Louise High School’s science teacher may not get brand new labs like proposed in the failed bond package, but at least she will have enough equipment and supplies next school year to keep her from shuttling students to Wharton Junior College.

At Monday’s meeting, the Louise ISD trustees approved $16,000 worth of equipment and supplies for teacher Keri Jones’ two dual credit biology courses and the chemistry and physics labs. During the regular school year, after teaching class all day, Jones would drive her students in the district van to the junior college on Monday evenings to use its lab.

“We have folks on the road and that’s tying up our vehicles and our teacher’s time on the road there and back, that’s a hardship,” Superintendent Garth Oliver said. “Her biology scores are 100 percent for first-time testers. She is doing an impeccable job, doing the same level of work as the college level.”

”I am not a fan of dual credit. Most of the time it does not have the relevance and the rigor of what STAAR is supposed to be testing than an AP class would have,” board president Linda Alderson said.

“But when we have someone who teaches on the level that she does, and is teaching this on our campus, and not on a computer, where kids get hands-on instruction and does the lab as well, I think it is something we need to find the money in our budget to do,” she added. “Students will be prepared for other college science classes. This is an investment in the future of our students.”

Jones gave a presentation about her needs at Monday’s meeting and a sketch of a lab.

“The space is too small especially if we order all of this stuff for the labs. My storage room and shelves are packed. It is half the size of what TEA (Texas Education Agency) recommends,” Jones said.

The bond architect’s original plans were for three science labs total at a cost of $75,000 each.

“We can’t do that, but this is a start,” Alderson said.

Oliver was advised by the board to go out for bids for any lab repairs and minor demolition/construction that would involve taking out a wall between two classrooms to make one large room and adding shelves. Water lines work but some of the gas lines do not work and need cleaning, Jones said.

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