FISD approves lower tax rate, early bond payments.

During its regular Aug. 31, 2020 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met to Honor Ms. Green for achieving Master Trustee status, review TASB updates and virtual student progress, approve paying off bonds early and saving $6.4 million, adopt 9.5 cent lower tax rate.

  • Held a one-hour Master Planning workshop.
  • U. S. Flag - Secondary Student-of-the-Month, Ledarius Jones, 8th Grade Student at Brown Middle School was introduced by principal Ms. Willis who said he enjoys football, basketball, video games, plans to get degrees in business and marine biology.  He is a leader in classroom and athletics. 
  • Texas Pledge - Elementary Student-of-the-Month, Adrian Perez Jr., 4th Grade Student at Johnson Elementary was introduced by principal Ms. McElroy who said he is in TAG program, likes math and baseball.  He helps others in class, participates in discussions.
  • Board Member Recognition - Leadership TASB. 
        Ms. Zastoupil stated Ms. Green has been awarded Master Trustee by TASB, one of 900 state-wide.
        Ms. Green said she saw Leadership TASB in action for years as a teacher, that's why she volunteered to be the first Forney member to take part.  Just 36 people each year may participate.  She thanked the board and district for supporting her.  Mr. Pharris thanked her for spending the time to achieve the award.
  • Monthly Financial Report
        Mr. John Chase said is first month of fiscal year, at 1% revenue, 5% expenses, same as last year. 
  • District Operations Report
        Dr. Terry said had a very successful start to the year, in third week.  Mr. Geer said City Bank stadium has been renovated, has successful summer strengthening programs.  Coach Weaver and Coach O. created safety protocols for the students.  Safety protocols at campuses have been top-notch.  Students are happy to be back.  They have a notification system in place.  SmartTAG - helped with a student who got off bus at a friends house w/o telling parents.  Have hired over 300 new employees, still need more auxiliary staff.  Chief Sanders and he will be writing a book on starting a Police Dept. in a pandemic.  :-)
        Ms. Morisak show the attendance graph, always have a dip early on.  Had fewer this year as they were calling parents before school started.  Dr. Terry said October 30th snapshot hope to se 12,986 students, demographers predict will meet that.
        Dr. Weber gave a Virtual Academy update - took a team effort to achieve this.  Parents are very involved w/ young students learning. The Virtual Academy sends out weekly newsletters.  They are adding programs to supplement what the teachers have access to.  They have ongoing training to help Face-to-Face teachers transition to Virtual teachers.  Chromebook program for students is in place, working with Canvas.  Students have a to-do list on their dashboard, plus teacher's notes.  She showed some videos by teachers for the virtual students.  The District Helpdesk has answered thousands of (trouble) tickets.  In the next week, they will compare virtual vs. F2F students learning levels.
        Dr. Terry said this has been a phenomenal team effort, essentially running two districts.
  • Announce School Board Compliance/Non-Compliance of Continuing Education Hours
        Mr. Pharris said this is annual requirement, all members have met or exceeded required hours of training.
  • Public Comment - none.
  • Approved, as a single consent item:
    • Budget Amendment
    • Renewal of Legal Services Contract with Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo & Kyle
    • Renewal of Legal Services Contract with Perdue Brandon
    • District of Innovation Committee Members
    • Additional TTESS Appraisers
    • 4H Resolution with Kaufman County AgriLife Extension
    • Interlocal Agreement for Cooperative Purchasing Services

  • Approved AIA with Huckabee Architect
        Ms. Morisak this was to look at FHS athletic facilities, an option the bond committee did address.  Dr. Terry said this would be an athletic master plan for FHS.
  • Heard TASB policy local Update 115, as a first reading
    • BDF(LOCAL): board internal organization - citizen advisory committees
    • BF(LOCAL): board policies
    • DIA(LOCAL): employee welfare - freedom from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation
    • DMD(LOCAL): professional development - professional meetings and visitations
    • EI(LOCAL): academic achievement
    • FB(LOCAL): equal educational opportunity
    • FD(LOCAL): admissions
    • FEB(LOCAL): attendance - attendance accounting
    • FFG(LOCAL): student welfare - child abuse and neglect
    • FFH(LOCAL): student welfare - freedom from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation
    • FMF(LOCAL): student activities - contests and competition
    • FNG(LOCAL): student rights and responsibilities - student and parent complaints/grievances
    • GF(LOCAL): public complaints

        Mr. Geer said new federal regulations affects: FB: revisions to Title IX coordinator.  DIA & FFH: substantial revisions to Title IX formal complaint process, reporting prohibited conduct, revised sexual harassment definition due to Supreme Court ruling that adds homosexuality and transgender to prohibited Title IX discrimination.  BDF: deleted.  BF: legal policies are not adopted by the board.  DMD - deleted. EI: changes to partial credit, credit for failing part of a course by retaking lessons.  FD: assistance for highly mobile students.  FEB: districts may select attendance-taking time.  FFG: recommended text re: sexual abuse, trafficking and maltreatment of children.  FMF: deleted.  FNG & GF: student & parent complaints - someone removed from district property now has 90 calendar days, instead of business days, to address the board. 

  • Approved a resolution for early redemption of bonds
        Mr. Chase said the tax rate has been set at 50 cents, giving them ability to call bonds early, providing more capacity for future construction.  Two series are callable in August.  This will save $6.4 million.  Could use the funds to pay on Jan. 2021 bonds if sensible, but probably won't be.
        Dr. Terry said exciting can save $6.4 million with same tax rate.
  • Approved 2020-2021 tax rate
        Mr. Chase said this will set the tax rate, budget set in June is $142 million.  Proposed tax rate is 9.5 cent reduction.  Property values for 5 years have grown 15% (per year).  Average home values have gone from 204k to 271k over 5 years.  With homestead exemptions and appraisal caps the average taxable value of a home is 235,920.  The new tax rate will be about $39 less per home.  Forney's tax rate is middle compared to area districts.  The motion to approve requires specific language as the no-new-tax level is $1.35 and are recommending $1.3747. 
        Dr. Terry said excited when can lower tax bill for home owners.  HB 3 helped reduce the rate.
  • Held a 0-minute executive session re:

    • Deliberation Regarding the Ratification of Employment of Professional Contract Personnel, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §551.074, Personnel Matters
    • Consultation with Attorney, Pursuant to Tex Gov't Code §551.071

  • Adjourned at
Monday, 2020, August 31