Huntsville ISD Superintendent talks school safety and teacher pay raises

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HUNTSVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - Huntsville ISD is preparing to go back to school on August 15. Tuesday, the district's superintendent, Dr. Scott Sheppard, appeared on Brazos Valley This Morning to talk about changes coming in 2019.

"We're excited to welcome our kids and our staff back for the '19 - '20 school year. Last year, we centered our work around the simple phrase 'Building Champions' and we plan to continue that work this year." Sheppard said the district saw a number of improvements in the previous year and they hope to continue the trend.

School Safety
One issue on the minds of many parents is school safety. Toward the end of the 2018-2019 school year, a student was arrested for bringing a handgun to Huntsville High School. Sheppard says the incident is proof that the school's safety measures work.

"We have a well-vetted plan, we study it constantly, we practice and drill and prepare for emergencies," Sheppard said. "In that particular incident, no one was ever in harm's way because of swift action and recognition by our staff members and great response from law enforcement."

The superintendent says his district will now focus on the emotional wellness of students and recognizing calls for help.

School Finance
During the recent legislative session in Austin, state lawmakers passed a financing bill providing more funding for schools. Dr. Sheppard says he and his staff are pleased with the focus on education funding. The measure will allow for what he calls "much deserved" pay raises for Huntsville teachers.

"All of the rest of our new funding will go straight to instructional improvement," Sheppard said.

Throughout the month of August, BVTM will interview at least a dozen superintendents from local districts. Tune in weekdays from 5:00 - 7:00 a.m. on KBTX.