By LIBBY CLUETT
Mineral Wells ISD Superintendent Gail Haterius gave school trustees an update Tuesday on the district's emergency management protocol, one month after the tragic killing of 26 young students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn.
“We are very cognizant of what has gone on in Newtown and we have been reviewing all protocols,” she told trustees. “We plan to be very proactive in planning and updating our programs.”
Haterius said she checked with the state and said MWISD is up-to-date on its security audit.
“Safety is one of the most important things we can do for students and staff,” she said, adding that police and fire-department leaders will meet with MWISD officials at the district's next administrative meeting.
“We have been working on these things and continue to,” she said.
Haterius also gave trustees an update on the progress of a random drug-testing policy for MWISD students, to be implemented in the 2012-13 school year.
She announced the district's School Health Advisory Committee will conduct two open-forum informational meetings. The first meeting is Jan. 31, at Mineral Wells High School, and the second is Feb. 4, at the junior high. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m.
The committee encourages parents to attend to learn about drug use and drug testing students, she said.
Haterius then announced the district will host a community luncheon at Holiday Hills Country Club on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
The luncheon will feature Dr. Bonnie Lesley, an educator, and Linda Etheridge, former Waco mayor, discussing legislative issues facing public schools, which includes school funding and vouchers.
For information and a reservation, call Judy Brown at (940) 325-6404 or 325-5103 by Jan. 29.
In addition, Lesley will speak on school funding at an informational meeting for MWISD employees. This meeting will take place at MWHS at 4:15 p.m., also on Feb. 5.
In other business:
• The school board approved calling for a school-board election to be held May 11. Candidate filing begins Wednesday, Jan. 30, and ends March 1, at 5 p.m.
Prospective candidates can pick up a MWISD election filing packet at the District Services Center, located at 906 S.W. 5th Ave. The DSC is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Trustees heard that student attendance is down in the lower 90 percentile, according to Haterius, because of the flu and other illnesses.
“We ask people to stay home, if sick, because it just multiplies,” she said.
• MWISD Board President Joe Ruelas said the district is moving forward with teaming or partnering with businesses, including PECO/Facet, North Texas Pressure Vessels and BFX. He said programs will allow students opportunities to learn skills that they can take advantage of in the workforce.
• Ruelas announced a new kindergarten teacher, Amanda Dorsey, hired to accommodate growing class sizes.
• On the advice of Chief Financial Officer Paul Hearn, trustees selected Snow, Garrett, Williams as its 2012-13 auditing firm.