ITALY — The Italy School Board of Trustees approved a three-year contract for interim superintendent Jimmie Malone at its monthly meeting held Tuesday evening.

The Board unanimously approved the superintendent’s contract after spending approximately an hour in executive session.

The meeting began at 7 p.m. with Adam Michael, Taylor Turner, Megan Hooker and Jessica Wilkins, all sixth graders at Stafford Elementary, leading the Pledge to the American and Texas flags.

As the meeting began, Malone turned to the students and told the Board, “This is the reason we are here.”

Malone also recognized school board members for their years of service to the district.

He explained that the Texas Association of School Boards named January as “School Board Recognition Month” about 10 years ago. He presented members with a certificate honoring their service to the district.

Ronald Janek was recognized for 20 years on the Board; Ricky Boyd, five years; Larry Eubanks, Cindy Carter, Tommy Morrison, four years; Cheryl Owen, two years; and Curtis Riddle, one year.

“I appreciate what you do and what you have done. It’s a thankless job yet it’s a rewarding one. You were elected by your constituents to serve our students. Thank you for your service to the Italy Independent School District,” Malone said.

The Board also approved the 2008-2009 calendar that has school beginning on Monday, Aug. 25. There are three holidays for Thanksgiving and two full weeks for winter break. Spring break will be observed during the week of March 16. The major change in the calendar is the last day of school – June 4, 2009.

Financial Reports

In other business, Greg Shropshire, presented a favorable audit to the Board for the 2006-2007 school year.

“Your fund balance is near where it needs to be. We found no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies,” he explained. “All in all, it was a very good report. You are getting where you need to be.”

The Board approved the revenue/expenditures, the financial statement, the utility report, tax collections and December check register.

Revenue for the district is at 45.38 percent; expenditures are at 34.51 percent.

A budget amendment adding additional revenues to the Special Program Department was also approved.

Principal Reports

Carolyn Maevers, Stafford Elementary principal, thanked the students who led the pledges and their parents for attending the meeting.

She explained the 2007-2008 testing season begins soon. Students in the first and second grades will be taking the Terra Nova Achievement Test the week of April 21.

TAKS testing begins March 5 with Reading for third and fifth grades and Writing for the fourth grade.

Other testing dates include April 8, Math for fifth graders; April 29, Math for third, fourth and sixth grades; April 30, Reading for third and fifth grades (second administration), Reading for fourth and sixth grades; May 1, Science for fifth grade; May 13, Math for fifth grade (second administration).

The theme for this year’s testing is “Be all that you can be,” Maevers explained. This Army motto will be carried forth with camouflage decorations in the halls during the testing.

“We want our students to realize that there are no limits to what they can be,” she said.

Stafford Elementary is also hosting its annual “Pennies for Patients” campaign for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.

Maevers said students and staff are encouraged to donate any loose change they have to the “penny jar” in the office through Feb. 8.

“There is no competition between classes. There is no ‘winner’ except the patients that we are helping with our donation,” Maevers explained. “We want our children to help others.”

Scott Herald, junior high and high school principal, said the junior high recently participated in UIL competition. He said 15 students placed on the district level. He added that high school UIL competition is set for the spring.

Herald said junior high basketball is winding down and high school is about halfway through the district season. He also indicated there are a record number of students participating in junior high and high school track this school year. Students and coaches are gearing up for softball and baseball.

Student enrollment is currently at 629 with 339 students at the elementary school and 290 in the junior high/high school.

General business

The Board approved two additional courses for the district next year – Diversified Careers and Ready, Set, Teach. Malone said he is to submit an application to the Texas Education Agency for approval.

Malone presented the Board with gate receipts for recent basketball games. The Board also gave Malone authority to pursue current cost analysis for the dome should teams want to hold playoffs in the Italy Dome.

The superintendent also reported that the new football scoreboard, donated by Citizens National Bank, is up and ready for football season. He added that the school’s maintenance department will renovate the press box, adding approximately six to eight feet to its length, during the summer.

He indicated an unused air conditioner will be added to the facility.

The Board approved minutes from the Dec. 17 meeting and the addition of Student Performance Domain on the superintendent’s evaluation.

DeDe Hamilton, with the Stafford PTO, invited all the school board members to help prepare a chili supper fundraiser for the school on Feb. 8.

The PTO is also seeking items for a silent auction to be held at the same time. Hamilton said the chili supper proceeds have grown each year since its inception.

The next meeting of the Italy School Board of Trustees is set for Monday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.