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School district tasked with search for harmful material

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060222 school harmful materialsjpgCindy Elliott administers the oath of office to re-elected board members Tony Sewell (left) and Berlin Brafford. Photo by Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — A concerned parent in the Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD has tasked the Board of Trustees and school administrators to ensure the materials available for students meet the letter of the law that bans harmful material from minors.

Dave McAdams approached the board during its May 23 meeting, saying that current state law prohibits the sale, distribution or display of material considered harmful to minors — items that deal with sex or bodily functions and can be considered “patently offensive.”

He also said that petitions have been circulating to add obscenity to the law to protect children from explicitly sexual material.

“On April 11, TEA issued a new policy for selecting … library books that reference (current state law),” McAdams said. “COCISD must adopt this policy. I am also requesting the review of all future purchases of material and vendors … to ensure that their content and values align with this district and community’s standards.”
McAdams told the board that three concerned parents six hours to locate 40 books with inappropriate sexual content in the libraries of all four COCISD campuses.
“If we set our standards higher, we won’t be called out for book-banning or burning, we will be the example of setting book boundaries,” he said. “We need to stop adulting our students and let them enjoy childhood while they are still children.”

The board took no action, as the matter came up in public forum.

In a separate matter, the board approved a compensation plan for the 2022-23 school year that provides a 3 percent raise to teachers and a 2 percent raise to other staff members.

Assistant Superintendent Adam Jenke said the plan also raises entry level compensation; starting teacher salaries will be at $49,000, and top tier pay will be around $60,000.
“COCISD is aware of the competitive market right now for educators and other school employees,” Jenke said. “We are aggressively make adjustments to our compensation package to address this.”

He said the district has stretched the sustainability and feasibility of the budget creating the plan, which will create a deficit budget for the upcoming year.

Jenke also said the district will create a plan to use ESSER funds for a staff retention stipend to be presented to the board at a later date.

In other business, the board:

• approved the organization of the board, leaving officers in place. Paul Buchanan remains board president, Daniel Williams remains vice president, and Barbara Moore remains secretary;

• approved renaming the school’s stadium as Berlin Brafford Stadium; and

• approved a $1,000 incentive to the winners of the Teacher of the Year for the elementary and secondary school.

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