WAXAHACHIE

A location for the new agriscience facility was presented to the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees during their Monday evening workshop.

The board members also heard a proposal for school zone-signage at the Waxahachie High School campus and were updated on new academic pathways to be implemented at Waxahachie Global High School. The district may also soon hire a webmaster.

Trustee Clay Schoolfield presented a draft of the agriscience facility to board members in request of feedback. A total of 4.23 acres northeast of the WHS campus has been designated for the agriscience facility. The area is bordered by U.S. Highway 287 Bypass and adjacent farmland. Schoolfield explained the building could not be placed behind the school due to issues of topography.

The preliminary design calls for no direct access to the service road from the facility and would be approximately a 100-yard walk from the WHS parking lot to a covered area of the agriscience facility. The location will also allow for expanded construction behind the building.

The recommended agriscience facility consists of the main building, a sheet/goats pin, cattle pin and swine pin with each constructed by loading docks. Restrooms and washrooms would also be available inside the structure. Schoolfield also recommended fencing.

The facility would be constructed with similar brick and columns to match the design of the high school.

"Realize this is conceptual," Schoolfield said. "You really don’t know what you can build until you get your soil testing back."

Trustee Kim Kriegel asked if the land planner is aware the district is still interested in a cross-country trail on the WHS grounds. Kriegel was assured the trail was on the land planner's radar.

Currently, the board of trustees and interim WISD interim-Superintendent Bonny Cain are working toward the installation of flashing lights and road signs for a school zone around the high school campus. The board is communicating with the City of Waxahachie and the Texas Department of Transportation.

“TxDOT said there was not enough foot traffic to warrant a school zone,” board president Dusty Autrey mentioned. Cain added, "The City of Waxahachie might see some things differently."

Schoolfield understood that TxDOT was going to conduct a traffic study and Cain emphasized, “We need to open that conversation."

Langley suggested speaking with Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength since he is the president of North Central Texas Council of Government, which works closely with TxDOT.

ACADEMICS

Global High School Principal Ken Lynch was proud to present the school will add two academic pathways in health science and international business.

Lynch met with Region 10 and requested the board hire a dean for each pathway. “This is a little ambitious,” Lynch said to the board.

Before Thanksgiving, a survey will be passed out to middle school students to provide feedback on their interest and chances of attending Global and what programs the school can include to raise enrollment.

THE ONLINE PRESENCE

Cain suggested the district hire a webmaster to update and maintain the district websites. The board discussed if this should be a full-time or part-time position and the possible salary.

“We need a dynamic, ever-changing website that reflects the quality of school that we are,” Cain emphasized.

Currently, the district pays $10,000 to an outside source. Cain and several trustees agreed the website is not updated promptly and is confusing and frustrating for the public to use.

The board decided a webmaster position would pay between $55,000 and $65,000 and would be a non-contract position.

Lee Auvenshine, Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services, said the district could post a job as soon as it is approved by the board. Auvenshine estimated interviews could start in two to three weeks with an interview committee. Two candidates could then be brought to Cain and Director of Communications Jenny Bridges to make a final decision.

Trustee John Rodgers voiced his concern about the addition of the webmaster position might be a luxury.

To wrap up the meeting, Cain presented an update on the audit and the next steps to be taken. She shared that the Texas Association of School Boards was pleased to see the board so involved.

Cain informed the board would soon receive responses on the audit.

Cain is interested in WISD faculty to complete an employee satisfaction survey to show employees that the board “hears you.” The study is campus-, grade-, and department-specific and teacher anonymous. This would seek input on compensation, benefits and staffing analysis.

The district received a zoning request from the City of Waxahachie about a single-family dueling being placed directly next to the WHS site in the proximity of the proposed agriscience facility. Ryan Khalden, assistant superintendent for business and finance, asked the board if they wanted to support, oppose, or say nothing about it. Personal opinions showed the board was not for it.

The workshop ended at 7 p.m. and the trustees gathered in the boardroom for the regular meeting.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450