VAISD Increases Band Funds, Approves New VAHS Principal

Rodney WilliamsManaging Editor

Van Alstyne ISD’s Board of Trustees convened on Monday night to get an update on construction, find out what parents had to say following the latest district-wide survey, approve funds for the VAHS band and name the next high school principal.

The results from those parent surveys distributed throughout the district were presented in detail by Superintendent Dr. John Spies. Though the percentage of returns is relatively low — at approximately 15 percent — the information gleaned from them is invaluable. What trustees found out from the presentation was that the number of parents who thought the difficulty of work assigned to their children was “just right” increased to 76 percent (up from the previous year) while 37 respondents felt it was too easy, and a resounding 83 percent of respondents felt that discipline in the district was “just right.” The number of parents who felt that the district was very safe was at 150 respondents, or 68 percent, while 68 respondents felt the district is “somewhat safe.” Overall satisfaction with the quality of schools was at 65 percent “very satisfied” with 32 percent stating they were “somewhat satisfied.”

Construction at the elementary and high schools continues and, according to Spies, the weather is doing the district no favors. He reported that the inclement weather has pushed construction three weeks behind schedule.

“We need a week of dry weather,” said Spies.

With the promotion of Dr. David Brown to assistant superintendent taking effect following the 2014-15 school year, the high school needs a new principal. On Monday, the board approved current VAHS assistant principal Jeremiah Johnson as the school’s next principal effective July 1. Johnson joined the district prior to the 2014-15 school year, coming from Allen ISD. A new assistant principal will be named at a later date.

The board approved $60,155.39 in furniture purchases for the new facilities at the elementary and high schools. The furniture will come from Virco, a large supplier of school furniture.

Spies asked trustees for input and guidance regarding budget priorities in the district, seeking direction moving forward. Among the items discussed were purchasing more Chromebooks to equip next year’s sophomore class at a cost of $30,000, increasing the amount given to the band program from $9,000 to $30,000 for next year’s instruments purchase (a move the board approved later in the meeting), adding a certified art teacher at the elementary school for kindergarten through fourth grades and continuing to increase district salaries to stay competitive with other districts.

Regarding the band instruments purchase, VAHS Band Director Tim Fulton will go ahead and order next year’s instruments after the board unanimously approved the motion.

Meeting Notes: The board recognized the VAHS Band Drum Line for getting all “1s” in sweepstakes competition and for moving up in classification… Spies reported that district enrollment continues to increase, up to 1,409 students in total… The board approved a move to set up a separate construction investment account.