Natalia ISD Board postpones land purchase for District housing

The Natalia ISD School Board’s quest to provide District housing has been postponed. After discussing the issue in executive session in the regular meeting held Nov. 13, the Board voted unanimously to postpone purchasing property on which to build a house to rent to Superintendents in the future.
Board members Eric Smith, Fernando Garza, Tiffany Rodriguez, Eric Owens, Paul Almendarez, and Jack Bradley, Jr. were in attendance. Board member Andrew Besa was absent.
“We’ll have our auditors here this month to discuss how we’re going to finish our fiscal year, and without having a one-hundred percent clear picture with where we’re going to finish, I don’t feel comfortable moving forward financially,” Board President Smith said, adding that he would like to look at land the District already owns and speak with City officials about utility costs.
Prior to the executive session, Darin Frazier addressed the Board to express his wish that they prioritize the proposed 2018 bond issue, as well as consider District-owned land for housing.
The Board initially voted to pursue the purchase of property at the regular meeting on Oct. 16.
2017-2018 pay schedules
The Board also took up the issue of the teacher pay scale, which had been broached in a previous meeting.
“For as long as I know, in the history of the District, we’ve never had a pay scale go past twenty-five [years],” Smith said. “We’ve had that handful of dedicated teachers in the past who haven’t been real excited when they cap out, and I’ve always felt that if they’re doing a good job, that’s obviously why they’re still here, that they need to be compensated.”
Business Manager Barbara Flores prepared a pay scale up to 30 years, including an additional $500 per year of service above 30 years.
There are currently three teachers in the District with over 30 years of service, for a total of $1,500.
The Board voted unanimously to accept the pay scale as presented, which is retroactive to Sept. 1.
Lone Star Governance workshop
The Texas Education Agency’s Lone Star Governance is intended to help Boards and Superintendents improve student outcomes.
Superintendent Dr. Hensley Cone recommended that the Board attend the upcoming workshop scheduled for Jan. 5-6.
Cone said attending the workshop would help the Board become “an exemplary team of eight,” adding, “It helps us focus on doing what we need to do.”
The workshop is intended for entire Boards, and as not all Board members were available to attend on the dates offered, no action was taken.
School Board election
Rodriguez and Almendarez were re-elected to their positions on Nov. 7, defeating challenger Frank Garza.
Rodriguez garnered the most votes, receiving 115, followed by Almendarez with 73 and Garza with 46.
Other business
The Board unanimously approved the FFA (LOCAL) Wellness & Health Services, which is required for districts that participate in National School Lunch and/or Breakfast Program.
Students of the Month were Ian Ellis, ECC; Jacob Jalomo, NES; Daniela Padilla, NJHS; and Andrew Walsh, NHS.
Teacher of the Month was Lisa Gorman of NHS, and Staff Member of the Month was Ruby Martinez of the ECC.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 pm.
By Marly Davis
Staff Wrtier