FISD presents TAPR results, gets ready for more growth

During its regular Feb. 08, 2018 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met and in summary:

  • U. S. Flag - Secondary Student-of-the-Month, AdriAnne Kyleigh Laky, 12th Grade Student at Forney High School, introduced by Mr. Steve Whiffen, Forney High School Principal
  • Texas Pledge - Elementary Student-of-the-Month, Grace Jordan Lenenski, 6th Grade Student at Smith Elementary School, introduced by Mr. Jeff Hutcheson, Smith Elementary School Principal
  • Recognized Forney High School National Merit Hispanic Commended Scholar Students, introduced by Ms. Judith Webber, Chief Learning Officer
    Cierra Alivia Rosales and Simon Chandler Harrist.
  • Recognized North Forney High School Student Lexus Bree Eudy for Being an All-State Qualifier in Cross Country

  • Recognized Forney High School Student, Emma Lynn Hanley, for Being Selected to the All-State Academic Cross Country Team

  • Recognized Forney High School Students for Being Selected to the Academic All- State Volleyball Team, introduced by Mr. Neal Weaver, Athletic Director
    Allison Marie Hamsher, Sarah Kristen Winther, Lexie Annette Welton and Ashley Lauren Curry.
  • Recognized North Forney High School Students for Being Selected As Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) All-State Musician, introduced by Mr. Mario Luna, Fine Arts Director
    Madeline Joy Burer and Lorraine Wanjiru Macharia
  • Held a recess
  • Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) Annual Public Hearing. Ms. Judith Webber, Chief Learning Officer, stated this report is required annually. For "accountability ratings" all campuses "Met Standards" and have for several years.
    For STAAR Index 1 'approaches grade level' Forney is higher than all of region X and State - the graphs showed 75+% in 5 categories. For STAAR Index 2 we are 1% below, index 3 are all above the Region X and State. Graduation rates are well above the region, attendance rate is also higher except for "graduates enrolled in higher education" where all areas are at 56%.
    Postsecondary readiness: all categories are higher than region and state.
    State of TX provides higher eductation statistics:
    School type
    GPA under 2.0
    GPA over 3.0
    4-year public univ 08% 29% 68%41%
    2-year public college 31% 35% 37%33%

    She showed a list of what is done to prevent violent events, and programs to promote Safe and Drug Free Schools.
    Mr. Regan asked what the biggest opportunity is; Ms. Webber said the effort is growing all students, not just to approach grade level, but to reach the Mastery level. Mr. Bell said this is the first time average SAT & ACT scores have been above the region and state in all categories, he recognized that academic ability will earn students more money than their physical abilities, and he commended staff for the success.
    Ms. McWilliams said every year the test gets harder, state keeps raising the bar, and students keep meeting it.
    Heath Carroll asked if there was a reason grade 5 is much better than grade 8; Ms. Webber said grade 8 is the last cohort from the old teaching methods.

    Mr. Bell said we don't have common core, we have TEACs, unlike other 49 states. If kids move here from other districts or states, they could be missing required knowledge. FISD has doubled number of foreign langues to 23, in 12 months. Interventions are done specifically for students.
    Mr. Regan asked about intervention progs - if they were before/after school - some are, some embedded. Mr. Regan asked if bussing takes that into account - Ms. McWilliams said they have worked it into focus time. Ms. Webber said it varies by campus. Ms. McWilliams said kids are taking ownership of their learning.

  • Monthly Financial Report. Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer said is unusual this year, 55% which might be related to the recent federal tax act reducing deductions, so people may have paid taxes early to get the deduction. Debt service - got a Moody's bond rating upgrade this week, from bAA1 to A3, that will have some impact on percentage rate to refinance debt. Building up reserves has helped a lot. Ms. McWilliams read a comment from the summary page stating the ISD has fully recovered from a one-time state-aid funding issue in 2011. Mr. Chase: cash on hand $51 mil, surplus will dwindle down as tax payment slow down. Mr. Regan asked about a $1.5 mil item - Mr. Chase said the state gives money to supplement bonded debt; they usually pay in Nov., got it in Dec. this time. It is a one-time annual payment.
    Mr. Bell thanked stake-holders for sticking w/ the ISD, and the TEA stuck with FISD. He said we were about 5 minutes away from being Mesquite ISD here. He's proud of the board and staff for the progress.
  • Quarterly Investment Reports. Mr. Chase said quarterly earnings were $92k, about the same as previous entire year.
  • 2nd Quarter Tax Collection Report. Mr. Chase said have collect $31 million, deliquent collections are 351k (0.6%). When AG property changes to residential, they go back 5 years and require payment of taxes to the ISD.
  • Master Planning Update - Dr. Terry, Deputy Superintendent said more detail would be at the meeting on 22nd. They are on a short time-line due to opening of FAC in fall, everything being done in one bid. As soon as kids leave school in May, Gallagher crews will move in. He said the planning for upgrading Smith and Rhae has taken about 18 months. The new additions will be about 24,000 sq. ft. two-story, with more parking. Vaughn said the design has a lot of flexibility for writing surfaces and furniture, including the stairway. For the FAC - transportation is tricky, for parents and buses. They are working with city city for the parking lot (along Elm/Trinity) which is used by the community. The FAC should be considered two campuses.
  • Approved as consent item(s):
    • Minutes of January 8, 2018 - Regular Meeting
    • Minutes of January 23, 2018 Special Called Meeting
    • Approve Budget Amendment

  • Approved an Order Calling a School Board Election for Positions 3 and 4 for May 5, 2018.
  • Approved Contract with Kaufman County for Election Services for the May 5, 2018.
    Ms. McWilliams said policy requires joint election, the contract is just an estimate.
  • Approved Adoption of the Use of An Electronic Voting System Only for Both Early Voting and Election Day Voting - Ms. McWilliams said chapter 123 of TX Election code requires board to decide, and only one type of voting is allowed. Last year decided on electronic because paper so expensive, recommend electronic for this year. Ms. Green said elderly are a little afraid of electronic - Ms. McWilliams said county is doing better job helping people understand how it works.
  • Approved the Purchase of Band Uniforms - Mr. Chase said last purchase was in 2007, normally replace in 7-10 years. Want to purchase 250 uniforms, up to 180 day lead time, total of $114k. Ms. Green asked about the gloves - Mr Luna said the fingertips are open, but its not part of the uniform. Mr. Regan asked if $456 / uniform is normal - yes.

    FISD maintains the uniforms, which could last 10 years.

  • Approved 2018-2019 Full-Time (FTE) Positions - Mr. Chase said have have fund surplus for 5 years, 1/2 is state aid, 76% budget spent on personnel this year, normally 80%. Currently above what TEA recommends for reserves. Achieving 22:1 ratio almost impossible, current 16:1 is good. Expect 476 new students, which would lead to 48 new employees at $2.7 mil. State released property value study, 8% might be low, but is within the state confidence range. Will be getting an extra $39/student, about $500k, total revenue increase of $2.4 mil. Can draw from Capital Expinditure funding if needed. Ms. McWilliams said been working w/ demographers for months, if approved can get started on job fairs. Mr. Andrews asked if this staffing will keep the ratio the same - it will be slightly more efficient.

  • Held a 40-minute executive session re:
    • Employment of Professional Contract Personnel.
    • Contract Renewal of Administrators and Other Professional Contract Personnel.

  • Took no action re: Employment of Professional Contract Personnel.
  • Approved Contract Renewal of Administrators and Other Professional Contract Personnel as presented.
  • Announced Special Called Meeting Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Adjourned at 2142.
Thursday, 2018, February 8