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This profile was last updated on 4/21/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mrs. Cara Cooke

Wrong Cara Cooke?

Superintendent

Phone: (903) ***-****  HQ Phone
Kilgore Independent School District
301 N. Kilgore Street
Kilgore , Texas 75662
United States

Company Description: Kilgore Independent School District strives to provide our employees with the highest quality of benefits with the most competitive and affordable rates. In the...   more
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Education

  • Neches High School
  • master
    Stephen F. Austin State University
  • bachelor , education
    University of Texas Tyler
86 Total References
Web References
"The determination by the facility ...
www.kilgorenewsherald.com, 21 April 2015 [cached]
"The determination by the facility committee was that really number one - dual credit tuition and fees scholarships - was in the best interest of our students because we are trying diligently to grow that area and provide opportunities for our students to have access to dual credit classes," KISD Superintendent Cara Cooke told the board.
For example, with help from Kilgore Economic Development Corporation and Kilgore College, Cooke said, the district is receiving a grant that will allow KISD to get between $150,000 and $160,000 in welding booths for students to use in dual credit welding classes. The booths can also be used for regular welding and ag mechanics classes when the dual credit courses are not offered.
"Great opportunity, but we want to make sure these students can access this and, of course, for some students, tuition is a problem, so we don't want that to be a hindrance," she continued.
Cooke explained the district was operating off of the local government code 272.001(j), which states, "A political subdivision may donate, exchange, convey, sell, or lease land, improvements, or any other interest in real property to an institution of higher education... to promote a public purpose related to higher education. The political subdivision shall determine the terms and conditions of the transaction so as to effectuate and maintain the public purpose. A political subdivision may donate, exchange, convey, sell, or lease the real property interest for less than its fair market value and without complying with the notice and bidding requirements."
In the case of Heights, the political subdivision is KISD considering exchanging the property for services from Kilgore College.
The partnership between KISD and KC has its main focus on its students, Cooke said.
KISD would determine the value of the Heights property by looking at the Gregg County Appraisal District documentation and the Region 7 Amortization information. When the district and the college agree on a value of the property, it would be placed in the books. From there, Cooke said, the school district would deduct tuition for students enrolled in dual credit classes at Kilgore College until the value had been exhausted through the years.
"I think everyone was in agreement to bring to you as a recommendation that that's probably the best and easiest way to do it," she said.
...
Although the KISD board had made a priority list of what needed to be done at the stadium, Cooke said, the trustees had never made a decision to move forward.
The first recommendation from the facility committee was to check with architect Huckabee about how much it would cost to develop a facility master plan for the stadium.
"We want to make sure that we look at the big picture that it may take several years to get there but make sure that we don't put something in a spot that eventually would have to be moved and cost us money," Cooke said.
...
Cooke said some areas cannot be fitted with railings because the space does not allow it yet. The committees and the board will have to look at the options available, including taking out some seats, to help ensure visitors' safety.
For the temporary ADA seating in the stadium, Cooke stressed that the set up would be temporary.
"We know that's going to be a big project to do permanent ADA seating, so what do we do in the interim to ensure that any of our guests that they would have access to some decent seating while we work toward what we really want," Cooke said.
Mrs. Cara Cooke ...
www.kisd.org, 25 Dec 2014 [cached]
Mrs. Cara Cooke Superintendent
Send email
Kilgore ISD Superintendent Cara ...
www.news-journal.com, 29 April 2015 [cached]
Kilgore ISD Superintendent Cara Cooke said this week that she will begin negotiations with Kilgore College regarding a former elementary school building.
School board members voted Monday to give Cooke their proxy to negotiate with the college for an exchange of services for the Kilgore Heights Elementary School building.
District officials said they would like to receive dual credit tuition and scholarships from the college for the Heights property.
"From what I understand, it would work kind of like a debit card," Cooke said.
"We would have a certain dollar amount that is the value of (the) Heights, and we would be allowed dual credit scholarships and tuition for our students that we would deduct from that value until that amount is reached."
Cooke said both entities are moving forward with students' best interests in mind.
"Once we've decided on this value of the property, we can go back to the college and begin negotiations to determine if we can come to an agreement."
Cooke said this exchange of services is the best way to handle the situation.
