A push for school safety and 3 other takeaways from Monday’s Georgetown ISD trustees meeting

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Georgetown ISD Superintendent Fred Brent will develop a subcommittee to evaluate the district’s safety and security measures, GISD board of trustees President Scott Stribling said Monday.

The announcement was prompted after a parent of Forbes Middle School pleaded with the trustees not to let threats to school safety go unnoticed. The parent told trustees her daughter had fears of attending school after another student made several threats on social media and claimed to have access to guns.

“I want to stand here and see my daughter graduate. I don’t want to see her shot,” the mother said.

Stribling said the subcommittee will consist of trustees, top-level administrators and the Georgetown police chief.

“I’m a father of three in these schools, and I think we (as trustees) represent 21 kids,” Stribling said. “It’s not something we take lightly at all, and we share the same concerns you do.”

Additional details on the subcommittee were not immediately available, GISD Director of Communications Melinda Brasher said.

Here are three other takeaways from Monday’s GISD board meeting:

1. Two new elementary schools

Trustees unanimously voted to move forward with developing plans for two proposed new elementary schools.

The board granted an award of construction manager-at-risk to Bartlett Cocke General Contractors to develope plans for the two schools pending a possible bond referendum in November.

The move does not mean the building of the two schools is in the works. The decision was rather a proactive and time-saving measure for the district to be ready if the new schools need to be built, Brent said.

As the district and the city of Georgetown continue to grow, Brent said district officials believe they will need the two schools on the ground by 2020.

“We know the need for elementary (schools) is coming and, in anticipation of that, we’re designing them and planning with a construction management group so that we can save time and effort,” Brent said.

David Biesheuvel, GISD executive director of facilities and construction, said with the action’s approval the district would be prepared to start building if trustees call for a bond election and voters give their approval. If not, the district has the plans on the shelf for when they are needed, he said.

“So, we’re not out anything, we’re just being proactive in a timely manner,” Biesheuvel said.

2. New board members sworn in

Marcos Gonzalez and Ben Stewart, an incumbent, were both sworn into new terms as trustees.

Gonzalez, who narrowly defeated Stevie Jones with 51.32 percent of the vote in the May 5 election, will sit in Place 6 on the board. He has 15 years of experience in the banking industry and is a board member of the Georgetown Education Foundation.

Stewart will sit in Place 7 for GISD after previously serving in the position for a year and a half. He took over Ronna Johnson’s position on the board after Johnson resigned to move her family to the Dallas area. Stewart is a technical consultant for Dimension Data North America and was PTA president for two years.

GISD trustees serve three-year terms and are elected at-large by voters.

3. A reshuffle in leadership

During the meeting, trustees unanimously elected new board leadership for the upcoming year.

Stribling was re-elected as president, and Place 3 Trustee Andy Webb was elected as vice president. Webb previously served as secretary.

Place 5 Trustee Melanie Dunham, who was previously the board’s vice president, was elected secretary.

The new roles were effective immediately.

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Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.
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