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Tyler County News - Breakout

Chester ISD board receives reports

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Chester ISD logo template 300By Chuck Davidson

CHESTER – President Ray McKnight gaveled the regular monthly meeting of the Chester ISD board of trustees to order at 5:31 p.m., on Monday evening, a few minutes earlier than normal, due to the board having to do a two-hour training session after the meeting. 

Along with the six trustees, two Chester ISD staff members were present, along with one citizen. There was a public comment made prior to the regular agenda, asking the board to support the upcoming Chester Lions Club fish fry fundraiser on Saturday, May 7, which will take place at the Chester ISD Cafeteria.

Trustee Sam Handley gave the prayer and led the pledges then lawyer S. Killingsworth from the Linebarger firm was introduced to update the district on its property tax collections.  She reported that they sent out statements for the 2020-21 tax year to 205 property owners, and as of this month, nine of the top 10 accounts owing the district are in Polk County, which represents a small part of the district. 

The board then heard from business manager Austin Odom who reported that 92% of tax revenues are accounted for, that they have begun using a new sport officials payment program which expedites checks to them, that the district has supplied all staff with new radios (which work) and that two building water leaks had been repaired.

Consent agenda items were approved without comment and two motions were approved:  1) acceptance of $500 for math/science from Bill Dover/ExxonMobil, and 2) the 2022-23 Allotment & TEKS Certification form.  Superintendent Drake reported that enrollment is currently 219.  A quick executive session was held from 5:53 to 6:04 and then the meeting was adjourned.  Next meeting tentatively scheduled for the third Monday in May.

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Colmesneil council recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month

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ChildAbusePreventionMonthBy Mollie LaSalle

COLMESNEIL – The Colmesneil City Council held a rather abbreviated meeting last Tuesday and breezed through all agenda items in 30 minutes.

The first item on the agenda was the signing of a proclamation declaring April “Child Abuse Prevention Month” in Colmesneil. Several members of the Child Welfare Board were on hand to speak about the programs they offer, and the welfare of the children in their custody. The proclamation was signed and delivered to the board.

Ordinance No. 25-P was also signed which officially recognized the raising of the water/sewer rates which council approved in February; the rates went into effect in March. Council also accepted the resignation of Ashley Morgan, the assistant city secretary. Council will start the process of finding a replacement for Morgan as soon as possible, with an announcement on the city’s Facebook page as well as placing an ad in the Booster.

The financial and investment report, office report, and water/sewer reports were all approved in short order, as well as the minutes form the previous month’s meeting.

With no further business to discuss, council adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

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CISD approves calendars

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Colmesneil ISDBy Mollie LaSalle
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COLMESNEIL – The Colmesneil ISD Board of Trustees had its regular monthly meeting on Monday, and before getting to the agenda, a couple of speakers used the public forum portion to speak.

Krista Connelly spoke about the progress of the Colmesneil ISD Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), of which she is president for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Connelly outlined all of the things the PTO has accomplished during the year and thanked the board for the opportunity to speak. She also said she looked forward to a long and mutually agreeable working relationship with the superintendent and the board in the years to come. 

David Gardner also spoke during the open forum, and specifically asked if a bond election were passed, if the superintendent get a one or two percent cut of the funds. 

CISD Superintendent Eldon Franco seemed rattled by the question, and board president Kris Lindsey informed Gardner that the board “could not comment on that”. Gardner then asked if he could file an open records request to view Franco’s contract. Franco responded that “my contract is online, all you have to do is go to Colmesneil ISD.net and look up the superintendent’s contract”.

A discussion of the approval of the 2022-2024 school calendars was next, and after a heated exchange, board member Bo Bendy wanted to table it until, the next meeting. Board president Kris Lindsey responded “we have a quorum, and there is no call to table this item”. Kenneth Adaway called for a vote, and the school calendars were approved. 

Another discussion ensued with the next agenda item, which was to discuss and consider changing at-large board member elections, to election by position. The two at large board members, Bo Bendy and Kenneth Graham are up for re-election in November. This agenda item was not passed, with four for it and two against it. 

Reports were given by CISD principals Walter McAlpin and Yvette Carlton, and athletic director Cody Day informing the board of the progress of students/activities on each campus, plus the athletics department.

