Link to history of Zavalla coloring book below:
September 26, 2009
ZAVALLA - Zavalla ISD Superintendent David Flowers is looking for community support of two propositions in the November bond election. "A yes, yes is a win-win for Zavalla ISD," Flowers said. Proposition 1 is a tax ratification election to change the overall tax rate to $1.23, increasing maintenance and operations from $1.04 to $1.17. The 13-cent increase will raise $300,000 in funding for ZISD — money that Flowers said is needed to maintain the district's financial stability. "The state is not very kind to Zavalla ISD. We're the sixth lowest target revenue district in the state of Texas. We have to have an election to raise those funds," he said. "Those 13 pennies will allow us to maintain financial stability, fund competitive teacher salaries, pay increased fuel and utility costs, the cost of supplies and give us additional money to fund smaller projects." Proposition 2 is for a $5.5 million bond worth $10.8 million of which the district will pay back $2.8 million — a "once-in-a-'long-time' opportunity," Flowers said. "The great News about this project is we were able to fill out an application for a quality school construction bond — Q-SCB they're called," he said. The Texas Education Agency in a letter to the district said it qualified for federal stimulus, and will be able to implement the $5.034 million it qualified for at a low interest of zero to half percent. Interest savings will be $5.018 million. "We also qualify for monies through the state for existing debt allotment so when you take off what the state has said they will pay — $2.9 million. The school will pay back $2.8 million of the project," he continued. "I'm not going to say this is a once in a lifetime opportunity but this is a once in a very long time opportunity that Zavalla ISD has to take advantage of this." For $2.8 million ZISD will be able to provide a safer elementary school — the No. 1 priority of the project, Flowers said. "Our elementary has five buildings and they're all separate entrances. This bond election will allow us to get all of those buildings under one roof creating a safer and more secure school," he said. "Student safety and school security are paramount at this time. I believe that is key. Five new classrooms, a state of the art library and the added bonus of adjoining the existing buildings." Other bond priorities include a track for the district's track team who currently practices in the parking lot or in a field behind the school. Other priorities include an on-campus baseball field, concession and storage facility and a new cafeteria providing healthier lunch times. "We're doing four lunches starting at 10:15 a.m., that's too early for those little ones to be eating lunch," Flowers said. "We do have concerns so we provide a snack late in the day for those kids, but still if they've eaten breakfast by 7:45 a.m. they're not as hungry at 10:15 a.m. They may not eat as much lunch and at the end of the day they're starving when they get home. This will be a way to help alleviate that problem and not have to eat so early by going to three lunch periods and combining some since we'll have more space." With the passage of both propositions, the property tax on an average Zavalla home, valued at $51,993, would increase just more than $100 from the 2009 rate. The approval of propositions 1 and 2 will not affect the property taxes for those more than 65 years old with a homestead exemption as those tax rates are frozen by state law. Community members are invited to an Oct. 15 town hall meeting at 7 p.m. in the ZISD cafeteria. Propositions 1 and 2 will be discussed and questions answered, he said. "We have a little school but big dreams. We have an expectation of excellence here — with the best students, the best teachers and the best parents," Flowers said. "The opportunity to fund all of those projects for $2.8 million is a huge blessing for ZISD. I just ask that all the voters look over the materials that will be been sent to everyone in the district in early October. Contact me if they have any questions. We'll provide them with all the information they need to make an educated decision whether to support both propositions or not." Dates to remember: Oct. 5 Last day to register to vote Oct. 15 Town Hall meeting at ZISD cafeteria 7 p.m. Oct. 19 Early voting begins Oct. 19-23 Early voting at ZISD Administration building 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Oct. 23 Early voting at ZISD baseball field 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct 26-30 Early voting at ZISD Administration building 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Oct. 29 Early voting at ZISD Eagle gym 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 Last day of early voting Nov. 3 Election Day voting at Zavalla Sub-Courthouse 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. 134 Warren St.
