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Trinity County News 2

Centerville ISD applies for funding

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Centerville ISD logo 250By Tony Farkas
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CENTERVILLE — The Centerville ISD will once again seek funding to help students in the district who have been identified as socially disadvantaged.

The CISD Board of Trustees held a public hearing at its regular meeting on July 15.

Superintendent Mark Brown said that for Title I funding, which is to be used for socially disadvantaged students, the district is applying for $42,920, which will be used to fund enrichment programs to reach children identified as disadvantaged, as well as for stipends for teachers in high-needs areas.

Title II funds are used for teacher training and recruitment, and Brown said the district is applying for $6,986. The funds help keep qualified teachers and administrators in a district that has less economic opportunities for funding. 

In the past, the money was used to pay teachers in science and math because those areas are harder to recruit and retain, Brown said. 

Additionally, the district will seek Title IV funding, which last year bought cameras and door buzzers as the funds primarily go toward safety.

Brow said the district is at 65.49 percent of students identified as disadvantaged; in the 2019-20 school year the district was at 55 percent. 

This information will be presented at Parent-Teacher Night as well, Brown said.

No action was taken.

In a separate matter, Lawton Trekell was hired to teach history and be the head baseball coach at Centerville.

Principal Andja Sailer said he has been enthusiastic during the interview and questions process, and thinks he would be a good fit for the school.

The board approved the hire unanimously.

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Apple Springs looks to boost test scores

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apple springs ISD logo 250By Tony Farkas

APPLE SPRINGS — STARR test scores for the Apple Springs ISD were higher than the state average, but could be better.

The ASISD Board of Trustees discussed the results at its regular meeting on July 8.

Superintendent Cody Moree said that the district’s overall scores were lower than normal, but on par or slightly better than the state averages. He said that the math scores were exceptionally good.

However, he said that the results, coming off a year where education was interrupted because of the pandemic, should not have been used.

“My opinion is that none of the state's scores should have been published this year,” he said. “If anything, they should have only been used as diagnostic information moving forward.”

Moree said the district’s mitigation plan for the future is comprehensive, and includes an emphasis on curricular vertical alignment, longer instructional periods in core subjects, a district-wide reading and writing initiative and the hiring of a dedicated instructional interventionist.  

In a separate matter, only students commented on the school receiving grant funding during a public hearing held during the board meeting.

ASISD is scheduled to receive $808,000 in ESSER III and $363,000 in ESSER II funding, Moree said. The bulk will be used for instructional personnel, technology and student services

“It is important to remember that the life of these grants is spread out over more than three years,” he said. “During that time frame, we will dedicate at least 20 percent to direct student learning loss mitigation. We will also focus on student and staff mental and emotional health.”

A small portion will be reserved to make our infrastructure less prone to virus transmission, he said.

In other business, the board:

  • changed the date of the August meeting to Aug. 19;
  • discussed setting a date for a public hearing into the school’s tax rate. Moree said the district budget looks to be in good shape for the coming year, and he anticipates no changes in the tax rate; and
  • set a date to open the annual bids for goods and services for 1 p.m. Aug. 19.
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Trinity Council talks more grant work

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By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — The Trinity City Council began planning for the use of grant funds it received to help shore up its infrastructure.

Mayor Wayne Huffman said the city received a $35,000 grant to assist planning the work, which will be paid for by a separate $4.2 million grant for work on parks, water and wastewater services, drainage and streets.

Carlos Beceiro of GrantWorks facilitated the discussion, Huffman said.

In a related matter, the city tabled a request to seek bids for grant administration and engineering services related to the Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant program.

Huffman said the council did not have enough information about the grant, so action was delayed.

He also said the HMA grant was a gamble, in that the city would be required to put up certain fees, which would not be reimbursed should the grant request be denied.

In other business, the city:

  • appointed Council Member Clegg DeWalt as the city’s representative on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments board of directors; and
  • tabled a discussion regarding the hiring of a police officer.
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Trinity County Treasurer Arrested

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Bob DockensBob Dockens

By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — A Trinity County elected official was arrested Friday for an outstanding warrant.

County Treasurer Bob Dockens was arrested on a warrant for a Nov. 11, 2020, traffic citation that was issued in Corrigan.

The charge was for passing a stationary emergency vehicle.

Police reports indicate that Dockens did not show for a scheduled court date on the citation, and an arrest warrant was issued on May 18.

The Corrigan Police Department contacted the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office while doing a warrant sweep, and Dockens was arrested by Trinity County Constable Mark Cole.

Sheriff Woody Wallace said his office was notified Friday morning, but since Dockens was attending a meeting of the Trinity County Commissioners’ Court, he was allowed to finish the meeting and then quietly left with officers for booking.

Wallace said that it was his understanding is that someone in Dockens family took care of the charges in Corrigan; the Sheriff’s Office was notified later Friday that Dockens could be released.

Dockens did not immediately return calls for comment.

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Groveton Council changes police chief pay

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By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Groveton City Council approved a pay range for its police chief, but it took prodding from Interim Police Chief Daniel Kee to get his pay adjusted to the new rate.

Mayor Tommy Walton suggested a rate of $18 per hour for a new hire, and then after a year of service the rate would be raised to $20.

Walton also said that the council intends to seek applications for another 30 days before making any decision on replacing John Raiford, who resigned in May. Additionally, the city plans to allow any new chief to fill the open position, leaving the city’s law enforcement at one full-time officer and reserves.

However, Interim Chief Daniel Kee asked about the rate he is being paid, which is not $18; he also said that his 10 years of working for the city should mean his pay should be raised to $20 per hour.

He also questioned why the city decided to extend its search without discussing it with him.

“I’ve been back there cleaning up the office, and no one asked me about another month,” Kee said. “There’s people working for the city making more than that and not getting shot at.”

After a back-and-forth discussion between Kee and Council Member Steve Casper on his tenure, the council approved raising Kee’s pay to $18 per hour.

In other business, the council:

  • approved a resolution to purchase a pumper truck and other assorted equipment for the Groveton Volunteer Fire Department, using grant funds the city will apply for;
  • discussed using local vendor Williams Wrecker Service for the city’s needs;
  • approved continuing the city’s compensation amount for the mayor;
  • re-appointed Council Member Ralph Bennett, who was absent, to his current position of Mayor Pro Tem; and
  • approved a measure to begin the process of spending $28,963 to stock a new fire truck for the GVFD, expected to arrive in 2022.
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