FISD gets "unmodified" audit, approves retention bonus

During its regular Oct. 05, 2020 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met to recognize Forney Family Partners, receive "unmodified" Audit, approve retention pay and asynchronous learning plan, hear criticism from a former employee about retiree recognitions.

  • Held a one-hour executive session.
  • U. S. Flag led by Secondary Student-of-the-Month, Kayleigh Sanders, 6th Grade Student at Rhea Intermediate introduced by Dr. Barbi Donehoo, Principal, who said Kayleigh is part of FFA, wants to become veterinary technician.  Her teachers say she is an example for other students.
  • Texas Pledge led by Elementary Student-of-the-Month, Kenzlee Ottwell, 4th Grade Student at Lewis Elementary introduced by Ms. Jenny Harstrom, Principal, who said Kenzlee has a wonderful attitude for learning, shows compassion to others, likes volleyball and might become a teacher.
  • Approved acceptance of donation from Hand Hero.
        Ms. Kristin Zastoupil, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications said this was a Hand Sanitizer Donation from Hand Hero with 6,000 bottles.
  • Principal Appreciation Month - Dr. Judy Webber, Chief of Learner Services introduced Courtney Parker, Blackburn; Angela Abrams-Malone, Claybon; Rachel Bonner, Criswell; Lloyd Ashcraft, Crosby; Laurie Branch, Henderson, Nancy Mcleroy, Johnson; Jenny Harstorm, Lewis; Kristie Crabtree, Griffin; Barbi Donehoo, Rhae; Courtney Rodgriguez, Smith; Brenda Lopez, Rhodes; Judith Willis, Brown; Molly Purl, Jackson; Josh Garcia, Warren; Johathan Campbell, FHS; Michael Jung, NFHS; Pam Lutrull, FLA;
  • skipped State of Texas Proclamation Presented by Keith Bell as Barbara Jo Green, Master Trustee, couldn't be present.
  • Community Recognition
        Ms. Zastoupil introduced Forney back-to-school resource Family Partners; First Presbyterian, Forney Community Ministries; c-life Church; Rely-on; Trinity Valley Elec. Co-op; Texas Infinity Air; Stiky Ribz; Sharing the Love; First United Methodist; not present were Kumon Learning, Fellowship Baptist.
  • 5-minute recess
  • Public hearing of the school Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST)
        Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer, said this has been done for 20 years, includes 15 performance indicators.  Based on data in Finance report from 2019.  Five critical indicators, only 4 were scored due to issues with retirement plans.  FISD had an unmodified audit, did not default on debt, made timely payments to government agencies, so passed this section.  Solvency: ISD must have 90 days of cash, FISD has 107.  Need $3 for every $1 of liability, FISD is 3.1.  Long-term liabilities - $1 of asset for every 60 cents of liability - get grace on this one due to being high growth (23%).  Revenue vs. expenditures - have had surplus budgets for last 5 years.  Debt service coverage ratio - required $1.2 of resources for $1 debt service, FISD has 2.4.  Administrative cost ratio: need     Financial competency: PEIMS data matched reported values; no material noncompliance with grants or laws; haven't have state aid repayment plan for 5+ years, state actually owes FISD money.
        FISD received 100 points, a superior rating. 
        There was no public input.
  • Monthly Financial Report
        Mr. Chase said have 608k revenue, 11.4 mil expenses.  YTD income is 1.3 mil, expended 16.6 mil.  Aug and Feb are when bond payments due, had no issues paying them last month (18.5 mil).  Cash on hand: 89.6 mil, 44 is Capital project funds that will be spent soon.
  • Summary of Finance Update
        Mr. Chase said get LPE and NF values, state had new formulas, many revisions.  Info is posted online at TEA website.  Estimate and adjusted were close - Average Daily Attendance (ADA) was 11,418, now 11,327.  Federal provided funds, FISD got about $330k, state reduced payments due to that by reducing ADA (about 50 students).  Property values grew 18% last year, to 4.7 billion.  In prev years had a lag in values, adjusted in Feb. to actual values.  Next year may have a new rating system.  FIRST rating added discussing property value lag and its effect, so doing that tonight.  In fast-growth ISD, makes you look poorer.  Over time as values slow down, additional funds for the 'lag' stops.  State will compare new vs. old formulas, will pay the difference if old would have been higher.  FISD should get 2.2 mil, for four more years. 
        Homestead exemption - went up $10k , state covered that loss ($418k).  FISD has grown enough, getting more than $35 / penny / pupil, so don't get that TEA assistance.  Earned 46.3 mil for ADA, were paid 45.8 mil, state paid the difference of 487k.
  • Limited English Proficient Student Enrollment Report
        Dr. Judy Webber, Chief of Learner Services, said report is required each year - Criswell high because concentrated dual-language program there.  English Language Learners jumped to 9.6% in 2020.  Number of languages is now 38, vs 31 last year.  New ones include Albanian, Burmese, Ethiopic, Gheg, Kriol, Marathi, Panjabi, Polish, Serbian, Shona, Tigrinya.
  • Annual Attendance Boundary Report
        Ms. Kim Morisak, Chief of Information, Innovative and Technology Services said with new schools, will need new attendance zones.  Went through that with upgrades for rhae and smith.  She presented a timeline for the modifications.  Townhalls on Nov. 5 and 10, Nov. 17 public hearing.
        Mr. Andrews asked if public meetings will be virtual - undecided at this time.  Dr. Terry said may have to consider alternate settings for input; they want public input.
  • Public Comment - Ms. Grace Johnson (former FISD teacher) spoke about need for changes going forward, don't want to be rude but will be frank.  The hope hand-off is an item that could be misinterpreted.  A teacher with 30 years service (including 15 years as bus driver) was given a nice plaque, which was given to a colleague to drop off at the employees home, and was delivered a year after retirement.  Another teacher retired after 33 years, receive usual accolades.  But was also a bus driver, even after retirement, for 48 years, possibly longest serving district employee, didn't get a letter or plaque or anything.  Is this how we treat family? Can't blame it on COVID.  Forney Family motto was shamefully remiss in these two instances.  She thanked Debrah Williams and Randy Lawhon for their service.
  • Approved as one consent item:
    • Approve Budget Amendment
    • Approve Hazardous Bus Routes
    • Approval of Prevailing Wage Rate
    • Approve Foreign Exchange Waiver
    • Approve Update 115 as a Final Reading
    • BDF(LOCAL) - Board Internal Organization: Citizen Advisory Committees (DELETE)
    • BF(LOCAL) - Board Policies
    • DIA(LOCAL) - Employee Welfare: Freedom From Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
    • DMD(LOCAL) - Professional Development: Professional Meetings and Visitations (DELETE)
    • 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 (DELETE)
    • FNG(LOCAL) - Student Rights and Responsibilities: Student and Parent Complaints/Grievances
    • GF(LOCAL) - Public Complaints
    • 7th Grade Dyslexia Diagnostic Instrument Waiver
    • Payment to Mesquite Regional Day School for the Deaf

