Breckenridge Texan

BISD Board accepts Townson’s resignation, appoints Johnson

BISD Board accepts Townson’s resignation, appoints Johnson
November 19
16:04 2019

At recent meetings, the Breckenridge Independent School District Board of Trustees appointed a new board member to replace one who resigned last month, chose a search firm to help hire a new superintendent and considered the complaint of a resident who lives near the high school.

Board Members

At their Nov. 11 meeting, the trustees appointed Ardes Johnson to fill the board’s Place 7, which was vacated in October when Paige Townson submitted her resignation.

In her letter of resignation, Townson explained that she and her husband are moving to Pelican Bay and that she would no longer be able to serve on the board. “It has been an honor and a privilege being on the BISD School Board these last five years,” she said in the letter. “I am so proud of all that we have accomplished, and I have no doubt the Board will continue these successes in the future.”

The board also considered Nic McClymond and Cheyanna Gill for the Place 7 position, going into executive session to review questionnaires from each candidate. After returning to the regular session, the board voted 4-2 to appoint Johnson. Graham Reaugh, Jeff Dooley, Roy Russell and Carrol Kanady voted in favor of the appointment, and Paul Lippe and Cody Wimberley voted against it.

Johnson was immediately sworn in and joined the meeting.

The appointment is to fill the remainder of Townson’s term, which is up for election next year, as is Place 6, which is currently filled by Dooley.

The BISD Board of Trustees election will be on May 2, 2020. Candidates may file to run for Place 6 and Place 7 from Jan. 15 to Feb. 14. Applications for a place on the ballot are available at the district administration office, 208 N. Miller St.

Additionally, during the meeting, the trustees elected Kanady to serve as the board secretary, a position that Townson held.

Superintendent Search

Also in the Nov. 11 meeting, the board heard proposals from three search firms seeking to assist the district in finding a new superintendent. Tim Seymore retired from the position in August, and Earl Jarrett was hired as an interim superintendent.

Texas Association of School Boards – Executive Search Services, CCR Educational Consultants, and Education Solutions and Services presented their proposals. Kincaid Educational Consulting submitted a proposal but could not attend the meeting.

The board had a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 18, and chose ESS-TASB for the job.

Audit

In the Nov. 11 meeting, the board also received an audit report from Cheryl Merritt with Merritt, McLane and Hamby, PC, a certified public accounting firm in Abilene.

“All in all, this is a really good report,” Merritt said. “You have a strong balance sheet. You have plenty of current assets to pay your current liability. So, you guys are just in really good shape.”

Property Complaint

In the October and November meetings, the topic of a piece of property in the 500 block of North Live Oak Street, located across the street from the BISD Athletic and Fine Arts Facility, was discussed. In October, the board members considered a proposal by the home owner for the district to buy the house. During the public comments section of the November meeting, Ariel Arellano personally addressed the board about the problems his family has encountered since the school district.

Ariel Arellano, who lives across from the gym on the west side of the BHS campus, addressed the BISD board on Nov. 11 about the problems he’s had since the district turned the lots on either side of his house into parking lots. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

In the recent past, Jarrett explained, the abandoned houses on either side of the property at the center of the current issue were purchased by a citizen and donated to the school district. The houses were torn down, and the property was turned into unpaved parking lots.

Arellano’s home is between the two lots, located on the west side of the Breckenridge High School campus.

In a letter addressed to the superintendent and presented at the October board meeting, Arellano requested that the school district purchase the house for $135,000, a price he derived based on local prices for similar houses, based on the size and amount of improvements that he has done to the property. He described issues with noise, litter, damage to his fence, underage drinking, as well as problems with dust that causes problems for his son, Jesus, who has asthma and Down syndrome.

In the October meeting, the board members declined to vote on accepting Arellano’s proposal but agreed to look into the option of installing a privacy fence around the property to try and lessen the noise and dust problems.

Arellano attended the November meeting and publicly addressed the board. He explained that the issues for his family started with the construction of the big gym and have gotten worse over the years.

“It used to be very peaceful there; it’s not anymore for us, so we’re having a really hard life,” he said.

He described three incidents that happened in the previous week: A very loud pickup parked right outside the house and interrupted Arrellano’s nap that he was trying to take after coming home from work. Another day, the drivers of two pickups were blowing their vehicles’ horns back and forth at each other while the family was trying to eat. And, the next day, he had to tell some students not to leave a dead animal in the parking lot.

The parking lots are also a place to buy and sell drugs, he said.

“I’m nervous all the time. I would really appreciate it if you’d fix this problem once and for all,” Arellano said.  “I’m willing to move on. I’ll let you have the house. That way, you can fix the parking lot the way it’s supposed to be fixed and be done with the problem.

“I’ve been dealing with this problem for a while, and it’s just getting worse. And, it’s not doing (anything) but escalating. The kids already hate me and probably some of the parents, too. So, it’s not going to do (anything) but get worse,” he continued. “This is not the way to fix the problem by putting a fence on each side because the noise is going to be there and everything else is going to be there. I didn’t ask for this. I’ve been there for 25 years, and when I bought that place…it was very quiet and very nice. I didn’t think I was going to have to leave one day. Right now, the way it is, is just not a way to live, for anybody. I don’t think anybody would want to be in my shoes right now.  So I’d really appreciate it if you’d do something once and for all. Thank you.”

Because the topic wasn’t an official item on the November agenda, the board was not allowed to take any action.

Other business

In the October board meeting, the trustees voted to allow Cindi Woodward to replace the pumpjack that had been located in front of Buckaroo Stadium. The original pumpjack was recently removed.

Additionally, the board selected trustee Roy Russell as a nominee to the Stephens County Appraisal District Board.

Students of the Month

During the November and October board meetings, the schools presented the Student of the Month for each campus.

November

Emalee Wehunt was honored as the East Elementary Student of the Month for November by Principal Barbra Collinsworth and teacher Donna Wade. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Adam McCullough, pictured with Principal Prairie Freeman, was selected as the North Elementary Student of the Month for November. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Kaysi Wilcox was presented with the South Elementary Student of the Month certificate by Principal Kenna Rainey. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Breckenridge Junior High School Principal Mary Perkins announced the November of the Student of the Month, Alex Palacios, who wasn’t able to attend the meeting.

October

Krawford Kennedy shows off his East Elementary Student of the Month certificate for October, along with his uncle, BISD Board member Roy Russell; Principal Barbara Collinsworth; and teacher Halee Mitchell. (Photo by Tony PIlkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Joselyn Acosta received her North Elementary Student of the Month certificate for October from Principal Prairie Freeman and teacher Sonia Saucedo. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Alayna Hodges was honored as the South Elementary Student of the Month for October by Principal Kenna Rainey. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Chloe Whitmire received her October Student of the Month certificate from Breckenridge Junior High School Principal Mary Perkins. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Breckenridge High School Student of Excellence for the first semester, Axel Puebla, couldn’t attend the meeting, but his parents, Mercedes and Fidel Puebla, accepted the honor on his behalf. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Ardes Johnson, center, was appointed on Nov. 11 to the BISD Board of Trustees for Place 7, which was vacated when Paige Townson resigned last month. He was immediately sworn in and joined interim superintendent Earl Jarrett, left, board member Cody Wimberley, right, and the other board members (not pictured) in the meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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