The monthly meeting of the Huntsville Independent School District Board of Trustees was held on April 19th at 6:00 pm.
The public meeting began by recognizing Huntsville High School’s CTE Cosmetology students who won awards for hair and nails. Five Huntsville High School Wrestling team members also won top rankings at state finals. By the way, three of the winning wrestlers were girls. Go Hornets!
The Board of Trustees voted to pass the recommended pay changes for teachers and staff with the promise, that if there is money left in the budget, more money can be added to increase pay for new employees in the future.
The YMCA gave a presentation about their after-school programs that are held on HISD campuses. Many students are provided with scholarships for the program, based on their level of need.
The curriculum team of HISD presented the Benchmark test scores for Fall and Spring. There was a slight improvement in the scores from the Fall of 2017 to Spring of 2018.
The team discussed their plan of action to improve student test scores. The plan is already being implemented in the schools. They are focusing on teaching the curriculum that is being tested, providing instructional coaches to train teachers, providing intervention time to students who need it, testing students regularly and training the teachers to meet all of the TEKS standards.
The district’s new Curriculum director, Marcus Forney has vast experience serving schools and districts that need improvement. He is eager to serve our community and his philosophy is that teachers support students, principals support teachers, and the district employees support the principals and staff. School board president Tracy Stoudt summed up the idea well, “We need to get together being Hornet Proud and working together as a family.”
Early voting is coming very soon. October 23rd is the first day to vote early. Here is a synopsis of the State Propositions.
Texas State Proposition 1: Allows property tax relief to veterans and their spouses. Read more here, https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_1,_Property_Tax_Exemption_for_Partially_Disabled_Veteran_with_Donated_House_Amendment_(2017)
Texas State Proposition 2: Changes regulations on Home Equity Loans. Read more here, https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_2,_Home_Equity_Loan_Amendment_(2017)
Texas State Proposition 3: Puts limits on appointed officials length in office. Read more here, https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_3,_Appointed_Officer_Term_Expiration_Amendment_(2017)
Texas State Proposition 4: Requires the courts to inform the State Attorney General when a state law is challenged for constitutionality and forces the court to have a waiting period before ruling a law unconstitutional. Read more here, https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_4,_Require_Court_to_Provide_Notice_to_Attorney_General_Amendment_(2017)
Texas State Proposition 5: Expands the definition of sports teams to allow more organizations to participate in raffles. Read more here: https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_5,_Definition_of_Professional_Sports_Team_in_Charitable_Raffles_Amendment_(2017)
Texas State Proposition 6: Provides a property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of fallen first responders. Read more here: https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_6,_Property_Tax_Exemption_for_Surviving_Spouses_of_First_Responders_Killed_in_Line_of_Duty_Amendment_(2017)
Texas State Proposition 7: Allows financial institutions to hold drawings. Read more here: https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_7,_Financial_Institutions_to_Offer_Prizes_to_Promote_Savings_Amendment_(2017)
You can view the ballot for your precinct on the Walker County Elections website. Look under Sample Ballots: http://www.co.walker.tx.us/department/division.php?fDD=25-113. If you don’t know your precinct, you can find it on your Voter Registration card or call the elections office at (936) 436-4959.
Mader Hedspetch is running for a second time to serve on the Huntsville City Council. City Council members are service positions that require a lot of time and effort on the Council Member’s parts. Sitting Council Member Ronald Allen is also running to keep his spot on the Council.
Early voting begins on October 23rd and Election day is November 7th, 2017.
Mrs. Hedspetch has lived in Huntsville her entire life and she wants to serve the people of Huntsville. She wants to be an advocate for Ward 3 and speak for what the citizens need. She is truly dedicated to helping the people of Huntsville.
Ronald Allen is the current councilman for Ward 3. He has lived and worked in Ward 3 his entire life. Mr. Allen explains that he has been speaking out and wants to continue to work to maintain “the basic needs in our ward – good streets, paving, maintenance of road and utility improvements that were long overdue because of being pushed back on the projects lists, getting sidewalks, clean and safe parks, fire hydrants maintained, and ditches cleaned, and addressing drainage issues. There is a lot of competition for funds and capital projects and I would like to continue to speak up for our ward.”
Since serving on the City Council, police presence and city maintenance in Ward 3 has improved. Other items have been better maintained. Mr. Allen says, “I think Huntsville will grow and I believe the role of the city is to be prepared, not to try to force growth by throwing money at it. Where I hope the city will go is to realize we need to continue to focus on what we currently have, even as the city staff’s focus shifts to the bond issue projects. I also have a great deal of concern about the track record of some of our projects the city has taken on in the past. The bond issue project management is of great concern to me. Going into the design and construction phase of the bond issue projects demand diligence, thought, review and oversight.”
