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Home News-Telegram News SSISD board honors Judy Gillem for a job well done

SSISD board honors Judy Gillem for a job well done

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Judy Gillem was honored Monday night by fellow trustees with a plaque commemorating her six years of service on Sulphur Springs Independent School District Board of Education.

Gillem attended her last board meeting as trustee Monday; she will be unable to attend Wednesday’s special board meeting during which Jason Dietze will be sworn in and take her seat on the board. Gillem has served two consecutive terms on the board, from 2003-2009, and opted not to seek a third term. During her time, Gillem has served in many capacities, including acting as liaison for the board and Head Start Council.

“It’s good to go out on top,” Gillem said. “This is the most awesome school board in Texas. The superintendent and administrators are awesome.”

Board members commended her for her dedication and determination to serve the best interests of the students, requesting clarification or further information on topics as needed.

The school board also presented Sulphur Springs High School valedictorian Jake Russell and salutatorian Brandon Harry with plaques and took a few moments to recognize their accomplishments, thank them for being outstanding representatives of the school district and offer encouragement for their futures.

When board member Jack Chubb asked both to share one thing they either really enjoyed or didn’t like during their years attending SSISD, Brandon Harry said he believed the “good staff and teachers really make the difference.”

Assistant Superintendent Randy Reed shared an experience he’d recently had working with Russell painting fences, and complimented him on his sense of humor.

Board member Foy Williams complimented the pair as well as the rest of the class on the way they positively represent the school district and Sulphur Springs, which has been affirmed when individuals from other towns call to express genuine appreciation for what Williams calls “just the best bunch of kids.”

“You are a good class. You already make a difference,” Chubb said.

In other business, Superintendent Patsy Bolton updated the school board on $1,787,100 in grants the district is in the process of applying or negotiating for.

The district has applied for two $500,000 grants, a Vision 20/20 Grant and a U.S. Department of Justice Secure Our Schools grant. Award notification will be made by September. The Vision grant would provide a wireless laptop device for fifth grade students and staff at Douglas Intermediate School and would be implemented over two years. The district has received SOS grants in recent years for security upgrades at the schools. If approved, they would use the SOS funding, which must be matched dollar per dollar, to install additional locks and cameras at more campuses.

The district should also receive notification in June whether or not their application for a $309,00 Texas School Ready! grant for additional training and support services to help students’ transition into kindergarten is approved.

By the end of the month, the district should know whether they will be benefit from a Tier 2 Pre-Kindergarten Grant. The process is competitive, and the district has asked for $256,000 so the district can continue to offer a full-day pre-kindergarten program instead of the half-day program funded by the state.

In June, 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant and STARS Service Learning grant awards will be announced. The district put in for a competitive $195,000 21st Century grant, which would provide services for elementary students at Travis and Douglas schools. Negotiations are currently under way for an additional $30,000 STARS Service Learning grant to be used district-wide on student projects with safety and environmental issues.

The district in August should learn whether they will receive a $6,500 Tobacco Compliance grant. They applied once again to the state comptroller’s office for grant money for enforcement and education activities. The district had benefitted from this grant for several years. In order to accept the funding, the district has to formally approve the program. The district would be required to spend 25 percent of the funds on enforcement activities, 70 percent on prevention and intervention activities and five percent for reporting purposes.

Also during the Monday night board meeting, trustees, based on the recommendation by Director of Finance Miki Eddins, approved a resolution extending the district’s contract with City National Bank as depository for two more years. Board President Don Sapaugh abstained from voting, and the measure passed 5-0.

The school board also approved unanimously, 6-0, a one-time grant application for Head Start cost of living adjustment and quality improvement. According to Bolton, the district is notified of how much they qualify to receive in stimulus funding, then must submit the proper paperwork to receive it. The district is asking for $155,999 to help increase salaries and benefits for Head Start employees and program improvements, in-kind matches and additions, according to the justification letter SSISD Director of Grants Sherry Chester prepared for Bolton to present to the board.




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