McAlpin was pleased to report that, after a two-year absence, the high school is holding their end of year athletic banquet on May 2, and the FFA banquet is scheduled for May 17. He is also looking into the possibility of having the annual Lake Day at Lake Tejas once again and is looking at either May 12 or 19. 

Carlton was informed the board that so far, there have been four children sign up for the upcoming Pre-K program in the fall. 

The elementary is holding a Pre-K round-up, which is in progress now to this effort. The elementary is also slated to take a trip to the zoo in Lufkin on April 21. 

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Bond election, ESD #5 on May 7 ballot

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Vote GraphicBy Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – On May 7, Tyler County residents have an opportunity to vote on proposed state constitutional amendments, as well as decisions on the ballot for school districts and other political subdivisions.

“In the upcoming May 7 election, every Texas voter will have the opportunity to vote on two proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution concerning property taxes, and many Texas voters will also be voting on mayoral, city council, and school board candidates as well as local propositions,” Secretary of State John Scott said.

Along with two proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, which voters will vote “for” or “against,” there are two other items up for a vote, a bond election for Woodville ISD and a proposed sales tax to benefit the county’s Emergency Service District #5.

The WISD bond election brings to the table for voters a $47,850,000 package of bonds for district-wide improvements. The recommendation to go out for a bond election came after a study conducted by a district facilities task force, comprised of Woodville residents, businesspeople and WISD staff members.

Among the scope of improvements that would be covered by the bond, if approved by voters, are a new Pre-K to fifth grade elementary school building and additions to the Career and Technical Education Center.

The ballot item pertaining to ESD #5 reads on the ballot as “adoption of a local sales and use tax in Tyler County Emergency Service District #5 at a rate not to exceed one and one-half percent in any location in the district.”

Dam B is the only area in the county without a 8.25% sales tax. At present, the sales tax rate is 6.75% in Dam B.

The sales tax would benefit the Dam B Volunteer Fire Department, if approved, and will not affect county tax levies in any way. 

For the constitutional amendment proposals, which were approved by a two-thirds vote of the Texas Legislature during its recent special sessions, the descriptions on the ballot are as follows:

Proposition Number 1 (SJR 2) SJR 2 proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of property taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled in order to reflect any statutory reduction in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the person’s homestead from the preceding tax year.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.”

Proposition Number 2 (SJR 2) SJR 2 proposes a constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from property taxes for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.”

Early voting for these items will run from Monday, April 25 through May 3. The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the early voting period. April 26 is the deadline to receive an application for a ballot by mail.

Applications for voting by mail need to be addressed to Donece Gregory, County Clerk, 116 S. Charlton, Woodville, Texas 75979.

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Child Abuse Prevention Month recognized in Woodville

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ChildAbuseBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – In a 12-minute meeting, the Woodville City Council tackled one agenda item and recognized a pair of citywide proclamations.

At its regular monthly meeting on Monday evening, Mayor Paula Jones read proclamations recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month and Fair Housing Month in Woodville. 

Jones read aloud the proclamation pertaining to child abuse awareness and prevention, which included statewide and countywide statistics on abuse and/or neglect of children from the previous year. 

Members of the county’s Child Welfare Board, as well as a CASA representative, were on hand to recognize the city in its honoring of the proclamation.

Jones also informed everyone present that Sunday, April 24 is observed as “Blue Sunday,” and encouraged everyone to wear blue to show support of awareness of child abuse prevention.

When Jones led the council into the regular agenda, aside from the regular consent docket, there was only one item up for a vote. 

City Administrator Mandy Risinger spoke to the agenda item, which was to consider for approval a “no response” to this year’s consumer price index adjustment to the municipal telecommunications right-of-way access line rate.

As Risinger explained, the Public Utility Commission recommends the rate it feels appropriate for the use of ROW access. The rate is passed on to utility consumers, both residential and non-residential.

Risinger recommended to take no action on the new rate adjustment, which would have been a 2.5% increase. Councilmember Herbert Branch motioned to take no action and Tony Greer seconded, and the council unanimously approved the “no action” vote.

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