GISD eyes redistricting board seats


Discussions of an upcoming school board election led to talk of redistricting for such an election at the Gonzales Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Jan. 11.

Two GISD Board of Trustees members terms are up in May 2021: Secretary Josie Smith-Wright  in District 4, and Sandra Gordon in District 7. The seats will be on the May School Board election ballot.

Superintendent John Schumacher said the redistricting follows the 2020 U.S. Census, which is updated every 10 years to reflect new information about population size and distribution. This could change where boundary lines lay for school board districts, but not for the district itself. The Inquirer has requested both proposed plans which are being reviewed by the board ahead of the next meeting, where the measure may appear on the agenda as an action item.

“According to law if the district utilizes any form of single member districts for the election of district representatives to our governing body, the district is obligated by law to review the district political boundaries following each decennial census,” the board agenda states.

An order and notice of election for School Board Districts 4 and 7 was approved by the board, as well as the district’s Early Voting Clerk Lucy Pena and 12 members of district staff as deputy clerks.

The district also approved five-year goals for literacy, math, and college career military readiness in the district. Presented by Curriculum and Instruction directors Tessa Cain and Amanda Fullilove, as well as Gonzales High School Principal Michael Garza and Chief Academic Officer Melissa Skinner, the plan outlines increases in testing goals by around 20% in each category. Included in these goals are increases in the number of students taking Texas Success Initiative (TSI), ACT and SAT exams, as well as providing preparation opportunities for these exams.

A financial report was received from Business Manager Ashley Wilke, who said there had been some changes to Coronavirus relief funding. More funds had been allocated to the Texas Education Agency, changing the deadline for the Prior Purchase Reimbursement Program which had allowed the district to bulk-order Chromebooks and iPads for students. This means the district will have to wait a bit longer to learn when they will be reimbursed for that purchase.

Chief Technology Director Renee Fairchild said the district would also move forward with the purchase of 200 more Chromebooks for the next class of students, an expenditure which has already been included in the budget, and does not require a budget amendment. However, a budget amendment for minor changes related to a passthrough name and identification number for reporting purposes was approved by the board.

In other business:

  • Reports regarding enrollment, which had fallen slightly since the last meeting, were given by district Superintendent John Schumacher.