The School Zone: News


Executive Session

Trustees met in a closed executive session during a 5:30 p.m. Special Meeting to discuss routine and other personnel matters, to consult with the Board’s attorney, and to consider the Superintendent’s evaluation. No public action was taken after the closed session.
Special Meeting Agenda

Opening Remarks

In recognition of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Superintendent Jennifer Blaine, Ed.D., noted that she was very grateful and thankful for so many things – for her position, for the Board of Trustees, for SBISD Senior Staff, for district administrators, for all the “teachers who work hard every day and get students to work super hard,” for SBISD parents, and for the “amazing Spring Branch community that has really embraced all of us as the Spring Branch family.”

Citizens Participation

Eight district residents spoke for up to 4 minutes each on topics of interest. Speakers included one who spoke in support of previous SBISD administration presentations related to a possible underground drainage detention plan on Memorial Middle School property involving outside, third-party groups. In addition, five parents and two students told Trustees that they supported a continuing district review of the Summit program learning platform at Academy of Choice (AOC). All seven support the AOC-specific online learning platform and the related staff and structures there for specialized student instruction.

Special Presentations

Sights and Sounds Around Spring Branch ISD

Trustee Minda Caesar introduced an “In the Zone – November 2019” video presentation created by the Communications Dept. about recent events and programs involving SBISD students, teachers, staff and families.
Sights and Sounds Around SBISD Video

CenterPoint Energy Load Management Program – Incentive Check Award

Trustee J. Carter Breed introduced a special presentation on the school district’s participation with the CenterPoint Energy Load Management Program. The program provides incentives to decrease demand on request during times of peak electrical grid use. It has been a win-win for SBISD and CenterPoint for the past seven years, Breed said, resulting in more than $1.1 million in district rebates. SBISD also continues to partner with CenterPoint Energy in its School Conserving Resource (SCORE) program. Presenting this year’s rebate check of $139,048.44 to the district was CenterPoint Staff Consulting Engineer for Energy Efficiency Calvin Burnham. He noted that SBISD was the largest school organization of its kind involved in the program this past year. SBISD’s incentive check was more than similar rebates awarded to Texas Southern and Rice universities, as well as the University of Houston.

Recognition of the Newest America’s Healthiest School Honorees

SBISD Superintendent Jennifer Blaine; Board President Pam Goodson; SBISD Director of Facilities James Mora; CenterPoint Staff Consulting Engineer-Energy Efficiency, Calvin Burnham; SBISD Energy Manager Robbie Siems; SBISD Associate Superintendent for Operations Travis Stanford.


Recognition of the Newest America’s Healthiest School Honorees

Trustee Josef Klam introduced recognition of the district’s newest group of America’s Healthiest Schools honorees. SBISD had six campuses named to the 2019 awards list by the national Alliance for a Healthier  Generation. In recent years, 11 SBISD schools were named as Healthiest Schools winners. The alliance honored 355 schools in 23 states for earning the distinction this year. Local Director of Student Wellness Darlene Evans introduced SBISD principals and Campus School Health Advisory Committee (CSHAC) chairs at the newly honored elementary campuses: Bunker Hill, Cedar Brook, Frostwood, Hollibrook, Memorial Drive and Treasure Forest.

Recognition of the Newest America’s Healthiest School Honorees

Superintendent Jennifer Blaine and Board President Pam Goodson pose with Darlene Evans, district Student Wellness director, and Leslie Wylie, assistant director, and elementary principal and CSHAC chair honorees: Dana Johnson and Jennifer Lassiter, Bunker Hill; Alejandra Perez and Courtney Roberts, Cedar Brook; Pam Pennington and Marion Thames, Frostwood; Anabel Taylor and Cherilyn Lantrip, Hollibrook; Jerona Williams and Shari Halvorson, Treasure Forest. Not pictured here, Kathleen Jeremiassen and Jordan Nguyen, Memorial Drive.


