The DCISD school board met in regular session on Tuesday, November 27, where they addressed their monthly agenda. The meeting was moved back one week from November 20 due to the annual week-long Thanksgiving break. Members present included Brad Woosley, Edgar Salazar, Russell Dial, David Mitchell, Jess Roberts, and Danny Escalante. Members absent were Cody Williams.
Before the regular meeting started a Public Hearing was held concerning the 2017-2018 Financial Accountability Rating Report and 2017-2018 Financial Management Report. This portion was conducted by Business Manager LaChrisa Rains. Going over different aspects of each report Rains informed the board the district passed all indicators receiving a district score of 90 and a rating of Superior. This is the 16th year of the School FIRST(Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas), which is a financial accountability system for Texas school districts developed by the Texas Education Agency in response to Senate Bill 875 of the 76th Texas Legislature of 1999.
The primary goal of the School FIRST program “is to achieve quality performance in the management of school districts’ financial resources, a goal made more significant due to the complexity of accounting associated with Texas’ school finance system.”
Texas schools are assigned one of four ratings: “A=Superior,” “B=Above Standard,” “C=Meets Standard,” and “F=Substandard Achievement.” Districts with serious data quality problems may receive the additional rating of “Suspended-Data Quality,” according to the TEA. Districts that receive the “F=Substandard Achievement” or “Suspended-Data Quality” ratings under the program must file a corrective action plan with the TEA.
During the Public Discussion, some groups were recognized for their recent accomplishment. Auto Tech instructor Scott Burkett introduced Kanda Varela and Hazel Valverde who received National Statesman award. They, along with Burkett, traveled to Washington D.C. to receive this award where they competed with other teams throughout the nation. In addition, high school principal Rick Martinez informed the board that Mr. Burkett was also named Teacher of the Year from the Texas Industrial Vocational Association (TIVA). This organization is an affiliate of the national organization called Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).
Also present were members of the Kelley-Dodson Parent Teacher Organization. They were introduced by Kelley Elementary Principal Lori Alexander. Those present included President Ashlee Ellison, Vice President Shannon Parker, Secretary Courtney Richardson, and Social Media Director Tracy Mitchell. Ellison went over the purpose of the PTO which included the organization’s goals and purpose. The purpose of the PTO is to enhance and support the educational experience at Dodson Primary and Kelley Elementary, to develop a closer connection between school and home by encouraging parent, teacher, and community involvement, and to improve the environment at both schools through volunteer and financial support. There are 96 current members of the organization. The final recognition was high school debate coach Tenna Montana. She in turn recognized high school student Anna Fletcher who receive high honors in speech and debate competition. Anna was involved in Congressional Debate.
The following information items were presented for the perusal of the Board: Financial Report, Investments, Unreconciled Cash Position Report, Recapture Report, Enrollment Report, Excalibur Report, Transportation, Utilities Report, and Staff Development Report.
Craig Wallace, the architect for the new high school, along with Dag Azam were also present where they once again updated the board on the progress of the new high school with a slide presentation. Wallace noted the new facility was 80% complete and should be ready for a move from the old high school to the new structure during the Christmas holidays. The only part of the new facility that will not be ready is the band hall and the Performing Arts Center. These two should be finished by the end of February.
The demolition of the JW Jones Auditorium has started and should be completed in a week or two. The demolition of the high school will begin as soon as the complete move into the new high school is completed and should be finished by February or March. New paving around the new high school should begin in May.
The board also unanimously approved a motion to reimburse the Bond Account from Fund Balance. This was followed by a lengthy discussion about outstanding cafeteria charges. Child Nutrition Director Jennifer Jordon was present where she went over a large number of cafeteria charges. She informed the board that the current charges of $6,000 already surpasses the $3,000 total for the entire year for 2017-2018. Several ideas were discussed with the most popular idea being to deny a student from participating in UIL activities until the charges are cleared.
Jordan noted the biggest charge list of $2,500 comes from the junior high campus with Kelley Elementary close behind at $1,800. It was also noted the cafeteria workers could not address charges to the students as they came through the line, that Jordan was the only one who had the authority to contact either the student or their parents. Board member David Mitchell suggested they table this item until they could get some legal advice on what direction the board should go. Saying that a motion was made to table this item until the December meeting.
Curriculum Director Kristy Kostelich addressed the board concerning revisions to the District of Innovation Plan as well as the ELL Program Effectiveness Report. Concerning the District of Innovation Plan, Kostelich said the Education Improvement Council, as well as the District and Campus Site Base committees, have been made into one committee. In addressing the ELL program Kostelich said on snap-shot day 302 students were identified as Bilingual/ELL students. This is about 18% of the student population. She also noted that 52% are defined as Economically Disadvantage. Kostelich concluded by telling the board that, “this group of students are the most tested group in the district.”
The board also heard a report concerning the Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System followed by approving the FIRST Rating and Financial Management Report. The board also approved several transfer students. Some time was spent on discussing school safety. Superintendent Gary Davis said PD officers are visiting the campuses more and becoming more visible. Attendance projections for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years were also discussed.
Some revisions were noted in the Employee Handbook including all employees are subjected to random drug testing. New hires included Catalina Torres at the high school, Sandra Hernandez, Cynthia Rodriquez for YCFL, and Charlotte Lowder as a Pre-K aide.
Resignations approved were Jacklyn Rivera at YCFL and Delia (Azure) McLuckie at the junior high.
The board adjourned at 9 pm. The next meeting is set for December 18 beginning at 5 pm so as not to interfere with a district basketball game.