By Lynda Jones
and Kelly McChesney
The Latexo ISD Board of Trustees board during its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 16, unanimously approved a new LISD vision statement, mission statement and five strategic goals, all developed by a community stakeholders committee.
The new vision statement is, "Inspiring and empowering students through perseverance with a passion for success."
The mission statement is, "Latexo Independent School District, in partnership with our community, provides an unparalleled education while honoring faith and families."
The five strategic goals accepted by the board are:
• Address the needs of at-risk students;
• Attract and retain quality employees;
• Meet the academic needs of all students;
• Actively involve families in the educational experience; and
• Provide facilities that will enhance a positive learning environment.
The board also voted to make repairs to the high school parking lot, with a cost limitation.
The approved motion authorizes Superintendent Don Elsom to go out for bids and spend no more than $30,000 to put gravel (crushed limestone) on the parking lot.
Before voting, the trustees discussed recent conditions in the parking lot that caused cars to sink in it. During ball games, the district has roped off the dirt lot to prevent cars from getting stuck. Elsom noted this is the first year anyone has gotten stuck there.
The funds will come from the fund balance, Elsom explained. If the cost exceeds $30,000, the matter will be brought back to the board for a decision.
In other business, the trustees discussed and debated Elsom's request to remove 44 trees donated and planted at the east end of the high school building in 1964.
Elsom said the trees originally were planted a long way from the high school building, but after the building was extended, the trees now are right up next to it.
Elsom explained that he wants to remove the trees because they make it difficult to get the buses in and out, and because of some drainage and plumbing problems that need to be fixed.
He also said local GirlScouts have agreed to replace any trees that are removed.
Elsom proposes to build a road of limestone base rock next to the trees, but that "there is not much need to put the road base down if the trees are still there."
The trustees walked to the outside of the east end of the high school building to view the trees and their location in relationship to the building and the driveway.
When LISD Board Vice President Jennifer Patton suggested raising the limbs to improve the pathway for buses, Elsom responded, "That's not going to solve the problem with the building and the drainage for the building."
Patton explained her concern saying, "I'm concerned that when you start cutting the trees and doing the grinding, your road is going to drop."
Elsom agreed that in 8 to 10 years there will be some dips in the road, but said that rock could be added when that happens.
Patton reiterated her concern. "You are going to be back in here in 10 years and you're going to have a major problem."
After more discussion, trustees agreed to find a tree expert to advise them about the trees and put the issue back on the agenda for the next board meeting.
The board also voted to change its March meeting date from March 16 to March 23 to avoid meeting the first day back at school after spring break.