KISD okays top assistant
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Board members, principals and teachers at the Tuesday regular board
meeting met their new assistant superintendent.
Dr. Peter Running, who was just hired in May as the new Kemp Independent
School District superintendent, introduced his assistant, Sam Swierc.
Swierc was principal at Seguin High School until he was hired by KISD
(see related story on page 4A).
“He is bringing a great deal of administrative experience with him,”
“I have met all the administration and I am looking forward to meeting
teachers and other staff,” Swierc said.
“I feel like I am the luckiest man on earth,” he added.
High gasoline prices are causing school districts and businesses to
increase their mileage allowances for their employees.
However, it has become a guessing game for those trying to set rates.
“I recommend we allow our rate to fluctuate with the state rate,”
Running said, explaining if a flat rate was set and the price per gallon
of gasoline dropped, the district could end up over-paying.
“I recommend we reimburse at whatever the state rate is, and not lock
ourselves into a set amount,” he said.
Trustees agreed and approved paying the fluctuating state rate.
The state rate is currently 44.5 cents a mile and could go as high as 48
cents a mile soon, trustees were told.
In other business, trustees:
• approved the student code of conduct, which will be in the student
Running said he considered “zero tolerance” a dangerous concept.
He said he would like to take a student’s background into account.
• did not adopt the student handbook as a whole.
“TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) is not recommending the board
adopt the handbook, but rather leave it to administrative policy,”
• heard a presentation on state-mandated teacher salary increases from
The subject will be discussed further at a budget workshop, set for 6
p.m. Friday, July 28.
Running said the approximate $3,000 raise designated by the state
includes $500 formerly used for insurance, plus $500 matched by the
The actual paycheck increase teachers will see is $2,000.
Step increases already scheduled will also be paid.
• heard the superintendent’s report.
Trustees were informed that five candidates are seeking the vacant TASB
board of directors seat, including KISD board president Keith Foisey.
“No one candidate can expect the 50 plus one number of votes (needed for
an automatic win),” Running said.
The five candidates will be interviewed by the TASB committee, and they
will make the decision, he explained.
• heard the team of eights training will be scheduled on a Saturday in
September or October.
• heard Running and seven administrators will be out of town attending a
leadership training session Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 19-21.
• changed the September board meeting to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, to
accommodate the leadership session.
• will have their pictures taken prior to the Tuesday, Aug. 15, board
• heard the list of new hires as presented by Swierc.
GBCEDC amends SO Sportsplex pact
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation board
members slightly revised the EDC’s performance agreement with S.O.
Sportsplex and approved a new fiscal year (FY) 2007 budget Tuesday.
Board member Todd Hogan asked for the revision, which would give the EDC
a continuing option to repurchase a portion of the five-acre tract it
bought from the city to serve as the Sportsplex site.
Sportsplex developers Mark Spahlinger and Steven Orsak will be
developing three acres of the site in Phase 1 of their project, an
indoor soccer complex.
Hogan said the EDC should be able to buy back the undeveloped two acres
– at its original cost – if S.O. Sportsplex wants to sell that portion
of the tract prior to the end of its 10-year performance agreement.
The option would allow the EDC to control the eventual development of
that two-acre portion, if the Sportsplex project does not expand to
develop the entire tract, Hogan said.
Once the terms of the performance agreement have been met, Spahlinger
and Orsak will be able to sell the undeveloped property, which is likely
to have increased in value by that time, Hogan said.
“If it’s 10 years and one day, they can sell,” he said. “I just want to
protect the taxpayers.”
“Once he’s met his performance agreement obligations, he can do what he
damn well pleases (with the property),” board member Lloyd McCarly
Later, Spahlinger told the directors he’s been having difficulty getting
his site plan before the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission, saying
building inspector John Moseley had been requesting eight complete sets
of blueprints, not just a site plan.
Other projects have not had to provide such detailed documents so early
in the building process, Spahlinger said.
“We’re having to pay $7,500 for an architect to draw the inside of a
building and put a stamp on it,” he said.
Board member Patsy Black, who also sits on the city council, said she
had previously asked Moseley to take her through the building approval
process, step by step.
Hogan said the situation illustrated a need for a written step-by-step
process that could be given to any developer who asked for that
“We’ll see if we can do something about this tomorrow,” Black told
Spahlinger, and the board unanimously agreed to have Black to pursue the
issue with the city, and lead the effort to come up with a developer’s
Board members unanimously approved an FY 2007 budget, which estimated
just under $1.6 million in revenues and approximately $800,000 in
The budget included a 6 percent salary/benefits increase for
administrative assistant Rita Evans, and also reflected a $50,000 grant
provided earlier in the meeting to Heritage Cove developer Ken Landers.
During the discussion, Hogan said he would like to see some funds set
aside for marketing purposes.
The fund could be used for events to draw visitors to Gun Barrel City,
such as a commercial fireworks show, Hogan suggested.
Board members agreed to put in $5,000 for marketing and another $2,000
for office equipment.
In other business, the directors:
• met with developer Frank Aaron, accompanied by former EDC board member
Curtis Webster, who complained their project was being delayed because
the storm runoff from the Lowe’s Home Improvements Center parking lot
was being diverted into their property.
Runoff water was supposed to be diverted into storm drains along State
Highway 198, but the actual site work doesn’t match the plans Lowe’s
presented to the city, Aaron charged.
“They’re supposed to have a settlement basin there, but they don’t,”
Aaron said. Water running off the parking lot is coming across four of
eight lots in the development, he added.
Lowe’s, based in North Carolina, has not responded to their requests for
action, Webster said.
“Sounds to me like you need to get somebody who can get Lowe’s’
attention,” McCarly said.