N. Jones Street.