FISD honors students, Griffins

During its regular Sep. 10, 2018 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met and in summary:

  • Held a 50-minute executive session re:

    • Ratification of Employment of Professional Contract Personnel
    • Deliberate Regarding Pursuit of Sanctions for Educator Abandonment of Contract

  • Opened meeting at 1900
  • U. S. Flag - Secondary Student-of-the-Month from Warren Middle School, Addison McMillan. She has been inducted in National Honor Society, teachers have praised her helpfulness.
  • Texas Pledge - Elementary Student-of-the-Month from Crosby Elementary, Matthew Howard. He works with his former first-grade teacher to mentor struggling students.
  • Held Public Hearings -
    • 2018-2019 Tax Rate - Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer spoke: the certified rates were published on July 30. The budget adopted on June 25 is just under 106 million: about 84 million general expenditures, 4 million for food service, 18 million debt service. Proposing same rate of 1.54 as last several years. Property value growth still trending up, homestead exemption was raised by law from 15k to 25k. Average home value increased from 165k to 238k over 5 years. About $300 increase for average home. Compared to area ISDs, Forney is at the average level. Will be collecting "excess" to pay down debt and save 1.4mil in interest. Have 800 more students this year, expected 611.
          There was no public input.

  • Recognition of Academic All-State Athletes - Neal Weaver, Director of Athletics said FISD has had an extraordinary spring.Watch Video
  • Forney High Academic All-State - Mason Englert, Ryland Kerby
  • Recognition of All-State Athletes - Mr. Weaver, Director of Athletics
  • North Forney Baseball All-State - Jordan Carroll - 3rd Team Baseball
  • Forney High Baseball All-State - Mason Englert - All Star, Jonathan Childress - First Team, Tyler Dickey - 3rd Team
  • Forney High Softball All-State - Vanessa Hollingsworth - Honorable Mention, Caleigh Cross - 3rd Team, Trinity Cannon - 1st Team, Samantha Coker - 1st Team, Caroline Tedder - 1st Team, Savanna Desrochers - Player of the Year/1st Team
  • Forney High Softball All-State Tournament Team - Trinity Cannon, Samantha Coker, Caleigh Cross, Hannah Holdbrook, Vanessa Hollingsworth, Caroline Tedder, Savanna Desrochers - State Tournament MVP
  • Recognition of Forney High School Baseball State Finalist - - Mr. Weaver Watch Video
  • Recognition of Forney High School Softball State Champions - - Mr. Weaver coach - Watch Video
  • Recognition of 2018 TASB Media Honor Roll ~ Cary and Judy Griffin - Ms. Kristin Zastoupil, Executive Director of Marketing/Communications - Watch Video
  • Recognition of Forney Family Legacy Award ~ Cary and Judy Griffin - Ms. Zastoupil -
  • Recognition of Designation as a Common Sense Media District ~ Stacy Joseph - Ms. Kim Morisak, Chief of Innovation and Information Services said has 80%, this recognition of for 17-18 and 18-19 for all 13 campuses
  • Approved Donation by the Claybon PTO of $16,000.00 - Kristie Crabtree, Principal, Claybon Elementary
  • Public Input: Mr. Stevens spoke saying the day before school they had a house fire, students lost everything they had ready for school. Within an hour supplies were showing up, Dr. Terry contacted them personally. He thanked Warren middle school band, FHS for ROTC uniforms, Dr. English for excusing his son from practice, counselors at campuses; they couldn't have made it w/o help from the FISD. Mr. Pharris said that's the #ForneyFamily.
  • Monthly Financial Report - Mr. Chase explained some income items will come later, expenses were lower due to summer payroll. Completed a bond refinance in July which is part of the $600k debt service expenses.
  • Master Planning Update - Mr. Chase said had renovations to the FAC, which is now Forney Learning Academy (FLA), Pre-K is in the building now. Mr Gallagher said it was a busy summer, FISD staff was great. He showed a schedule for Smith out to Oct; Rhae is a little ahead of schedule, still out to Oct. FAC work got done - due to age of structure now in phase 2, will be doing work during fall break. He showed a diagram with a bus canopy. He said the chapel area turned out much better than expected.
        Mr Carrol asked if they were impeding students or vice versa; Mr. Gallagher said there was an issue when they cut a line that was needed for lunch, but they worked through that. He believes it's going fantastic. Mr Carroll asked if was an opportunity to have students have hands-on experience during construction. Dr. Terry said they have conferred w/ staff, he commended Gallagher for the work and staying under budget. Ms. Green asked about restroom work - it is mostly to serve the chapel/conference area. She asked about identifying the entry for older students - it will be added when the canopy work is done, they will also be screening the large transformer. Dr. Terry said there are two entrances, pre-k will be using what the main entrance, the new will be for older students and events.
  • Appraisal District Update - Mr. Chase explained what happens to cause an "invalid property study"; the state does that as part of the Robin-Hood funding formula. Most ISDs had an invalid study except FISD. He introduce Mr. Robert Dobbs who thanked them for being on the longest agenda of the year. He said they've had a few issues at the board. Forney got a valid study, that would seem like a good thing. 8 of 9 area ISDs are out of compliance, 2 may lose state funding. They have mostly new board members. He asked for the FISD board support. The growth in the county has increased home costs. Dr. Terry commended Mr. Dobbs for the time he spends on this, he has kept the FISD up to date, and advocated for ISDs in the county. Mr. Dobbs said they will be searching for a chief appraiser.
  • Preliminary State Accountability Report - Judy Webber, Chief of Learner Services, explained the new A-F system used by the state. It eliminated 2 of the 5 domains the process had, which were the two FISD was best in. The new ratings are based mostly on STAAR; the state told them how the scoring would work 7 days before the ratings were released. The state says the system will remain the same for 5 years.
        Domain 1 - student achievement has a 2 year data lag, state removed CTE coherent course sequence, which the district was excellent in. Domain 2 is growth and mastery in reading and math. Domain 3: closing performance gaps, originally used 2 sub-pops, now must include 13 (all) (any group of 10 students will create a sub-pop). 2017-18 STAAR data - all campuses met standards. The overall rating was 87, which is equal to "Recognized" performance. The state forced 70% of all districts to a rating of B or C.
        Compared to other Region X district, domain 1 is good, domain 2 only has one higher score. Domain 3 will require new focus. Region-X-wide Forney is well above average. FISD earned 10 distinctions, meaning are in top quartile. Low SES (socio-economic students) values - those students have lower STAAR scores. 81% of the students who didn't meet goals have been here less than 2 years.
        She listed items staff would be doing "now that we understand the rules." The district has continual improvement on mastery scores. The dual credit program has expanded dramatically. Mr Andrews said there was supposed to be a bell curve, asked if these values were static now. For Domain 1, yes. 100 districts affected by hurricane Harvey were removed from the data. Mr. Carroll said the state eliminated things FISD considers important, how to juggle that. Ms. Webber said they have to focus on what the students and parents want, and not teach to a test.
        (This was a very lengthy presentation, this is a brief summary.)
  • Approved as one consent item:

