GONZALES — The Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR), coaches’ resignations and HVAC units needing to be replaced were all topics of discussion in Gonzales Independent School District’s (GISD) recent board meeting on Monday.
Last August, GISD received an overall “F” rating in the new TAPR. The ratings were the first in the state’s new A-F accountability rating scale. GISD officials pointed out then that the scores were preliminary and “a representation of administrative errors that cause the district to sacrifice well-earned points,” GISD Superintendent Dr. Kim Strozier wrote at the time.
But even with an appeal, GISD retained an F, due to what the district is calling a “coding error.”
During discussion of the report, board trustee Sue Gottwald spoke during the meeting, telling onlookers, “this was a coding issue, the individual responsible for this is longer with the district, so this will not happen again.”
“Dr. Strozier and the board has taken steps to make sure that this would not happen again,” she continued. “So please, those of you who are here, take it back to your fellow students, take it back to your fellow teachers, please tell them they are doing a wonderful job and we know it. We know how hard you work and we are very very sorry that this happened.”
According to Strozier, the district has “put new structures in place regarding coding.”
“The impact on our grade due to incomplete data entry was huge since the errors affect all three domains for the JH, HS and district levels,” Strozier told the Inquirer. “We would have earned a C if correct. We have new leadership for this area of accountability, have implemented training for all involved and require effective and ongoing monitoring of reports with a final review by our Regional Service Center support systems.”
When asked by trustee Josie Smith-Wright if GISD was progressing, and if the district should earn better than an F this upcoming report, Strozier told her, “we believe we are [progressing]. Absolutely.”
“We have progress at every school,” Strozier added.
Three coaches among list of resignations
Three coaches were among a list of staff resignations during the board meeting on Monday. One of the coaches was Gonzales girls basketball head coach William “Brock” Ramsey, who spoke about his impending resignation during the public comment portion of the meeting, stating that his absence would be “a disservice to the girls in the [basketball] program.” Ramsey read out a statement with most of this team sitting in the crowd as support.
“I’m here this evening to support the Lady Apache basketball players,” Ramsey told the board. “I turned in my resignation earlier today because I felt that was the way the system is, I had no other avenue but to go ahead and turn it in. I do not want to leave Gonzales but if the board accepts my resignation, then I will move on. I do want you to know that I was blindsided by the meeting that I had last Thursday with the head of HR and the principal. Until the minute that meeting began, I had no idea my coming back as head coach of girls basketball was in question. At no time this season was I given any indication that there was anyone upset with how I was running the program or any other parts of my being here. Only thing I’ve been told, and that wasn’t until [Sunday] night, was someone was upset that I wasn’t involved with Little Dribblers. I am here tonight so that it is made public that if there are people unhappy with what a coach is doing, then hopefully next time they’ll be given the opportunity to know what the problem is and a chance to fix it. If I am not here as the head girls basketball coach next year, it’ll be a disservice to the girls in the program. I was successful before I got here and I will be after I leave. But for many of these girls, this next year or two will be their last opportunity.”
Ramsey has been the head coach for two years, making the playoffs twice. This past season, the Lady Apaches were 28-11 overall, losing in the bi-district round to Crystal City, who went four rounds deep, losing in the Region IV-4A semifinals.
Ramsey wasn’t the only coach who turned in his resignation. Head softball and volleyball coach Sam White and assistant football, basketball and baseball coach Chris Martin officially turned in their resignation before the school board meeting.
Martin was hired this past offseason.
White was hired in the summer of 2014 as the head softball coach. The Lady Apaches made it to the playoffs three times out of the four seasons he was head coach. He was named head volleyball coach this past season. Gonzales went 5-7 in District 30-4A volleyball, fifth in district behind La Vernia (12-0), Navarro (10-2), Pleasanton (7-5) and Cuero (5-7).
Assistant coach Larry Jackson took over head coaching duties for the Lady Apaches softball team last Friday against La Vernia. As of press time, the Inquirer was not informed whether that was a permanent move.
Newly hired athletic director Michael Waldie is expected to start fulltime on March 18.
All resignations, including the three coaches, were accepted by the school board.
HVAC equipment in need of replacing
The board discussed plans on replacing 189 HVAC units that use the refrigerant R22.
“By Jan. 1, 2020 the refrigerant R22 will not be available for purchase,” Strozier explained. “There are currently 189 HVAC units using R22. They will need to be replaced to comply with new legislation regarding the R22.
“We have a plan to complete replacements with a Phase 1 beginning soon starting with 89 units at North Avenue, East Avenue, and Gonzales High School. Phase 1 comes at a cost of $1.5 million. Financing options were presented and action was taken to approve a contract with Trane (contingent on legal review) to complete the job.
Phase 2 will follow to replace 100 units at Gonzales Junior High and Gonzales Elementary. Financing options for this phase were not reviewed due to the year lag. In the interim, the district will house R22 to support the second phase units until they are replaced.
“Our HVAC units are primarily over 30 years old and not as efficient as what is current. We know the new units will be like for like replacements and we have had no problems with the units over the years so are pleased with the replacement plan.”
School board election canceled
This year, places 1 and 2 for the GISD board of trustees were up for election, but only longtime incumbents Gloria Torres and Justin Schwausch filed for the spots and will return to their seats unopposed. With no need for an election, the board approved the certification of unopposed candidates as well as approved the order of cancelation for the May 4, 2019 trustee election.