Board Briefs - August 26
Board Agenda: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicMeetingMaterials.aspx?ak=101920&mk=50090403
During his opening remarks at the Board of Trustees regular meeting, Superintendent of Schools Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed.D., noted that the first day of school on Monday, August 26, had been conducted with a first-day enrollment of 33,696 students. Enrollment may increase to 35,000 or more students, based on projections.
In other meeting highlights, the Bond Oversight Committee presented its annual report on the 2007 Bond Program to Trustees. Under the $597.1 million bond program, SBISD has undertaken system-wide renovations and new construction, and the Board approved selling $62.9 million in new bonds on Monday. To date, SBISD has sold $562.9 million in bonds, leaving approximately $34 million more in new bonds to be issued and sold.
Bond Oversight Committee
Bond Oversight Committee Co-Chair Curt Martin presented the group’s annual report to the Board. Also attending were Co-chair David Slattery and members Patty Busmire and Bruce Beeler. Report highlights include the following:
- 12 new elementary schools are either completed or under construction; one school is in the design phase and remains to be built.
- System-wide upgrades ranging from new building roofs to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are completed, except at The Bendwood School, Spring Branch Education Center (SBEC) and Vines Science Center.
- Most technology projects are complete, with funds designated for replacement cycles through 2017
Co-Chair Martin said that community members have shared numerous positive comments about the 2007 Bond Program projects with the committee. Still, many people continue to be confused by tighter district operating budgets and by the annual bond program expansion. (By state law, operating budgets for staff salaries and basic operational costs must remain separate from bond funds.)
Looking ahead, the Bond Oversight Committee suggests that district communications about 2007 Bond projects, including website updates and online videos, continue with all community groups and media. The Committee also suggests assessing performance of students at newly rebuilt schools to determine if there have been positive impacts due to improved learning environments. Utility usage and maintenance for new and older buildings might also be assessed, the committee said.
In additional report recommendations to the Trustees, the Bond Oversight Committee:
- Commends the Board for exploring additional options for SBEC campus improvements
- Commends Trustees for designating funds for “expiring life cycles” in the future
- Encourages consideration of data in the updated Facilities Assessment Report when determining how to best use remaining 2007 Bond funds
In separate but related action, Trustees voted unanimously to sell $62.9 million in school bonds, as well as allow an authorized district representative to select the amount, interest rate and other terms related to bond sales. Since 2007, SBISD has sold $500 million in bonds. After the latest series of bonds are all sold, SBISD will have $34,250,000 in bonds remaining for sale from the 2007 Bond program.
During a Special Board Meeting held earlier on Monday evening, the Board reached a settlement with vendors Navistar and IC Bus regarding school buses that have been experiencing engine problems. The settlement requires each bus to be inspected by IC Bus experts and extends the warranty and coverage for the bus engines.
Superintendent Klussmann also updated Board members on implementation of House Bill 5, especially regarding the senior class of 2013-2014. The Superintendent said that new law clearly states that seniors have the option of graduating under the Foundation Plan, but the State Board of Education might not honor this option during transition to the new plan. The Texas Education Agency may clarify this issue soon. Board members should be prepared for a possible special meeting if this occurs for local policy review and voting on seniors’ graduation options.
In other action, the Board of Trustees:
- Approved first reading of local policies on revenues/investments and employee welfare, including freedom from discrimination, harassment and retaliation
- Adopted policies involving employee standards of conduct, including searches and alcohol/drug testing
- Approved numerous Consent Agenda items