  • Approved annual financial audit report as presented.
        Mr. Chase introduced Mr. Tonn (partner of Hankins, Eastup, Deaton, Tonn & Seay) who said the audit was started in May, came back in Sep. after books closed in June.  Staff was well prepared, district in good financial condition.  Received unmodified report, the highest one available.  Total assets 401 mil, deferred outflows 10.9 mil + 15.5 + 7.6, total liabilities are $516 mil.  Net position negative $100 million, due to new requirement for OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits, the cost of TRS retiree health-care), depreciation of assets, Capital appreciation bonds.
        Fund financials, short-term view, have significant balance.  General fund balance has generally gone up.  Proceeds of tax notes show as fund balance.  No expenditures exceeded the budget.  Significant increase in state aid, due to HB3 and the compression requirement.  54% of expenditures were for instruction. 
  • Approved retention pay as presented (for Nov. payroll).
        Mr. Chase said for 4 years have paid this, 1% of midpoint.  This was included in budget, but they left in requirement for board approval.  Even though enrollment down slightly, should not affect ability to pay this.  Could have to lower revenue of 1 mil, had 3.5 in , fund balance is at 40 mil.
        Mr. Carroll asked if budgeted 1 mil - Mr. Chase said 618k, will be about 616k.
        Dr. Terry recommended approval.
  • Approved the asynchronous learning plan as submitted to TEA.
        Ms. Sandi Whitley, Executive Director of Leadership Development and Special Programs said she was proud of staff that put this together.  This will help make sure receive funding for students.  TEA defines this as on "students own time", does not require all students to be virtually present at the same time.  This works to provide same learning experience for virtual and onsite students.  They have more minutes for virtual students.  Parental involvement is encouraged by using 'observer' accounts.  Didn't have STAAR last year, this year had a beginning of year STAAR.  They have a parent academy, includes face-to-face (f2f) learning and support, surveys and Zoom meetings, online resources.  They have student focus groups - 2 groups, M+HS, 2nd-6th. 
        Mr. Carroll asked if TEA would approve plan or results - she said believes based on the plan - must be approved before end of semester.  Dr. Webber said have greater loss in ELAR and math, as couldn't teach for a quarter.  6th grade up took less of a hit.  ELAR has dismal results for 3rd grade, will need a lot of intervention.  Mr. Carroll asked when the data comparing two groups will be available - Dr. Webber said in November? Dr. Terry said they are insuring that f2f students get same work as virtual, CFA keeps virtual at same level as onsite.  Can do a better job with f2f learning, to intervene when problems noted.  How do you intervene with virtual students? Mr. Johnson complimented them on their work.  Dr. Terry said Ms. Whitley will soon be Dr. Whitley.
  • no executive session:
    • 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
    • Deliberation Regarding Potential Sale of Real Property Owned by Forney ISD to the State of Texas, Pursuant to Tex. Code §551.072, Real Property
    • Consultation with Attorney, Pursuant to Tex Gov't Code §551.071

  • Approved professional contract personnel As Discussed in Closed Session
  • Approved regarding the ratification of employment of professional contract personnel As Discussed in Closed Session
  • Approved authorizing the superintendent to negotiate agreements with the state of Texas, acting by and through the Texas Department of Transportation (the "state"), as discussed in closed session, for the potential sale of Forney ISD real property near North Forney High School, described as 2.506 acres out of the heirs of Samuel Smith Survey, abstract no. 450, Kaufman County, Texas; and, once finalized, authorizing the board president to execute the deeds, agreements, and any other documents necessary to affect the conveyance of the property to the state as discussed in closed session
  • Announcements
    A Monday, October 12, 2020 - Friday, October 16, 2020 - Fall Break, No School
    Friday, October 16, 2020, 7:00 PM - FHS vs NFHS, Unity Bowl - City Bank Stadium
    Monday, October 26, 2020, 6:00 PM - Board Workshop
    Monday, November 2, 2020, 6:00 PM - Regular Board Meeting
    Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 6:00 PM - Special Called Board Meeting
  • Dr. Terry said yard signs for 100 days of hope will be available this week
  • Adjourned at 2053
Monday, 2020, October 5