ITALY - After a lengthy discussion about dual college credit, the Italy ISD board of trustees tabled a proposal during its meeting this week to assist juniors and seniors with financial needs.

Currently, the district offers English and history college classes on the high school campus.

Superintendent Dr. Gail Haterius proposed that the school district pay the entire $335 class cost per semester for students who qualify for free lunches and pay a portion of the cost for students qualifying for reduced lunches.

She indicated a stipulation that the students maintain an A or B and that they will not be able to get the same assistance should they drop one of the dual credit classes.

Haterius projected eight students would currently qualify for the free class and one would qualify for the reduced cost. She estimated there are about 15 students in these classes.

“If you do this for nine, why not do it for all 15 students?” board member Tommy Morrison asked.

Board member Ricky Boyd suggested this be placed into the budget for the 2007-2008 budget year, with Haterius indicating it was something that needed board approval before the budget was completed.

Newly elected board member Curtis Riddle said the district had not helped any students during the 2006-2007 school year and said he would like to see the district reach more of its financial goals before offering the assistance to the students.

“If we can’t do it for all, we need to do it for those in need,” Owen said.

Board president Ronald Janek said the district would be spending school district money for students to go to college and indicated that was not the goal of the school district. He also pointed out he would like to assist the kids who don’t have the financial means to pay for the courses.

“I’d rather pay 50 percent for everybody,” board member Cindy Carter said. “If there is one person that can’t pay (the tuition), there are plenty of people in this town that will help out with money.”

“If this district had managed its money as it should have, we wouldn’t be having this discussion,” board vice president Larry Eubank said.

John Droll of Italy, an employee of Itasca ISD, said that district finances all students participating in the dual credit courses and that the program has been extremely successful.

The board tabled the item until Haterius can provide a more accurate estimate of how many students would take the dual credit classes in 2007-2008.

In other business, the board hired two new math teachers and accepted the resignation of four teachers.

James Green and Alicia Palacios were hired as high school math teacher and fifth-grade math teacher, respectively, with resignations accepted from Matt Cochran, Richard Harvel, Jim Holley and Rena Steindurf.

Stafford Elementary principal Carolyn Maevers received board approval for 12 changes to the 2007-2008 Student Handbook. Some of the changes include where the students go once they arrive at school and not allowing students to leave an assembly until it is completed. A lunch detention has been added, and parents and siblings may not ride the school bus on a field trip. Students may not share their lunch with anyone due to a state mandate and gifts may not be brought to school for some students in a class and not for all. The superintendent also made changes concerning use of the school library per request from the librarian.

Pam Luttrull, director of special programs - special education services, updated the board on projected funding for the district for the 2007-2008 school year. The board had chosen not to be a part of the Ellis County Cooperative and will provide its own special education services beginning this fall.

Luttrull told the board she had completed the application for state and federal special education funding and projected about $500,000 this year, with part of those funds to come from the co-op fund balance.

Records from the co-op are to be available June 28, with Luttrull saying she would have a better grasp of the student population once she is able to view each file. She estimates about 73 students will be part of the district’s special education program for the upcoming school year.

Luttrull said she met with the special education teachers in May to discuss the upcoming school year and that she has prepared for student technology needs and secured contract services for a licensed specialist in school psychology, occupational and physical therapy, and a vision teacher through Region 10. These services will be provided to the district on an “as needed” basis.

Business manager Laurice Marshall reported the district has realized about 92.05 percent of its revenues and expended about 70.63 percent of its budget, with Hatarius reporting the district is doing well as far as cash flow.

Under vehicle purchases, the board opted to wait until September to make any purchases unless a good used vehicle is located in the meantime for a cheaper price.

The superintendent reported new security cameras for the high school have been purchased through grant money and that the old hall lockers have been removed from Stafford Elementary. The lockers will be available to any non-profit agency on a first-come, first-serve basis. The district will take bids on any remaining lockers.

Enrollment at the end of the school year was 625 students. Refined average daily attendance for the month of May was 591 with 321 students on the elementary campus and 270 students on the junior high/high school campus.

Summer hours for the administration offices are from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.