By Brian Besch
Thursday’s regular board meeting at Goodrich ISD set dates for canvassing votes, provided information on tax collections, and reports were given for teacher recruitment and student testing.
The board agreed to keep next month’s regular meeting on May 19, while holding a special session May 12 at 10 a.m. for the purpose of canvassing election votes. Early voting begins Monday and lasts until May 3. Early voting will be held at the Polk County Judicial Center, Sechrest Webster Community Center and Onalaska Courthouse. On May 7, voting will take place at the Goodrich Administration Building.
Position 1 of Rigoberto Reyes, Rosalie Blackstock in Position 4 and Brenda Bennett’s Position 7 are all running unopposed. In Position 5, Lydia Merino and Bobby Bridwell will run. In Position 6, Berenice Merino will challenge Thomas Finger, who took over the remainder of a term a few months ago.
This month, Goodrich received its tax collection report. The total assessed taxes for 2021 were $1.772 million. Of that amount, around 90% has been collected. Preliminary taxable values is at $178 million, while last year’s number was $140 million, meaning the coming year’s assessed taxes should see a significant increase. A certified value
will be received July 25.
“July is when we are really going to get the ball rolling on budget and taxes,” Goodrich business manager Kaelin Smith said. “Once we have our certified appraised value, that’s when we can really start talking about what the tax rate is going to be in August.”
Goodrich Superintendent Daniel Barton said much has been accomplished in teacher recruitment for the coming fall.
“Since the last board meeting, we went to Lamar University and Sam Houston, doing teacher recruitment, where we picked up about 10 resumes at both. We are just trying to build our pool of choices. Right now, teachers hired for 2022-23 school year, we have two positions that are officially unfilled, but in reality, we really only have one unfilled position for the coming year at this time. That is really good. We are at April 21 and we are full with full-time teachers. The other thing that is exciting is they are not new teachers. They have experience, every one of them. That gives us a little jump when we bring teachers on, because they have training prior and know the systems. We are excited about that – very excited.”
Barton said scheduling for teacher training has begun over the past week.
During data digs, teachers go through the previous tests and principal Aubrey Vaughan gave a positive report on that data Thursday. The third graders are making gradual improvements in math. Students in fourth and fifth grade have made “huge improvements,” according to Vaughan, in math. A fifth grade bootcamp is already showing results. Scores in eighth grade science have also improved. Social studies for eighth graders is still a concern. Scores in eighth grade reading and math have risen to “approaches level,” which Vaughan said is a lot better than where the group began.
“Slowly but surely, these gaps are getting filled, and that is very exciting to see,” Vaughan said.
Goodrich ISD has more staff members training to receive their CDL, giving the district additional options for bus drivers.
The district is beginning to install the smartboards that were purchased with the ESSER funds collected during the pandemic. The panels that display classwork from an instructor’s computer screen will be hung in each classroom and should take around 30 minutes, with no further assistance required. The remainder should be installed over the summer, ready for each classroom in the 2022-23 academic year.