For More Information about the election and sample ballots for your precinct, go to: http://www.co.walker.tx.us/department/division.php?fDD=25-113
There are two candidates vying for the Ward 1 City Council position in the upcoming election. Newcomer and Huntsville native Timothy Davis vs. sitting Council Member Joe Emmett. Timothy Davis wants “to preserve and protect the local business’, citizens, and properties (residential and downtown), while catering to the inevitable change happening to our city.”
Mr. Davis speaks about Huntsville. “I love the people, the pine trees, and the history of our town and how it has played a major part in our county and state. Huntsville is uniquely rural and… it is the only place I call home.”
Timothy explains why he wants to serve on the Huntsville City Council. “I want to be apart of the decision making process that benefits this town and the citizens in it, especially in Ward 1. That ward is full of folks who need a serious and open-minded substantial representative… I want to show this city and specifically Ward 1, what community can do for community.”
Huntsville voters have a choice to make this election cycle, between the current sitting Mayor Andy Brauninger and a challenger, Mr. George Russell.
Our current Mayor Andy Brauninger is running for his second term as Mayor of Huntsville. His 2 priorities at this time are the Economic Development plan and the fulfillment of the bond proposal passed by the voters. The Economic Development plan the Mayor supports is focused on having a plan for growth which includes, protecting the nature and beauty that surrounds Huntsville and increasing the number of high-paying jobs we have here. He explains, “Industrial jobs bring higher average payrolls. Allowing citizens to buy homes, new vehicles, and support our retail establishments. I believe that retail follows the payrolls. A well-trained workforce and career opportunities for residents and graduates benefit us all.”
Huntsville is currently in a state of growth. Growth needs to be managed responsibly and methodically to best benefit the citizens of Huntsville. The Mayor believes that “The Huntsville lifestyle is very important to protect and nurture. We should support and enjoy our history, arts, downtown district, and parks. In addition, we must continue to place emphasis on our hometown festivals, Walker County Fair and Rodeo, sporting events, children’s activities , and cultural events at both the University and in the larger community. We need to continue our dedication to tourism and attracting visitors to share this jewel we have.”
Mr. George Russell is running against Mayor Brauninger for the Mayoral seat on the City Council. He wants to help maintain the natural beauty of Huntsville and its forest ecosystems. He believes it is the job of the Chamber of Commerce to increase Huntsville’s Economic Development. He does not want tax dollars to be wasted on it. He doesn’t agree with the method of “giving tax incentives to huge chains and multi-national companies” at the expense of small local businesses. Mr. Russell also disagrees with the new paid parking that has been installed around Sam Houston State University.
Some of the things that Mr. Russell would like to see improved are: bicycle lanes on city streets, pedestrian friendly walkways on University between 14th and 16th Streets, and a lower speed limit for safety. He wants to be very hands on as a Mayor and he has many unique ideas for the the City of Huntsville.
Show up at the polls on Election Day, November 7th, 2017 or Vote Early beginning on October 23rd, 2017. Get more information about the local election here: http://www.co.walker.tx.us/department/division.php?fDD=25-113.
Michelle Bright is running for the Ward 4 Seat in the Huntsville City Council. She served our country in the National Guard for 14 years. She currently serves on the City of Huntsville Veterans Advisory Board. She has worked in Home Health Care in the past. She comes from a long line of Sam Houston State University Graduates. She currently lives in Huntsville with her family and wants to continue to serve the terrific community we live in.
Mrs. Bright said, “I love so much about Huntsville.The people, the parks, the trails, simply everything.”
As a member of the military, Michelle has, “learned leadership, teamwork and how to adapt to different situations. In my civilian profession I learned how to be caring and compassionate, to put the needs of others before myself.” Michelle’s life experience has given her the ability to juggle many tasks at once and to know how to prioritize. Mrs. Bright shares that she wants to serve on the City Council “to make a difference in my community and to be a voice for the residents of Ward 4.”
Joe Rodriguez is also running for the Ward 4 Seat on the Huntsville City Council. I asked him a few questions and he took the time to give me very thoughtful and informative answers. Mr. Rodriguez hopes that the citizens of Huntsville will choose to re-elect him because he has served as City Councilman for the last four years to the best of his ability. He takes time to research every issue that comes to the council’s attention. One of his proudest accomplishments is that taxes have not been raised in Huntsville during his tenure on the council.
Mr. Rodriguez is retired and able to dedicate much of his time to preparing for City Council meetings and being well informed on the issues the city is dealing with.
