Fifty West Orange – Cove CISD employees have submitted early notification for separation with the District. The deadline for early notification was noon, March 18.

As a result of a budget deficit of several billion dollars, the state of Texas has been forced to greatly reduce funding for public education.  As all other local school districts are, West Orange-Cove CISD has been struggling to deal with this crippling economic reality without greatly disturbing the lives of those who depend on them- some for education, others for livelihood. 

In order to reduce the size of the workforce to a number more conducive to their budget, the Board of Trustees of WO-C CISD several weeks ago presented an action plan, the first step of which is an “incentive for early notification.” The plan applied to the first 60 employees who would notify the Human Resources Department of their intent to leave the school district either in retirement or in resignation.  The plan would allow the employees to receive ten percent of their base pay. 

“We are very happy that during these trying times we are able to respect our employees by offering them this early notification incentive. This option will be extremely successful in helping us to address our financial difficulties,” WOCCISD Superintendent James Colbert said.

One of the most recognized faces of West Orange-Stark High School announced his retirement on Friday, March 18. After 30 years at WO-S, Head Football Coach Dan Hooks’ retirement is effective at the end of the school year, June 30.

“It is sad to see an iconic staff member retire from our District, especially with the legacy that he has created with West Orange – Stark football. We value and respect him.
“When people across this State think of West Orange – Cove School District or West Orange – Stark High School, they think of Mustang football, Dan Hooks, and Dan R. Hooks Stadium. We are going to miss him tremendously,” Superintendent James Colbert said.

Hooks said “We have had great coaches and good players. I had a great time and hope to see the program continue and do well.”

Hooks will remain the Athletic Director for WOS High School, but the naming of a successor isn’t in the immediate future right now.

Coach Hooks became the WO-S High School Head Coach in 1981. Under his leadership, the WO-S Mustangs won the UIL 4-A Football State Championship in 1986 and again in 1987. The Mustangs also advanced to and played in the State Finals in 1988 and 2000.

The Early Notification incentive was approved by the WOCCISD Board of Trustees on Feb. 28 and then presented to district employees earlier this month. After the March 18 deadline, 50 employees had declared their intent to leave.  In addition to the 50 who have left voluntarily, 15 have been laid-off involuntarily.  Employee separation will occur at the end of an employee’s service days for the 2010-2011 school year.