Devine ISD taking steps to improve school security

Even though school safety has always been a priority at Devine ISD, after recent events around the nation this year it was decided to look at security at all of the campuses. At the July 16th School Board meeting the trustees took steps by approving funding for security fences and other security upgrades at all campuses. Superintendent Scott Sostarich stated, “We are upgrading fencing and controlled access doors to help better secure our campuses and monitor our buildings. We hope to be completed by September 18th.” He also said that a letter will be mailed to parents explaining the upgrades and changes at each campus in order for them to know what to expect as they bring their kids to school this year. Also, the letter will be published in The Devine News for all of the community.
Mr. Sostarich also reported on the Governor’s Safety Plan which was published on May 30, 2018. This 41-page plan came from roundtable discussions with school and law enforcement officials and was partially in response to the school shooting at Sante Fe, Texas on May 18, 2018. The common themes of all the discussions were: 1. Making Schools Safer Places 2. Identifying Threats in Advance and Resolving Them 3. Improving Mental Health Assessments and Services. This resulted in a list of numerous school safety recommendations for Texas schools. Mr. Sostarich stated that DISD already had some of the recommendations in place prior to the report, such as, telephones in all classrooms, security cameras, safety teams and safety drills in place. The Board acted on the recommendation of forming a School Safety and Security Committee, with Board President, Nancy Pepper, appointing trustees Carl Brown, Robert Morales, and Keri James to serve on the committee. Mrs. Pepper and Mr. Sostarich will serve as ex-officio members, with other members still to be appointed. It was stated that it was a long project and they are just getting started! (One big question is how these recommendations will be funded! We will need to watch ans see what education legislation is approved & will actually become available to Texas schools. – NS)
(More details of the Governor’s Safety plan can be found in this paper in the article “How are we going to Protect our Students and Teachers? – a look at the Governor’s Safety Plan for Texas Schools.”)
In further Board news, it was announced that the preliminary STAAR scores are in and the final scores should come in around mid to late August. The district will provide a link from their website that will link to the TEA (Texas Education Agency) website where the scores can be accessed by the public. More information will be forthcoming after the final scores are in.
Upcoming Important Dates for August: Volleyball starts Aug. 1st, Tennis on Aug. 2nd, and Football on Aug. 6th. The DISD Administration office will be closed on Aug. 3rd and will reopen to regular hours Aug. 6th. Teacher In-service will begin on Aug. 13th followed by the First Day of School on August 27th.
If you have driven down Warhorse Drive, you already know that it has been in need of some TLC for quite a while. That is now a reality! Mr. Sostarich shared, “The school, city and county entered into an Inter-local agreement to pave Warhorse Drive. The city and school will split the cost of materials and engineering fees and the county is contributing the work. We hope to be completed by the time teachers return.” The board allocated $25,000 as the schools’ share of the cost of materials and fees.
In other Board business, Assistant Superintendent, Daryl Wendel, presented Handbooks for employees, UIL, and other activities with a few minor grammatical changes. The Student Handbook and the Student Code of Conduct will be reviewed in August by the Principals and Director of Student Services, Dawn Schneider.
Insurance coverage for Property/Casualty/Liability/ and Workers’ Compensation increased by $19,443 to $246,984 because of the increase in number of claims. The District currently has these insurance policies with the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Risk Management.
Board members in attendance were: President Nancy Pepper, Wes Herring, Henry Moreno, Robert Morales, and Phillip Fitch. Carl Brown and Keri James were absent. The next regular DISD School Board meeting is scheduled at 6:30pm on Monday, August 20, 2018 at the DISD Administration Building at 605 W. Hondo Ave., Devine, Tx.
The Board also expressed their condolences to the family of former DISD music teacher, Debi Campsey, including her sister, board member Keri James. (Mrs. Campsey was a much loved and respected music teacher in DISD for 18 years and was instrumental in developing programs for the students to perform at PTO meeting throughout the years. Her love for her students, fun-loving spirit, and dedication to others was her gift to us all who had the honor to work with her and to have her teach our children. – NS)
By Nancy Saathoff
News Staff