The School Zone: News


Opening Remarks

Dr. Muri talked about the range of emotions felt as the end of the school year draws near, especially those felt by both seniors and their families at graduation. For most teachers and principals, he added, the emotion was likely a “sigh of relief.”

Recognition of Josef Klam for Service as President

Board President Pam Goodson (left), Trustee Josef Klam and Dr. Muri.

Dr. Muri noted the role played by the President of the Board of Trustees and the President walk a “delicate line” as liaison between the Board of Trustees and the Superintendent, and how well Klam walked that line. He thanked Klam both for the system and for himself personally. New Board President Pam Goodson (she served consecutive terms earlier in her Trustee career) echoed Dr. Muri and praised Klam for his time, energy and focus as Board President.

Recognition of SBSID Retirees

Trustees greet SBISD retirees as they cross the Memorial High School stage.

SBISD’s retiring employees got a last walk across the Memorial High School stage to be recognized by Trustees and Dr. Muri. The 80 retirees represent 1,793 years of service to Spring Branch ISD. Retirees were recognized last month at the annual Service Awards event at Minute Maid Park.

Recognition of High School Debate Teams

Dr. Muri (left) and Board President Pam Goodson with SBISD debaters who competed at the state and national level. At far right are Victoria Beard, Spring Woods High School debate coach and Cecil Trent, Memorial High School debate coach.

Trustees recognized members of the Memorial and Spring Woods high schools debate teams who qualified for state or national tournaments. Memorial debate coach Cecil Trent and Spring Woods debate coach Victoria Beard introduced students who either competed at the state UIL tournament or will compete in June at the National Speech and Debate tournament, in Dallas this year.

Recognition of MHS Teacher Mary Reed

Board President Pam Goodson (left), MHS teacher Mary Reed, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Kristin Craft and Dr. Muri.

Trustees recognized Memorial High School teacher Mary Reed for being named International Teacher of the Year by the World Affairs Council of Houston. A pre-AP/GT world geography teacher, Reed consistently exposes her students to world affairs by introducing them to heads of state, elected officials, journalists and others from around the globe. She regularly takes students on international trips and has herself visited 52 countries. Chief Academic Officer Dr. Kristin Craft made the presentation.

Recognition of Student Athletes, Trainers and Coaches

Board President Pam Goodson (left) and Dr. Muir (right) with SBISD student-athletes and coaches who competed at the state level this year.

Trustees recognized SBISD student-athletes who competed at the state level. Executive Athletic Director Paige Hershey first presented student-athletes who medaled in state competition: Claire Bryant, MHS, silver, long jump; Christyan Sampy, SHS, silver, pole vault; Zoe Slaughter, MHS, silver, golf; Cole Rassner and Andrew Shuvalov, MHS, silver, doubles tennis; and Emma Stephenson, SHS, gold swimming. Hershey then presented Memorial High School team tennis, a perennial state power and runners-up this year. Finally, she presented the teams and individuals who qualified for state competition.

Board President Pam Goodson (left), SWHS Head Trainer Tyra Harrell and Dr. Muri.

Hershey separately presented SBISD Head Athletic Trainer Tyra Harrell of Spring Woods High School, who was named as the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Bobby Gunn Athletic Trainer of the Year earlier this month. Hershey said that trainers are the unsung heroes of athletics, relied on by players and coaches alike. Harrell, who is also the head athletic trainer at Spring Woods High School, was nominated Harrell was nominated for her leadership and her strong, positive influence on athletes and student trainers she serves.

Board President Pam Goodson (left), MHS Girls Soccer Coach Lindley Amarantos, Trustee Josef Klam and Dr. Muri.

Hershey also separately presented Memorial Girls Head Soccer Coach Lindley Amarantos, who was named Texas 6A Girls Soccer Coach of the Year. Amarantos, a former MHS player, led Memorial girls soccer to the 6A title in 2018.

Stratford golfer Matthew Riedel was to be presented for being named VYPE Magazine 2019 Male Golfer of the Year. Riedel, last year’s 6A boys golf champion, was with the Stratford golf team in Georgetown at the state tournament.

