The Commerce Journal

February 22, 2013

Commerce ISD to pursue funding for uniforms, drug testing

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Currently the Commerce High School Marching Band marches in decade-old wool uniforms, many with holes in the knees and elboes.

David Polk, band director for CHS, wants to change that and create a unique look for the marching band.

“I am proposing that we purchase 125 uniforms, and if we need to add more it will cost the same as it does now,” he told the Commerce Independent School District Board of Trustees on Monday.

The cost for the uniforms is $262 each, making a total of $32,750 needed to order the uniforms needed for all of the students.

Polk said the current uniforms are in dire need to be replaced.

“They’re just falling apart and they’re made of wool, so in this Texas heat it’s just insane to march,” he said.

Polk said he contacted Fred J Miller Inc. to come up with a design for the band.

“It’s a polyester blend and it’s completely machine washable so it saves money on dry cleaning,” he said, adding that the design the company made will only be used for Commerce and comes with an eight year guarantee. “It allows students to look more professional.”

The board will hold a vote next meeting on the uniforms. If approved, the uniforms would be delivered in time for marching season this fall. The uniforms would be purchased through a purchase order and would be paid for using next year’s budget.

Blake Cooper, superintendent of CISD, asked Ron Bolton, with Ron’s Mobile Drug and Alcohol Testing, to present the board with a summary of how drug testing would work if the board were to implement it for its middle and high schools.

“You would have flexibility in how many students and how many times they test per year,” he said. Bolton added that many school districts do a benchmark test, testing every student enrolled in extracurricular activities at the beginning of the school year, and others test between 10 and 20 percent of the student population every month.

Bolton currently serves 80 school districts in Texas, and said that the best way for parents to be notified if their child tests positive, is through someone locally.

“The principal or whoever is designated over the drug program will call the parents if a student tests positive,” he said.

The cost would be between $18 and $20 per student per drug test, which Bolton said is the standard cost for drug testing.

“The cost is very reasonable,” he said. “When they get through their screen they can tell exactly what drugs are in their system.”

According to Cooper, if a student is caught testing positive for drugs, the first offense is a six-to-nine-week probation from extracurricular activities; the second is one full year from programs and the third is a bar for the remainder of the student’s high school career.

Bolton said all of the records stay with each high school and are not put on any student’s police record.