Switzer sworn in, Jasper president as board prepares for tax election

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Trustees for Troup Independent School District added a new board member and selected a new president, and they are preparing for a tax ratification election.

Andy “Coach” Griffin Jr. resigned in July from the Troup Board of Trustees after nine years of service. Trustees approved Robbie Switzer to replace Griffin at the board meeting Monday, Aug. 7. Switzer was sworn in and immediately went to work.

Griffin also served as president of the board, so trustees selected Shane Jasper (Place 3) to replace Griffin in that position. The board also elected to keep John Whitsell as vice president and Lisa Lewis as secretary.

In July, the board called for a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) to ask district voters for a 13 cent tax increase per $100 evaluation. The election will be Saturday, Aug. 26.

Early voting will conclude Tuesday, Aug. 22. Early voting times will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Troup library, 102 S. George, in Troup. Early voting also will be from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, at Troup Elementary School, 201 E. Bryant Street in Troup; and from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, at Troup High School, 927 Arp Drive in Troup.

Trustees also approved a public meeting to host a presentation of the facts of the funding of the election at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the TISD Administration building at 201 N. Caroline Street in Troup. Citizens will have the opportunity to ask questions.

TISD Superintendent Stuart Bird said brochures that provide information about the TRE were mailed Monday to TISD voters.

Funding for public schools in Texas comes largely from state funds as well as from local property taxes and federal funds. The State Legislature has been at a standstill in an effort to overhaul a broken school funding system, forcing school districts across the state to find ways to fund a budget without some of the state support.

If TISD voters pass the request for a tax increase, Bird said the district can recover about $655,000 of those funds and the district will have a balanced budget.

The district may only provide factual, unbiased information to the public about the TRE and information related to the TRE at the public meeting. Bird said he and trustees will be available to answer any questions and concerns the public may have about the TRE.

The district also will host teachers for a breakfast Monday, Aug. 14. Krish Dhanam will be the guest motivational speaker for the district. Dhanam, who has an MBA with the Institute of Management Technology in Ghaziabad, joined the Zig Ziglar Corporation in 1991 and eventually became the vice president of global operations. Personally trained by Ziglar, Dhanam delivers a message of home, humor and balance. He has authored programs on staff development, sales, leadership, personal development and communications.

Former Tri County Leader editor Suzanne Loudamy was honored by the board. She received a plaque for an FFA Honorary Lone Star Degree award because of her news coverage of not just the Troup FFA, but for the FFA district. The award was presented by TISD FFA Advisor Preston Lindsey.

Loudamy also received recognition as a member of the TASB Media Honor Roll. The award was presented by Bird.

TISD Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Katie Preast, requested that trustees approve the Troup High School course for State credit. Preast said the course will ensure that students have the necessary 26 State credits and will remain on the distinguished student plan. The board unanimously approved her request.

Trustees also approved the Salem Cemetery warranty deed. In a mix-up, the deed went unsigned by the district for more than two decades.

Regarding the TRE election, applications for ballots by mail should be mailed to Smith County Elections Administrator, 302 E. Ferguson Street, Tyler, TX 75702, or by e-mail to jstanfield@smith-county.com. Applications for ballots by mail must be mailed no later than close of business Friday, Aug. 18.

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