Three school districts recognized for outstanding integrated pest management

May 01, 2009

Writer(s): Mike Jackson, 972-952-9232, mcjackson@ag.tamu.edu
Contact(s): Janet Hurley, 972-952-9213, ja-hurley@tamu.edu

HOUSTON - The Houston-area Klein Independent School District has won the annual "IPM Pride Award" for superior integrated pest management in Texas public schools.

The Arlington and Plano school districts near Dallas also earned praise, receiving honorable mention from the Southwest Technical Resource Center, based at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas.

"The districts were recognized for running first-rate IPM programs that employ a variety of non-chemical pest control techniques when and where they are appropriate," said Janet Hurley, Texas AgriLife Extension Service program specialist for school integrated pest management.

Integrated pest management provides quality pest control using up-to-date knowledge of pest biology together with the least-hazardous chemicals and pest-control techniques, according to the technical resource center's stated mission.

Hurley said judges noted three main factors in Klein's success: The pest management program has full support of the district's administration; it has well-trained, dedicated leadership; and it has grown consistently.

The state mandates integrated pest management in schools, but it is difficult to do well, Hurley said.

"Klein will serve as a role model for other districts where administrators want to upgrade their IPM programs," she said.

"The health of our teachers, staff and students is important to us, so we take our IPM program very seriously," said Tim Myers, who oversees Klein's program.

The programs in the Arlington and Plano districts have progressed well in recent years, Hurley said. Program leaders in the districts have worked hard to teach administrators, teachers and other staff members about pest control and supporting health and safety in buildings.

"I truly believe their programs will continue to improve in years to come," Hurley said.

Announcement of the 2008 awards were made at a mid-April meeting of Gulf Coast Maintenance and Operations, a branch of the Texas Association of School Business Officials. Administrators of the three winning school districts will be given the awards this summer at school board meetings, Hurley said.