AISD board met Tuesday night

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Alice Independent School District superintendent Henry Herrera brought up several legislative issues Tuesday night that were covered by the state during the 80th legislative session.

Several changes made could affect the students of Alice ISD for years to come.

The legislation concerning steroid testing is awaiting the governor's signature, Herrera said.

The state put $3 million towards the project, which will be governed by the University Interscholastic League (UIL).

Herrera said he compared prices of testing between three companies, with prices for testing raging from $95, $140 and $150 each. He said it was possible that the state may issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the testing to secure a lower price.

As the legislation now stands, only a percentage of Texas schools and area students would be tested for steroids.

The focus would be on those who participate in UIL events, such as athletics, but could be spread to larger areas, such as academic groups and other extra curricular activities, as is done on other campuses in the area, including Orange Grove, Sinton, Freer and George West.

The board covered the testing as an informational item, and has not made a decision on how broadthe testing would be, how it would be conducted, how much it would cost or who would be tested under the legislation.

Herrera also presented information on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), which will end for high school students in the 2010-2011 school year. It will be replaced by an end-of-course examination in those grades, but testing will still continue for those students in the elementary grades, Herrera said.

Another change for districts is in the area of transportation.

By 2010, school busses will need seatbelts. That same rule applies to leased school busses for the 2011-2012 school year.

Herrera said the legislation shouldn't be too much of an issue for AISD, but smaller districts in the area may run into problems.

"Normally you can fit up to three kiddos to a seat, but with seat belts, you can only fit two. That might be a problem for smaller districts," Herrera said.

Herrera said an AISD bus is kept until it reaches 100,000 miles or more, and said the district could consider purchasing busses with seatbelts during the next budget cycle. The district normally purchases two busses at a time.

All current busses were grandfathered in the legislation, Herrera said.