WAXAHACHIE

The Waxahachie Board of Trustees gathered before their Monday meeting to discuss drug testing trends and possible policy changes as well as a project to complete a cross-country trail and a new agriscience facility. The board also discussed the potential use of district campuses and buildings as polling locations.

Melissa Bousquet, Waxahachie ISD Nurse Coordinator, provided a report of the 2017-18 drug testing data as well as some changes that will be presented at the next Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees meeting.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of positives last year. Most of the positives we did have were for marijuana,” Bousquet elaborated. She also noted that all of the positives were at the high school level and that one of those was positive for cocaine.

Jenny Bridges, WISD Director of Communications, clarified approximately 700 random drug tests were administered during the 2017-18 school year. Of those tests, only 13 returned positive — meaning more than 98 percent of tests were negative.

There were some positives for amphetamines, Bousquet added. However, all of those students were prescribed medication for a form of attention deficit disorder. “We do always get that verification,” she affirmed.

Currently, when a student tests positive, he or she is removed from their activity for 10 days and has to then test negative before returning to the activity — such as driving to campus or anything extracurricular.

“We ran into a problem last year. Because we only test once a month sometimes these kids would serve a 10-day suspension from their activity and there would still be a couple of days left before we would drug test again," Bousquet said. "So they would be a little farther out of activity before they are able to return.”

She explained that the policy should instead read, “remove a student for a minimum of 10 days or the next drug testing cycle.”

“We don’t drug test at the drop of a hat, we have to wait for the next cycle before we can test again,” Bousquet said, who also reported that none of the students tested positive twice.

To reach the 100 students tested each month, Bousquet noted the district tested 10 students from each junior high and 66 from Waxahachie High School and 14 from Waxahachie Global.

“That wasn’t quite an equitable percentage of students from each campus," she added.

Bousquet pointed out that the testing pool at Howard Junior High is out of 500 plus students, whereas Finley Junior High has a pool of 200. Bousquet will request the trustees to shift the testing to the percentage of students rather than a set number. She will also ask for the panel test of five be extended to 10.

“We feel like we are missing some things and that’s due to our low number of positives,” Bousquet added.

CROSS COUNTRY TRAIL

Waxahachie ISD Athletic Director Greg Reed and Ryan Khalden, assistant superintendent for business and finance, presented the cost of a cross-country trail on the campus of the new high school. Reed is focused on providing a stable and safe place to run — wet or dry.

“Depending on how you loop it, it can be a mile to a mile and a half,” Reed explained.

The project is estimated to cost $4,500 and should take no longer than three days to complete at best, the two relayed.

“Cross Country does have a budget — not to support that. Athletics has a budget — not to speak for Greg, probably not with enough excess to support $4,500,” Khalden explained.

He added, “truly at this point, we can wait until the fiscal year and see if we under-ran some expenditure categories. Truly with the budget that was presented for the fiscal year right now, we are not leaving ourselves wiggle room."

“[...] Can we make it happen? Probably in June or July after we’ve closed out peoples’ spending.”

Trustee Melissa Starnater pointed out that the girls' team is currently state-ranked for the first time in program history and deserves proper facilities.

Joe Langley suggested to take the needed funding out of the general fund balance "and earmark $4,500 in excess bonds. If that comes in, we can repay fund balance. I’d like to see this start tomorrow morning.”

According to CHLOCAL in the board policy, Khalden has the authority to approve the purchase since it’s under $50,000.

The length and shape of the cross-country trail are undetermined at this time.

AGRISCIENCE FACILITY

Board president Dusty Autrey said there will be a meeting with the land planner and City of Waxahachie a week from Thursday to discuss the location of the new agriscience facility.

He then presented two site studies to the board. The first option is on a 10-acre plot in the southeast corner of the high school's campus, behind the baseball field and west of The Mark on 287 apartment complex. The second option is to place the facility in the northeast corner between the competition football field and student parking lot.

Unofficially, the board of trustees leaned toward placing the agriscience building along U.S. Highway 287 (option two).

ELECTIONS ON CAMPUS

Lee Auvenshine, Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services, shared with the trustees they could consider to change to the policy that currently allows elections to be held on WISD campuses.

Lee reported there was a lot of electioneering traffic at schools that caused "a disruption to the flow of traffic.”

Auvenshine proposed the question, "Does the board want to continue with bond elections on campuses with the current regulations?"

Trustee John Rodgers cited safety concerns during school days as the main reason that he wants the elections out of the schools and district buildings.

Trustees Kim Kriegel and Clay Schoolfield agreed. Schoolfield also mentioned the need to not get ahead of a strict policy and to consider the future growth of Waxahachie, noting schools might need to be utilized.

Aunvenshine assured this topic will be discussed again with the county in December or January and will be brought back as an action item at a later time.

The workshop closed at 6:50 p.m. and the trustees moved onto the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450