Second Reading of Policy

Trustees held a second reading of local policy BQA Planning and Decision-making Process: District Level. This proposal reflects minor language changes involving the District Improvement Team. New or amended policies come up before the Board at least three times before a vote on final approval occurs. The policy was posted online for public review and comment. As of Nov. 18, no public comment or proposed amendments were received, Trustee Karen Peck reported. Final reading and policy adoption are scheduled for the Dec. 16 Board of Trustees regular meeting.
Policy BQA (Local) Planning and Decision-making Process: District Level

Adoption of Policy

Trustees voted unanimously (7-0) to adopt local policy CAA, Fiscal Management Goals and Objectives: Financial Ethics. The policy, related to purchasing contracts, was posted on the Board’s policy-related website and three separate public Board readings were also held.
Policy CAA (Local) Fiscal Management Goals and Objectives: Financial Ethics

Audit Report by Whitley Penn

Associate Superintendent for Finance Karen Wilson introduced Whitley Penn Partner Celina Cereceres, CPA, and Whitley Penn Senior Manager Dan Hernandez, CPA. Ms. Cereceres presented an independent audit report. The Texas Education Code requires that school district financial records be audited yearly by an independent auditor. Such audits are also mandated due to federal grant requirements involving awards of $750,000 or more. Whitley Penn’s audit team spent four weeks on site in SBISD, plus several more weeks off site. In summary, SBISD received the highest possible audit opinion, or rating, called an Unmodified Opinion. Audit review of major federal programs also won SBISD an Unmodified Opinion. The audit included an analysis and review of the district’s finances, including general fund revenue and expenditures; state aid and property taxes, including total property taxes paid to the state (recapture); and remaining fund balance. The audit found that SBISD held a healthy “unassigned” fund balance in 2018-2019 of $115 million, which is maintained for possible emergency or other unanticipated needs.
Whitley Penn Audit Report Presentation

Action Requests

Approval of Whitley Penn 2018-2019 Audit

Trustees voted unanimously (7-0) to approve the 2018-19 Whitley Penn Audit Report.  Several Trustees congratulated district leadership, and specifically the Finance Dept. team, for the clean report and best-possible audit opinion, an Unmodified Opinion. Texas Education Code requires that state school district finances be audited annually by an independent auditor. The Whitley Penn audit report will be given to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). SBISD’s recently completed Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, or CAFR, will also be submitted to the TEA. The CAFR rated the district’s finances and related operations and functions highly, too.
Request for Approval of 2018-2019 Audit

Approval of LeadSBISD Cohort I Roster

Trustees voted unanimously (7-0) to approve the first cohort of 28 representative members selected by lottery to participate in the Board of Trustees’ new community development program, LeadSBISD. More than 160 parents and community members applied to join the program. LeadSBISD membership reflects SBISD’s diversity, with the initial roster of 28 chosen through middle school feeder pattern lottery. Four LeadSBISD representatives were each selected from the district’s seven middle school feeder residence zones, or feeder patterns.
Request for Approval of LeadSBISD Cohort I Roster
Related SBISD News Release

Land Parcel Purchase Approval for Future School Site Expansion or Related Need

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously (7-0) to approve purchase of 4.7 acres of property located at or near the intersection of Campbell Road and Raider Circle to be used for future school site expansion or other future district needs.
Request for Approval of Land Parcel Purchase for Future School Site Expansion or Other Needs

Consent Agenda

Trustees approved unanimously (7-0) the Consent Agenda, with abstentions by Trustee Karen Peck on two agenda items (Items 9D & 9E). The consent agenda reflects those items considered to be routine. The Consent Agenda is voted on and approved as a whole unless a Trustee removes one or more items for separate consideration.
Consent Agenda Action Items (View Full Agenda for All Items)

Bond Oversight Committee Report

Trustees heard the second annual report from Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) co-chairs Kathy Goss and Lewis Gissel. Goss praised the committee’s 18 members, who have earned the nickname of SBISD Groupies, due to the engagement, involvement and experience they bring to the committee’s process and work. In addition, many current BOC members serve SBISD in another direct capacity or indirectly through related organizations that benefit SBISD students or staff.

Co-chair Gissel described 2019 as the Year of the T, referring to Technology, Transportation, Trombones and Tubas, Task Forces (PAT) and Titles. The voter-approved $898.4 million bond program has recently held or announced three separate groundbreaking events at Landrum Middle and Hunters Creek and Cedar Brook Elementary schools. During the past two years, meanwhile, bond related funds have paid for student digital expansion and technology upgrades at middle and high schools, 19 propane school buses, and a $2 million investment in new student instruments and uniforms for band and orchestra students.

Gissel’s other “T” references included the bond planning task forces known as PATs (Project Advisory Teams) and recent district title changes like new Superintendent Jennifer Blaine, who helped plan and develop early bond work. BOC members have been assigned to pending campus projects as well as the CTE (Career & Technical Education) Task Force to observe and gather feedback. So far, the BOC has held eight quarterly meetings. By September, the district had spent only $34.1 million in bond funds. Gissel’s prediction is that 2020 will be known as the Year of Construction.
Bond Oversight Committee Presentation
Bond 2017 Website