Nov 3, 2009
Two Angelina County school districts will soon be starting campus improvement projects with the passing of bond elections and a tax ratification Tuesday night. Diboll school officials were happy to report that the $22.5 million bond passed by a vote of 488 to 307. As a result, a new K-6th campus will be built east of the location of the high school on Lumberjack Drive, according to Superintendent Gary Martel. The school is looking at using approximately 50 acres of land east of Deer Trace subdivision and Lumberjack Stadium for the new campus. The bond will also fund improving traffic safety flow and parking, particularly at the junior high, upgrading and repairing high school science labs and career and technology areas, adding appropriate district technology infrastructure and equipment and updating safety and security at all campus buildings. Additional bond projects will include upgrading the high school vocational, band and fine arts areas. Zavalla ISD Superintendent David Flowers said he's excited at the opportunity the approval of a $5.5 million bond will bring to his students. The bond passed by a vote of 363 to 177. The number one priority of the bond will be to create a safer elementary school, Flowers said. Additional bond projects will include a track for the district's track team which currently practices in the parking lot or in a field behind the school, an on-campus baseball field, concession and storage facility and a new cafeteria providing healthier lunch times. "This was a great evening for Zavalla ISD. For the community to support this is tremendous," Flowers. "I look forward to getting these projects underway." Also approved in the election was a tax ratification to change the overall tax rate to $1.23, increasing maintenance and operations from $1.04 to $1.17. The 13-cent increase will raise $300,000 for ZISD — money that Flowers said is needed to maintain the district's financial stability.
A groundbreaking ceremony for Zavalla’s new elementary school was June 3 and construction began on June 7, using bond funds, according to superintendent David Flowers.
As part of the $5.5 million bond that passed in November 2009, the district will have a new school, expand the cafeteria, and build new softball and baseball fields, a new track and concession stands.
Flowers said he and school board members, as well as members of the facilities committee were on hand for the ceremony.
The elementary school will be located in the center of the campus, connecting four different buildings for a safer, more secure school atmosphere, Flowers said.
“Our number one priority was student safety, and we think this will stop people from coming and going so easily,” Flowers said. “This is huge for our community.”
Two smaller buildings, including a two-room building and the library, will be torn down to make room for the new facility.
Flowers said the facility will have five classrooms, a library and offices.
The Zavalla community made state history by being the first school district to pass a bond and a tax ratification on the same ballot, according to Flowers.
“The community has provided us with a great opportunity,” Flowers said.
“We have an expectation of excellence and the community saw that and helped us out. The community came together and passed the bond which will enable us to do so much. The new school will take Zavalla a long way into the future.”
The district expects the new track and athletic fields to take eight months to complete, just in time for the district track meet next April.
The elementary school project should take 12 to 15 months to complete. Students will begin the 2011-2012 school year at the new facility.
Some energy-efficient windows will also be put in using bond money, Flowers said.
July 11, 2010
ZAVALLA — Motivate and captivate. That’s the motto Zavalla Superintendent David Flowers has prescribed to during his short tenure at the Class A school district.
Living in a small community like Zavalla certainly comes with perks, as much as it comes with disadvantages, especially for the younger population.
Flowers said it’s his personal goal to make sure his students — members of 'Generation Next’ — are ready for the real world by providing quality education and interesting extracurricular activities.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us — this group has always had the Internet,” Flowers said. “So we have to captivate these students in class and motivate them with quality instruction.”
Being the highest on the school district food chain doesn’t separate the two-year veteran, he said.
“I believe in management while walking around,” Flowers said. “I start every day in the cafeteria visiting the kids and then I speak with the teachers. I have a routine in the morning. Being at a small school allows me to do that because I can walk from one end of the campus to the other. I am able to have that interaction with the kids, and that is special to me. They know who the superintendent is, and if there’s an issue, I’m available and approachable.”
The Zavalla community passed a $5.5 million bond in November 2009, allowing the district to break ground on a new elementary school, cafeteria and athletic complex; a move Flowers said will take Zavalla “well into the future.”
The elementary school will have five classrooms, a library, offices and teacher workroom. The cafeteria will not only alleviate the crowds during lunchtime, but also provide the community with a larger meeting space.