    • Annual Review of Investment Policy - CDA(LOCAL) - Other Revenues: Investments
    • Budget Amendment
    • 2018-2019 District of Innovation Committee Members
    • Request for Maximum Class Size Waiver Exemption. Mr. Carroll asked if item 11 will affect the waiver. Mr. Geer said it will help in 2nd grade.
    • Purchase of Online Course Site Licenses
    • Adopt the Revisions to CCG, as a Final Reading
    • Renewal of Legal Services Contract with Powell & Leon
    • Renewal of Legal Services Contract with Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo & Kyle
    • Renewal of Contract for the Collection of Delinquent Taxes with Perdue Brandon
    • Legal Services Agreement with Sutherland Spencer, PC
    • Ellen Brooks West Memorial Library Board Appointment

  • Approved Resolution of Early Redemption of Bonds - Mr. Chase said the current debt service is lower than it will be in 5 years, would be good to smooth the debt out now. Calling Bonds 2008A and 2014B would save 1.4mil or 7 cents of tax rate. He showed debt service rising from current $17 million to $24 million in 2031 and 2017. Mr. Regan asked if the rate was really 22% - Mr. Chase said sometimes premium bonds might show a high yield due to cost of issuance. Mr. Pharris wanted to clarify no bonds had a coupon rate of 29% - no, they are paying more because someone paid them extra money up front. Dr. Terry thanked previous boards and administrations for providing this capacity and managing the economic downturn When he came on 5 years ago, there was a lot of red, now there is green.
  • Approved the 2018-2019 Tax Rate - Mr. Chase said 2/3 is for M&O (maintenance & operations) - they are raising more money but state is reducing funds.

    As the district is at its 50c cap, new growth will require new bonds, need to chip away at the current debt to make room. Capital appreciation bonds are no longer available to them, can only have 20%; sometimes those bonds are the only option. FISD is considered property poor. The double-digit growth has made a big difference in their debt capacity. Bonds will require bi-annual payments.
        State Law says the effective tax rate is what would provide the same income as last year, which would be about 1.43, so keeping the same 1.54 is an effective increase.
        The law requires the motion to state an effective increase of 7.5%, but doesn't mention the reduction in state funding. Mr. Carroll verifies the increase is due to value increase, not the tax rate which hasn't changed in 5 years. Dr. Terry recommends adopting the same rate.

  • TASB Update Policy #111, As a First Reading - Mr. Rick Geer, Chief of Human Services said this is about amendments to admin ordinances required by state law. Item DH would allow staff to have loaded handgun or other firearm in a locked vehicle: the district feels there is no need to change this due to safety concerns, rapid response of law enforcement, and not having school marshals. This would also apply to GKA.
  • Approved 15 Additional Positions - Mr. Chase said budget allows for 59 based on 613 new students, now have more almost 800, which need 15 more personnel. Will eventually get more funds from state, but will be underfunded until then. Mr. Carroll asked if there will be more increases - normally increases happen until Oct. but last year it increased all year long.
  • Approved the City Bank Scoreboard - Mr. Chase said being greater than $100k it requires board approval. Money was dedicated in June budget. The stadium naming rights were renegotiated, the payment from City Bank of $250k, along with ad revenue of $100k / year will help offset the $854k cost. Will have initial cash outlay. Can partner with the CTE program so students may work with the board. Approved scoreboard cost of $804k.
  • Approved the Ratification of Employment of Professional Contract Personnel as presented by staff.
  • Approved the Pursuit of Sanctions for Educator Abandonment of Contract as presented in closed session.
  • Adjourned at 2133
Monday, 2018, September 10