FISD adopts lower tax rate, activates the FISD Police Dept.

During its regular Aug. 03, 2020 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met to activate their new PD, adopt a lower 2020-21 tax rate, adjust for COVID, deny a parent complaint appeal.

  • Forney ISD Police
        Mr. Rick Geer, Chief of Human Services, introduced the FISD Police candidates.  Chief Joe Sanders was sworn in by Dr. Terry.  Chief Sanders then swore in Captain Jason Saunders and the assembled officers: Jimmy Partin, Kenny Martin, Shaun Baker, Paul Cuara, Jill Smith, Jeff Haines, Michael Perez.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Report
        Dr. Justin Terry, Superintendent of Schools said we're living in a challenging world, very polarized.  In June they formed this group to look at diversity and inclusion, focusing on "understanding." Mr. Ron Sterling said the country is in turmoil, Dr. Terry challenged them to take this on.  It's one of the more challenging things he's done in 20 years.  Not here to persecute or shame anyone.  He introduced 5 members of the committee, including Dr. Paula Johnson from IDRA who held classes addressing implicit bias issues.  The committee will create a mission statement and meet throughout the year.  Dr. Terry said will be sending out a survey to community.
  • Monthly Financial Report
        Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer, said FY ended June 30.  In June recognize money for student attendance, most will be received in July & Aug.  Expenses were at 91%, low due to unfinished construction, about $5.8 million.  Revenue about 20 million over - Projected a 12 million surplus, which included a 6.8 million underpayment from prior year. Could pay off debt early. Should have about 40 million in fund balance, good for 4 months.
        Debt service will have balance of 6 million, about the preferred amount.
  • Quarterly Investment Report
        Mr. Chase said have 127? million, rates vary from 0.3% to 0.8%.  In past rates have been higher, but federal rates have been lowered, expect rates to go lower in the next report.  Had 282k interest income.
  • 4th Quarter Tax Collection Report
        Mr. Chase introduced Tax Collection attorneys from Perdue Brandon.  Ms. Calvo said collecting during a pandemic has been challenging.  They worked with Mr. Chase for guidance to make a plan to work with ForneyFamily.  Mr. Parsons presented a report stating taxes are delinquent on Feb 1.  For 2018, 98.62% were collected before they were involved (leaving 585k delinquent).  They collected 477k.  He detailed how money they collected was categorized; about 2/3 are in litigation.  For 2019, 98.64 have been collected.  Before the COVID hit, he visited 22 businesses to collect $61.6k, will resume when safe.  They have engaged with FISD Open House, Forney Education Foundation, Chamber.
        Dr. Terry said it is a good partnership, he appreciates the compassionate approach of doing collections during a pandemic.  Pres. Pharris thanked them for being a good partner.
  • District Operations Report
        Dr. Justin Terry, Superintendent of Schools, said all data is "as of today." The deadline for deciding virtual or onsite is tonight at midnight, waiting to get the data.  There were some new developments from TX AG, don't affect FISD. 
        Mr. Geer gave a transportation update, thanked the board for 10 new buses which will run at normal capacity.  All students must wear masks, staff will wear face shields.  Loading procedures have been addressed.  They started working on Smart Tag system a year ago, this will allow drivers to know if student on correct bus, parents may track the bus position.  Campus is able to track all buses.  Every bus after every run will be deep cleaned. 
        Ms. Stacie Brown: is excited to have everyone coming back to school, working with nursing staff, prescreening procedures.
        Coach Weaver spoke about phase 4 of the plan, he introduced Coach Oliphant who said have 500 kids / day coming in to work out.  Mr. Weaver said working on students not yet in strength conditioning, making a safe place for kids to go.  UIL updates have been intermittent.  Sports spectators must be 50% max, some gyms might only hold 75 people.  Box office will be paperless, no cash or paper tickets at the gates.  UIL will allow live streaming varsity football.  Might add volleyball.
        Ms. Kim Morisak, Chief of Information, Innovative and Technology Services said have added wifi at stadium.  They are the only district in nation to get a full order in for chromebooks, which are on backorder.  Have about 2k older chromebooks for K-3.  Do have some hotspots, but supply is limited and takes weeks to get more.  Have a new help-desk ticket system.  Analyzing software and hardware to help w/ remote teaching. 
        Ms. Zastoupil said did website update, added learning options section.  Mobile app had an update.  Had training for new staff.  The ticket system has a tab for staff to get help.  Resource fair gave away 741 backpacks.  They will have videos for mask use and hand sanitizing.
        Dr. Webber said new teacher induction was a challenge, had to use 3 locations.  For Virtual learning, have pre-loaded 3 weeks of lessons into Canvas.  The Canvas templates are consistent for all grades.  Learning should be consistent between virtual and onsite (or face to face (F2F)).  They are moving away from multiple-choice questions, which will also happen in the STAAR tests.
        Mr. Chase said water fountains have been converted to bottle fillers, all classrooms will have hand sanitizer.  Virex mist will be applied to hard surfaces nightly.  Breakfast grab-and-go will be at kiosks instead of from the cafeteria, lunch will be in classroom, only 2 options for hot meals, grab and go meals for virtual students available at each campus for 30 minutes.  Meals won't be free as were in spring.  Mr. Andrews asked if all classes will eat in classroom - yes.
  • Master Planning Update
        Ms. Morisak addressed the Admin building: reception desk installed.  Claybon HUB complete, floors and gym done.  Criswell working on fencing, irrigation done, painting almost done, all on schedule.  Griffin Elem: approaches have been poured, piers are in.  Jackson and Rhodes Groundbreaking this week.  Rhea and Smith waiting on walls, might not be in when school starts, will provide large space.  City Bank field and track look great.  Culinary remodel waiting on punch list.  Library is waiting on lighting to arrive.  FHS welding shop will have concrete poured this week.  NFHS animal science slab was poured.  NFHS bus loop pipe fence is in, concrete all poured, cafeteria is on schedule.  Finished: Johnson Lab, Claybon, Brown paving done, Rhea wheel stops, Warren traffic gates, FHS & NFHS Marquees.
  • Public Comment - none.
  • Approved as one consent item:
    • T-TESS Appraisal Calendar and T-TESS Appraisers for the 2020-2021 School Year
    • Budget Amendment
    • Contract with Donahoe Pizza LLC, DBA CiCi's Pizza To Provide Delivered Pizzas to Secondary Campuses for the 2020-2021 School Year
    • PCAT Property & Casualty Insurance Renewal
    • the Innovative Courses for 2020-2021
    • the Resolution Amending Authorized Representatives with TexPool
    • Secondary ELA Resource Purchase
    • the Electricity Easement for Forney High School Welding
    • Region X Purchasing
    • Student Code of Conduct
    • the Resolution Delegating Temporary Purchasing and Contracting Authority to the Superintendent
    • MOU with Dallas College
    • the Brown Middle School Temporary Construction Easement

