On the agenda: Dripping Springs ISD board discusses bond projects, vacant principal roles, class size

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The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees met Jan. 21 for an agenda review in advance of its Jan. 28 meeting. Three items of interest include updates on 2018 bond projects, progress on hiring two new principals and an anticipated vote on increasing maximum class size.

Update on 2018 bond projects

In May, Dripping Springs ISD voters narrowly approved a $132 million bond  to address the district’s aging facilities and to increase enrollment capacity.

Construction on the first set of projects—which includes renovations at Dripping Springs High School and Dripping Springs and Rooster Springs elementary schools—will begin at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year.

Over the coming months, the district will work on designs for a new Walnut Springs Elementary School, renovations for Dripping Springs Middle School and construction of the district’s fifth elementary school.

The board will receive a presentation Jan. 28 by DSISD Project Manager Mike Garcia and DSISD Director of Facilities and Construction Clint Pruett, which could provide a greater level of detail on the status of the projects.

Principal hiring update

The district is looking to fill two principal vacancies.

The hiring committee for the Dripping Springs High School principal search is scheduled to meet Jan. 31 to review applications. Interviews will begin in February.

DSISD has posted a Walnut Springs Elementary School principal position. A hiring committee will form by the end of January. Application review will take place in February and interviews will begin in March.

Re-evaluating class size

Maximum class size for area elementary students might increase again.

DSISD, in December 2018, waived a state enrollment cap of 22 students per class for kindergarten through fourth grade. As it stands, the district’s maximum class size for these elementary grades is 23 students.

However, in light of rapidly-growing student enrollment, the board is expected to vote on a request to allow a third grade class at Sycamore Springs Elementary to have 24 students.

Should the board opt to keep the cap at 23 students, a new teacher would likely be hired, and third grade students would be pulled from existing classes at Sycamore Springs to create an additional class.

“We are ready to act, should the board decide we need to do something,” Superintendent Bruce Gearing said during the meeting.

The Jan. 28 vote could be close, based on comments from board members on Tuesday.

“I’m very much in favor of hiring another teacher,” Trusteer Mary Jane Henrick said. “More kids are coming [to the district].”

Henrick said she will be absent for the vote on Jan. 28.

“I don’t know how I’ll vote, but I am uncomfortable approving a roster with 24 students,” trustee Barbara Stroud said.

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Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.
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