Ex-principal, coach to retire

12 employees taking advantage of ‘early-out’ offer in RISD

Allen Sanders was principal of three Rockdale ISD campuses, one in a former funeral home, assistant principal in two, and coached the Tiger varsity football team one season after the head coach quit. Allen Sanders was principal of three Rockdale ISD campuses, one in a former funeral home, assistant principal in two, and coached the Tiger varsity football team one season after the head coach quit. The man with the most unique resume in the history of the Rockdale ISD is retiring at the end of the school year.

Allen Sanders has been principal at three RISD campuses, assistant principal at two and even head football coach for a season during his 26-year career in Rockdale. His was one of 16 resignations accepted Monday by school trustees.

For the second straight year, the RISD has offered early-retirement options to its personnel to allow budget preparers the option to eliminate positions by attrition if so needed.

“Of the 16 resignations, 12 were through resignation agreements and 10 of them have indicated they plan to retire,” Dr. Howell Wright, superintendent, said.

That helps get the RISD about halfway to its goal of cutting an additional $2 million in expenditures, triggered by what Dr. Wright termed “inadequacy in the state funding formula.”

Also resigning at the end of the school year are head basketball coach Dusty Loewe (see page 1C ) and longtime elementary art teacher Michele Fletcher.

RESIGNATIONS—Others resigning at the end of the contract year are: Dee Maines, elementary teacher; Lynette Guerra, testing director/counselor; Dorothy Wright, RHS counselor; Kelly Flores, RHS math; Kay Vance, RHS vocational tech; Gena Helton, ninth-grade academy coordinator; Mary Cortez, RJH special education; Willie Cortez, RJH Spanish; Carolyn Wright, RJH special education.

Resigning, effective at different times were: Ashley Simpson, elementary nurse, April 20; Sandy Robbins, pre-K, June 4; Clint Adams, RHS social studies teacher/ coach; Karissa Norte, RHS math/coach.

SANDERS—Sanders, who also coached briefly in the Lexington ISD, has had a 30- year career in education.

He came to Rockdale in 1983 as football offensive line and track coach. By 1988 he was coaching the defensive line, track and basketball.

The next year, Jon Kramer, the newly-named RHS head football coach, quit during the scrimmage season and Sanders was pressed into service as head coach.

“We were very competitive but we lost four key games by a total of six points,” Sanders said. “I could have stayed in coaching but I decided to get my certification and go into administration.”

In 1992 he was named principal of the Community Based Alternative Campus, then located in the former Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home downtown.

Sanders moved on to become assistant principal at the high school, then was junior- high assistant principal, then became RJH principal.

From 2003-2008 he was high school principal before returning to the junior-high as assistant, the position from which he will retire.

“I’m thinking about working out something where I can still come back part-time, but I will officially be retired as of the end of June,” Sanders said.

BUDGETING—Offering “early outs” to teachers who will commit during the spring to not returning the following school term was a key factor in the RISD’s coping with budget cuts in 2011-12 and will be again.

Dr. Wright said the district, which faces an additional anticipated loss of $750,000 in 2012- 13, is looking at cutting 15 to 16 positions. Monday’s resignations take care of 12.

During 2011-12 the district eliminated four teaching positions, cut budgets by 10 percent, eliminated six coaching slots, dropped power lifting, consolidated bus trips for travel and dropped meals for athletic trips.

Also during the 2011-12 school year, because of increased property values which caused a state formula to kick in, the district had to send almost $3 million in “recapture” payments back to the state.

The district has prepared a questionnaire asking for public input on how to proceed with its budget cutting. (See Dr. Wright’s column, page 3B).

March is the traditional month for the board to deal with nonadministrative employee contracts for the upcoming year.

Administrator contracts were on the agenda during February board meetings.

During the meeting, trustees accepted personnel recommendations for the Rockdale ISD and Burleson-Milam Special Services Co-Op.

DEFERRAL—Texas’ new STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) tests began this week and board members ok ayed a defer ra l designed to delay the full impact of the new test.

Districts can defer for one year the provision that the STA AR end- of- course exam count for 15 percent of a student’s final grade.

Every school district in Texas is expected to take advantage of that deferral, which has will be a one-time situation.

In other business, trustees:

• Passed a resolution calling high-stakes, standardized testing of Texas Public School students “detrimental” to student learning.

• Accepted a memorandum of understanding with Temple College and the Cameron Economic Development Corporation to reduce college tuition for Rockdale ISD student taking Temple College courses at that institution’s Cameron campus.

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