“When we host our banquets and community functions, we will have more seating,” Flowers said. “The school is used in numerous functions, from concerts to banquets and class reunions. The school is the hub of the community.”
Flowers said it was with this community support in mind that the small town passed the bond with a zero percent interest rate.
The new track, baseball and softball fields and concession, storage and dressing facility is located behind the high school.
“We have as nice of a gym as anywhere around, but when you add the track/softball/baseball complex, we will have the Mercedes Benz of athletic facilities that can compete with any 1A school around, but also will be an envy of even larger districts as well,” Flowers said.
The bonds were secured at zero percent interest, which Flowers said saved the district more than $700,000 over the course of the bond project.
“We got good advice and the board made good decisions. They planned and the timing was great,” Flowers said. “When you look at the projects going on, it just builds great school and community pride.”
In the 2008-2009 school year, Flowers said the district saved $170,000, and he said they are on track to save twice that much this past year.
Existing debt had also been refinanced, saving the district $60,000.
“We’ve tried to make decisions that are best for Zavalla ISD. There are a lot of districts that are going through a lot financially — laying people off or cutting programs — but we haven’t even had to address that,” he said. “We are a financially stable district, plus we’re able to provide all of these wonderful things for our kids.”
The district also adopted a new curriculum at the beginning of the past school year which aligns kindergarten through 12th grade.
“That has helped us close some gaps, and we’re all on the same bus, traveling the same road,” Flowers said, adding in some cases they saw drastic improvements in TAKS scores this year.
“We’ve identified areas where we need to improve, and we’re going to continue to work on TAKS scores,” Flowers said. “We’ve got good momentum and have made big gains. In the areas where we struggled a little bit, we have a plan in place.”
Through a partnership with Angelina College, high school students can earn up to 30 hours of college credit through a video conferencing program before graduation.
“Our distance learning lab is second to none. For other schools, they are able to bus their kids to Angelina College, but where we are we would lose so much time in the day. This has been a great partnership,” Flowers said.
Stephen F. Austin State University also offers an online math class to Zavalla students.
Flowers said his 29 seniors who graduated in 2010 collectively received $275,000 in scholarships and a majority had a “post-secondary passion,” whether it was attending a two- or four-year college, the military or trade school.
“Whatever it is, when they leave Zavalla High School, they are prepared for whatever their dreams are,” he said.
Without many activities in town outside of school, athletics and extracurricular activities are vital to student success and growth as responsible individuals of the community, Flowers said.
“A large number of our kids participate in athletics or FFA or FCCLA,” Flowers said. “Our art and 4-H students had a tremendous year at the youth fair. The Destination Imagination competed in the global competition. Several kids advanced to regionals in UIL academics. Extracurricular is huge here.”
The biggest challenge for the small district is encouraging students that coming to school is worth the effort.
“We have to get students to believe that they can succeed, and that we care about them,” Flowers said. “We were down in attendance this past year, and we need parents to understand how important it is for their kids to be here. Providing that education for Generation Next is a challenge. We want for them to see the importance of education and to be at school. We want them to know they can succeed.”
Flowers said he’s ready for the upcoming year.
“We’re going to be back and better than ever and starting another round of the Expectation of Excellence tour,” he said. “We’re on a journey to exemplary and our students, teachers and community are all excited about that.”
Flowers said his vision includes a safe school, being efficient with tax money, improving instruction and renewing the heart and courage of the teachers. By adding the elementary school, the new curriculum and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, he thinks the district is accomplishing that goal.
ZAVALLA — More than 300 Zavalla residents attended the grand opening of the Zavalla Independent School District Athletic Complex, which includes a new concession stand, baseball and softball fields and track. The athletic complex was part of a $5.5 million bond package that was passed in August 2009.
During the ceremony there was a dinner, first pitch at the new baseball and softball field and first lap at the new track.
“This is a great day to be a Zavalla Eagle,” Zavalla ISD Superintendent David Flowers said. “This is a dream come true for the Zavalla community. This facility benefits the future of Zavalla students as well as the community.”