"This way, it goes straight back to the students. We are helping students go to that next level or the workforce."
Cooke would not said what the trustees believed the value of the property was, but it would be based on Gregg County appraisals.
The college has expressed interest in acquiring the Heights property though specific plans for its use have not been announced.
The board also voted to allow Cooke to seek a facilities master plan from Huckabee Architects, which recently completed the district's facilities study.
Cooke said the master plan would allow the district to seek temporary small fixes for issues at R.E. St. John Stadium.
"From the facilities study, we looked at aspects that needed to be addressed," Cooke said. "If we're going to look at really doing this right, we need a plan that would allow a clear picture for the stadium."
The district shares the stadium and its cost of upkeep with Kilgore College.
Cooke said once she finds out how much a master plan would cost, she will approach the college for discussion.
"In the short term, we are going to seek pricing for some temporary fixes," Cooke said.
The school district, KISD Superintendent ...
www.kilgorenewsherald.com, 17 Mar 2015 [cached]
The school district, KISD Superintendent Cara Cooke says, is in the midst of developing a plan for the property, a process that does not include outsideinvolvement, but that stated intent has been ignored.
"I feel like they have been trying to bully us," she said, "and I do not appreciate it, on behalf of the district, on behalf of the trustees, on behalf of this community that deserves to be treated with more respect than has been put forth."
...
In a follow-up letter to Cooke March 3 he wrote, "Your explanation for not delivering the letter to the trustees was unpersuasive ...
...
Responding to the criticism Tuesday, Cooke said she's at a loss for words.
"I have no idea why it's become personal shots at me. Everything he has said, I will say on a personal note, that is all untrue," she added. "It really doesn't get us anywhere. I don't really know why he's choosing to go down that road."
Having hidden nothing from the board, Cooke said she has nothing to hide now and has prepared an exhaustive timeline of the district's interactions - hers and board members - with Saccoccio and Dormitory Direction.
Yes, at the end of the timeline, Cooke concluded the developers have acted unprofessionally.
"I still stand on that. That is the only thing I have personally said about them," she said. "When you go back to the facts, which I think is where we need to stay, I have proof, I have foundation for that. All they're doing is just using words."
The facts, Cooke notes, are that the district has a public strategy plan for Kilgore Heights, one that includes longtime-partner Kilgore College.
No proposals have been requested, none have been formally received and none will be - that's not on the table because it's not appropriate in light of other priorities.
"At Kilgore ISD, with the property of Kilgore Heights, we have not put that out for public bids or proposals. Period. It was never out there for any bids or proposals," Cooke said. "We have been, for the past two years, talking with Kilgore College about their interest in this to expand the college and the needs that they have," being effectively landlocked, "and our desire to provide opportunities for our students of the City of Kilgore to have access to higher education opportunities through dual credit."
Whether anything will materialize of that back-andforth, Cooke can't say.
Regardless, "That is where we have been, as directed by the KISD board of trustees," she said, with ongoing negotiation as the number one priority for the property. "Number two would be, if that falls through, then we will open it up to outside bids and proposals."
Cooke says she tried to communicate that status to Soccaccio and the other developers, to no avail.
While reluctant to simply turn someone away, "I already knew we were headed this direction," and entertaining an outside firm's plans - when no proposals have been solicited - would be inappropriate.
The message, Cooke says, went unheard or ignored, contending the developers breached proper protocol in lobbying trustees to consider their plans.
"That's where we are," she said. "I'm frustrated that this has pulled my time and other people's time away from the task at hand," which is providing for the district's students and employees.
"I am spending valuable time saying the same thing over and over again, trying to defend the district and defend myself when it's not necessary."
Cooke doesn't want to go any deeper into 'he said, she said' than necessary.
"I'm sorry they are trying to make this personal," she said.
...
It's one thing to apologize, Cooke said, another to follow it with more and more criticism.
"This is very disturbing and something I don't believe this community - this community that I've grown to love - wishes to be a part of," she said, part of Kilgore for two years now.
Kilgore ISD Board President Karl Riley ...
www.kilgorenewsherald.com, 4 Mar 2015 [cached]
Kilgore ISD Board President Karl Riley (left), Superintendent Cara Cooke and Kilgore College President Bill Holda meet with both groups of trustees Monday night in KC's Devall Student Center.
...
Kilgore ISD Board President Karl Riley (left), Superintendent Cara Cooke and Kilgore College President Bill Holda meet with both groups of trustees Monday night in KC's Devall Student Center.
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