  • Approved amending AIA with Huckabee Architect as presented.
        Ms. Morisak said to be ready to build when triggers occur, want to begin design for College and Career Center, across from Rhodes, and NFHS athletic expansion.  Dr. Terry said this aligns with bond committee recommendations.  Currently $70 million under budget.
  • Approved TIPS proposals
        Ms. Morisak introduced Jeff Fisher from Gallagher who said the admin building renovation light signalization (which has been under review by TxDOT) and fencing total $349.5k.  Smith intermediate drive to eliminate congestion is $131k.
        Dr. Terry said these are not new projects.
  • Approved amended DOI (District of Innovation) plan
        Ms. Morisak said the state has changed the process to allow approval by the board.  Committee had emergency meeting to suggest exempting class size waiver, as having virtual students will increase the ratio even though have fewer students in classroom.  Need to suspend duty-free lunch period as teachers need to be in classroom with students.  Committee voted unanimously for both items.  Dr. Terry said committee is composed of parents, teachers, administrators.  This is a temporary proposal.
  • Approved the certified tax roll
        Mr. Chase said got values on July 23, just shy of $5.5 billion + some under protest.  Compared to last year a 15.7% increase.  Mr. Carroll asked about deadline for protests - possibly late August, unless unresolved and goes to court.
  • Approved the 2020-2021 proposed tax rate as presented (1.3747)
        Mr. Chase said previously did effective (now no-new-revenue (NNR)) and roll-back rates (now voter-approval rate).  TEA provides compressed rate to districts, Forney's is 82.47.  Assumed in June increase would be 13.6%, but values came in at 15.7%, so compression was higher.  It's now 9.5 cent reduction.  Average residence will see $38 reduction.  Proposed rate: .13747 .  Dr. Terry said when proposed bonds, said would not increase tax rate, this is more reduction than expected.  This is based on compression in HB3, the State does set part of the tax rate.  Pres. Pharris said it's still a reduction.
  • Held an 88-minute executive session re:
    • Deliberation Regarding Employment of Professional Contract Personnel, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code 551.074, Personnel Matters
    • Deliberation Regarding the Ratification of Employment of Professional Contract Personnel, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code 551.074, Personnel Matters
    • Conduct semi-annual evaluation of Superintendent, pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code 551.074, Personnel Matters.
    • Consultation with Attorney, Pursuant to Tex Gov't Code 551.071
    • Conduct Hearing on Level III FNG Parent Complaint and Deliberation Regarding Same, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Codes §551.074, Personnel Matters; §551.082, Student Discipline; and 551.0821, Student Information

  • Approved professional contract personnel as discussed in closed session
  • Approved the ratification of employment of professional contract personnel as discussed in closed session
  • Took no action the semi-annual Superintendent's evaluation as discussed in closed session
  • Denied the level III FNG parent complaint As Discussed in Closed Session
  • Adjourned at 2203
Monday, 2020, August 3