Flowers said the facility is open to all students for practice and Zavalla community members for exercise.
“This is a great place to bring the family and have kids practice sports and parents watch or walk. The community is joining together and celebrating for something we have been waiting a long time for,” Flowers said. “The kids deserve to have fields they can be proud of.”
Jan West, girls basketball and track coach, said this allows Zavalla to host events, practice and give students in athletics a sense of ownership.
“The older students are very emotional and thankful about the track,” West said.
“Now they come to practice excited and cannot wait to run on the track. I have seen a big difference in motivation and effort.”
West said she started the track program in 1989, but students always had to practice on the road or in a vacant lot using chairs as hurdles.
“Sometime we were able to use Huntington’s facilities, which we appreciated,” West said. “We have been a successful team and went to the state meet nine times. Now that we have something to practice on, I expect to go to state more.”
While students practice on the track, West said, some community members run on the outside lanes and watch the students.
“This has created a great sense of community,” West said. “The students and community members can run together. This is an amazing thing for our little town.”
Ricky Oliver, head baseball coach, said this state-of-the-art facility has been a long time coming.
“Two years ago we went to a field like this and the players’ eyes just lit up,” Oliver said. “I think this will draw more interest and give players a reason to be proud.”
During the 1950s the baseball program was dropped because there was nowhere to practice, Oliver said. In 1986 land was purchased and a field was built away from the school.
“It was dangerous to constantly transport students,” Oliver said. “Now we have a field that is right by the school that students can walk to. Most of our students do multiple sports so now everything is in one convenient location.”
Now if you drive a mile away from Zavalla, Oliver said, you can look back and just see the athletic facility’s lights.
“We don’t play football and rely on four sports,” Oliver said. “For me looking back at the athletic complex is like ‘Friday Night Lights.’ It is incredible.”
Work continues on the US 69 Corridor south of Lufkin between Huntington and the Angelina County line, south of Zavalla, that will widen the two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided highway. The projects are being completed in three phases.
Phase One: From Huntington to FM 844, Pinto Construction, Nacogdoches, TX, contractor for the $10.1 million project, worked to extend the four-lane section of highway just south of Huntington. Traffic was switched in July onto new pavement on the west side of the roadway and work began to construct main lanes on the east side. Construction on Phase One is now complete.
Phase Two: From FM 844 to FM 1270 in Zavalla, Johnson Brothers, Roanoke, TX, contractor for the $72 million construction project, continues work that includes cement treating the subgrade material, constructing wingwalls, applying safety end treatments and concrete rip rap for bridge construction at the following locations:
US 69 at Shawnee Creek, northbound and southbound: Structures on the southbound bridge have been completed and construction of the bridge deck continues. Northbound bridge construction has not begun.
US 69 NB at Wetlands 1 and 2 (north of SH 63): Bridge construction at Wetlands 1 has been completed and crews continue working on bridge railing. Work to complete bridge railing on Wetlands 2 is beginning. Dirt work has begun for Ramp A and beams and panels are being set.
US 69 Overpass at SH 63: Drill shafts have been poured. Work will continue until the bridge structure is complete. Beams are planned for placement in mid-December.
Ramp C and Ramp D at Sandy Creek, south of SH 63: Beams have been set and crews continue to work to pour the bridge deck, railing, and panels.
In coming weeks, dirt work for main lanes will begin. Flexible base will be placed and bridge work will continue through the project.
Phase Three: From FM 1270 to the Jasper County line, crews have cleared right-of-way and are beginning work to widen the roadway to a four-lane divided highway. Drewery Construction Co., Nacogdoches TX, contractor for the $37.5 million project is scheduled to complete the final phase in early 2023, weather permitting. Phase Three will tie the US 69 South projects in the Lufkin District to the US 69 widening that is being completed by the Beaumont District which will be known as the Big Thicket Corridor.
The finished projects will enhance safety, improve traffic flow and provide better connectivity between Lufkin and Beaumont. Motorists are urged to use caution, reduce speed, expect delays and obey all traffic control through the project work zones.
For media inquiries, contact Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or call (936) 633-4395