Public Hearing on Preliminary 2020 Budget

Trustees conducted a public hearing on the preliminary 2020 budget. Associate Superintendent for Finance Karen Wilson said that projections were based on a certified estimate of property values but remain uncertain due to school finance legislation pending in the Texas Legislature. She said that the effect of school finance legislation appears to be positive for SBISD but that nothing is certain and that things can change. The legislation, House Bill 3 (HB 3), would “compress” (lower) the maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate to reduce property taxes while increasing aid from the state, and lowering recapture (Robin Hood). But that aid will be partially offset, Wilson said, by mandates such as a prescribed salary increase for “certain employee groups.” The preliminary budget addresses Board priorities, including increased spending for Catalyst schools, special education, Career and Technical Education (CTE) positions and guidance and counseling positions.

The debt service budget is strong and is fully under local control, said Wilson. The 2020 budget includes a $41.5 million accelerated principal payment and a second issuance of an estimated $258 million in debt under the 2017 bond authorization.

The district’s total tax rate of $1.3945 per $100 of valuation has remained unchanged since 2010, except for a one-time  “tax swap” last year that moved two cents from the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate of $.3045 to the M&O rate of $1.09.

No one from the public spoke at the public hearing. A second public hearing will be conducted at the June 24 regular meeting, before the 2020 budget is adopted. The tax rate is adopted in the fall after certified property values are received.
Public Hearing Presentation

First Reading of Policies

Trustees heard on first reading two local policies: DEAB (LOCAL) Compensation Plan: Wage and Hours, and DED (LOCAL) Compensation and Benefits: Vacations and Holidays. Trustees can submit amendments to be considered at second reading. Policies are generally approved on a third and final reading. The policies are posted on the Board’s policy website for public comment.
DEAB (LOCAL) Compensation Plan: Wage and Hours
DED (LOCAL) Compensation and Benefits: Vacations and Holidays

Adoption of Policy

Trustees unanimously adopted on third and final reading TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) Policy Update 112, which revises 12 policies, creates a new policy and deletes one policy.
List of Affected Policies

Consent Agenda

Trustees unanimously approved the consent agenda, a list of items considered as a whole. Trustees have the privilege of removing an item from the consent agenda for separate consideration. No items were removed. Trustee Karen Peck abstained from voting on items C (14) and D.
Consent Agenda

Program Updates: Bilingual and English Learners

Trustees heard an update on bilingual and English Learners (EL), specifically on the SBISD Dual Language Program Guide and on newcomer services. The program guide, a new document produced by Director of Bilingual and ESL Instruction Michelle Burke and a team of language specialists, describes the one-way and two-way dual language programs offered in SBISD.

Newcomer services include academic support, partnerships and social-emotional support newcomers and their families and professional learning for staff. Burke said a newcomer is one who is 3-21 years old, who is in his or her first year of school in the U.S. SBISD has had 873 newcomers this school year, in all grade levels.
Bilingual/EL Update Presentation

Superintendent Search Survey Results

Trustees heard a report from a survey querying district stakeholders (staff, parents, students, community) on qualities desired in a new superintendent. Director of Research and Evaluation Mike Thomas said that the survey generated nearly 2,400 responses with some 4,000 comments to four open-ended questions, which Thomas grouped responses into categories. Stakeholders responded that what they liked best about SBISD was the community, teachers and staff and the focus on students. They saw the biggest challenges as funding and inequity. They want the next superintendent to have integrity, be approachable and know the community. The next superintendent should also have experience, vision and values and be able to communicate well. Board President Pam Goodson said that the results reflect what the Board already knows – the importance of community in SBISD.

Emergency Closure Due to Weather Conditions

Dr. Muri said that because of a Board policy adopted after Hurricane Harvey [DEC (LOCAL) Emergency Closure Leave Plan], the superintendent can declare that no makeup day is needed because of system closure due to inclement weather. The district was closed on Friday, May 10, because of heavy rain and flooding conditions across the Houston area. Staff will receive pay for that day.

The next scheduled meeting of the SBISD Board of Trustees will be a workshop on Monday, June 10, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Wayne F. Schaper Leadership Center, 955 Campbell.