Councilman Rodriguez knows that Huntsville will continue to experience more growth. He is concerned that the growth be managed properly so that “the city will grow in an organized and deliberate way.” He said that “the city staff and the council are constantly working to find ways to manage that growth in order to maintain the aesthetic beauty of the city. The council and staff will also continue to work on attracting more industry/commercial companies to our city for better paying jobs that might keep some of our Sam Houston State University graduates here instead of moving to other cities.”
Mr. Rodriguez’ biggest concern for Ward 4 specifically is uncontrolled drainage. The new development is changing the natural drainage of the land which causes water to flow onto other properties. The city staff is working with the landowners to have efficient water flow on these properties. Another issue that concerns the citizens of Ward 4 is vehicle speeding. There are many families that live in Ward 4 with young children. Speeding through residential neighborhoods needs to be prevented.
His biggest concern for the City at this time is to help oversee the results of the bonds that were just passed by the citizens of Huntsville. He wants to be sure that everything approved by the citizens is done right the first time. He wants to help keep the staff and council accountable for fulfilling what the voters agreed to.
Mr. Rodriguez and his wife have lived in Huntsville since 2005. He spends much of his time volunteering. Besides serving on the council, he works at the Huntsville Memorial Hospital emergency room 1 day each week. He volunteers in multiple positions at his church, writes devotionals and teaches Sunday school. He appreciates the opportunity to serve the citizens of Huntsville as the Ward 4 City Council Member.
Be sure to vote beginning October 23rd for Early Voting or on November 7th! For more information about the election go to: http://www.co.walker.tx.us/department/division.php?fDD=25-113
This measure shifts money from the Debt side of the HISD budget to the Daily Expenses side of the budget.
After the money is shifted, the district will be eligible for more Texas State Aid. This will give the Huntsville Schools $750,000 more without costing the citizens of Huntsville any additional money. Our tax rate will stay the same.
A YES vote gives the district a lot more money to work with.
1. It will allow teachers to finally get a raise after 4 years.
2. It will help the district to start operating in the Black, instead of in the Red.
When: Tuesday, September 12, from 10:30-12pm
Where: Huntsville Public Library Community Room
When: Saturday, September 23rd from 8am-2pm
Where: 102 Tam Rd at HWY 75N
More information on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/walkercountymastergardeners/
Employees at the local grocery stores have worked hard day and night to restock shelves and check-out customers. HEB allowed their employees to go home at 3:00 pm on Sunday and Monday for their safety.
Prison employees have been working double-shifts to cover the shifts of those who live outside of Huntsville and were unable to travel to work.
The Huntsville Item released the Sunday issue on Saturday to keep the employees safe during the storm. Churches decided to cancel services and encourage their members not to travel. Individuals are allowing displaced Houstonians to stay in their homes.
Huntsville Independent School District has cancelled school for Monday through Wednesday to ensure that the schools are available as shelters for anyone who needs shelter. Evacuees are currently staying in the shelter.
The Veterans Museum/Storm Shelter has been ready and is currently filled up with evacuees from Baytown etc. Thank you to all of the volunteers who are helping these people at such a difficult time. If you are able to volunteer, the Huntsville High School shelter could still use help. Please call 936-435-6138. Donations for the victims are being accepted at the Huntsville ISD Transportation building located at 95 Martin Luther King Dr. until 6 pm Monday evening.
The City of Huntsville has been very proactive during this extreme weather emergency. They have sent out regular emails updating citizens on the progress of the storm as well as dangerous flood areas to avoid. The police and fire departments have put out blockades to deter people from driving down flooded roads.
At least 30 people have died in the Houston area because of the floods. It is due to them driving through flooded areas and being stuck in their vehicles.
People in Huntsville seem to be staying home and choosing to stay safe. If you don’t need to drive somewhere, don’t.
Some areas of Huntsville have more flooding than others. Downtown Huntsville was able to drain pretty quickly, thanks to our new Town Creek being completed in many areas.
Walker County Judge Danny Pierce has issued a curfew for all of Walker County. People are not to be travelling in Walker County between 10pm and 6am from today until the curfew is lifted.
If you would like to receive email updates from the City of Huntsville, sign up here: http://www.huntsvilletx.gov/list.aspx
I am very proud of how the citizens of Huntsville are reacting to this Tropical Storm. Thank you for staying calm and helping those in need.
Huntsville, Texas is still, “The place where I love to live.”
Hurricane Harvey is on its way to Huntsville this Weekend.
Why not make a plan to stay indoors, and enjoy some relaxing time with your loved ones?
A list of things to have on hand:
Relax, enjoy being in the house. Its a great time to unwind and refresh for Next Week!