Trustees met in executive session to discuss personnel matters, the superintendent’s evaluation and to consult with the board’s attorney. Upon return to open session, Trustees unanimously approved the termination of Cornerstone Academy teacher Whitney Laidlaw.
Special Meeting Agenda
Dr. Muri told Trustees about a recent meeting with several U.S. representatives, including Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where he talked about the TRIO Electric partnership between SBISD, TRIO and HCC.
Recognition of #IAMSBISD
Trustees recognized a district volunteer and several community partners with the #IAMSBISD award, presented by senior staff to individuals or groups who embody one or more of the district’s core values of Every Child, Collaborative Spirit, Collective Greatness, Limitless Curiosity and Moral Compass.
Jon Rice, a longtime Rummel Creek Elementary volunteer, continues to serve students there – years after his own children have moved on. Rice helps RCE students with hands-on science experiments and helps fifth-graders conduct a moot court. He also helps other elementary schools have these opportunities.
Longtime district partner and original Good Neighbor the Assistance League of Houston (ALH) was recognized for Collective Greatness for Operation School Bell, which raises money for new school uniforms. Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman said that with a small group of volunteers ALH provided 324 SBISD students with uniforms this school year. Receiving the recognition was ALH President Marilyn Brooks and volunteer Lynn Schoenberger.
Another longtime district partner, Memorial Assistance Ministries, was recognized for Collective Greatness for supplying more than 6,000 uniform vouchers to students – up from 600 just a few years ago. MAM President Martha Macris, Senior Vice President of Programs Matthew Cox and Director of Case Management and Family of Assistance Nelda Allen received the recognition for MAM.
Presentation of Spring Branch Education Foundation Gifts to District
Spring Branch ISD received nearly $2 million in gifts from the Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF) last year. Buchman noted that this year’s amount included a Hurricane Harvey relief fund that raised more than $1 million after setting an initial goal of $20,000. All funds were distributed to district staff and their families who were displaced by the storm. SBEF enriches the educational experience for SBISD students through classroom mini-grants, field trips, scholarships and more. Representing SBEF was former chair Lisa Schwartz.
Recognition of Alliance for a Healthier Generation National Award Winners
Trustees recognized 11 SBISD schools as winners of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Award. Three campuses – Hunters Creek, Frostwood and Wilchester elementaries – won National Silver while eight campuses – Edgewood, Housman, Meadow Wood, Pine Shadows, Rummel Creek, Spring Shadows and Westwood elementaries and Landrum Middle School – earned National Bronze. Director of Student Wellness Darlene Evans and Amanda Krippel of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation made the presentations. Krippel in particular lauded the chairs of District School Health Advisory Council, the Campus School Health Advisory Councils and the Kids School Health Advisory Councils as “trailblazers” due to the tediousness of the application, saying that they went “above and beyond.”
Recognition of Holly Hartman
Memorial High School journalism teacher and Region 4 Secondary Teacher of the Year Holly Hartman was recognized by Region 4 Director Pam Wells. Hartman was unable to attend the Region 4 awards dinner due to a previously scheduled trip out of the country. Wells praised Hartman as one of two regional teachers of the year and presented her with a bag of gifts, an office chair and a laptop computer. Hartman said that being Teacher of the Year has been a wonderful experience and praised her colleagues both statewide and at MHS.
Public Hearing on 2018 Tax Rate
Trustees opened a public hearing on the proposed 2018 tax rate. Associate Superintendent for Finance Karen Wilson said that the proposed tax rate of $1.3945 hasn’t changed since 2010, although the pieces this year will be configured a little differently. For this year only, a “swap” of two cents between the Interest and Sinking (debt service) rate of $.3045 and Maintenance and Operations tax rate of $1.09 will generate not only additional general fund revenue but also additional state revenue of $2 million. For one year only, the I&S rate will be .2845 while the M&O rate will be $1.11. The total tax rate of $1.3945 does not change, and the additional revenue is not subject to recapture (Robin Hood). The 2019 budget approved in June and the tax rate are based on a 2.4 percent increase in aggregate property values. There were no public comments during the hearing.
Public Hearing Presentation
First Reading of Policy
Trustees heard on first reading several updates to local policies as recommended by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). Policies go through three readings and are generally approved on third reading. The policies are posted on the Board of Trustees website for public review and comment.
TASB Policy Update 111
Board Policy Website
Report of School Board Member Training
SBISD Board Member Training Report
Approval of Resolution Setting 2018 Tax Rate
Trustees unanimously approved the 2018 tax rate of $1.3945 and the accompanying resolution. (See PUBLIC HEARING above).
Tax Rate Resolution
Approval of Budget Amendment for Safety
Trustees unanimously approved a budget amendment of nearly $1 million to fund recommendations from the district’s Safety Committee, including the addition of five police officers and related equipment and vehicles, exterior lighting and entrance vestibule upgrades, and additional radios for campus communications.
Trustees unanimously approved the consent agenda, a collection of items that are considered routine and acted on as a whole. Board members have the privilege of removing items for separate consideration. Trustee Minda Caesar removed item 9(I) (Approval of Campus Improvement Plans), while Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri removed item 9(M) (Approval for Acceptance of Grant Awards) for a correction. Caesar said she pulled the Campus Improvement Plans (CIP) to underscore these as an opportunity to engage with school communities and for those communities to think about ways to engage with their Campus Improvement Teams (CIT). Dr. Muri said he pulled the grant awards item because a listed TEA grant has not been formally approved by TEA. Trustees unanimously approved both items, without the TEA grant.
Consent Agenda (item 9)
Legislative Agenda for 86th Texas Legislature
Trustees unanimously approved the district’s agenda for the 86th Texas Legislature, which opens for its 140-day biennial session on Jan. 8, 2019. Trustee Chris Vierra, the board’s legislative liaison, coordinated the agenda’s development and thanked Trustees for their input. “It’s a great document,” she said. “The community can look at it and see our priorities.” She urged those eligible to register to vote, and to pay attention to what the local delegation does in Austin during the session.
Child Nutrition Services
Trustees heard a report and update on Child Nutrition Services (CNS), which because of the federal dollars involved operates under the finance division. CNS Director Chris Kamradt told Trustees that his department has 330 employees who provide four separate feeding programs in SBISD: breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks and summer feeding. He said that through federal reimbursements, state matching funds and paying for meals, no local tax dollars are used to subsidize CNS. Accepting that money puts “onerous” nutritional standards on what the district serves, he said. He said that SBISD never removes a meal from a student who cannot pay and that CNS has received more than $6,600 from donors through the Spring Branch Education Foundation. During the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Kamradt said, the CNS team fed not only students and families but at times first responders. SBISD’s CNS has earned the Texas Association for School Nutrition’s highest award for its operations and practices for 25 consecutive years.
Kamradt introduced a special guest – Richard Pikes, a special needs student in SBISD’s TOPS program and a new hire at Pine Shadows Elementary, where his mother also works.
Dr. Muri told Trustees that he and other area superintendents met with Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who told the group that the DA’s office is mental health focused in its approach to fighting juvenile crime. He said that was impressive, that an organization whose world is crime and punishment is looking to help prevent crime by addressing mental health issues.
The next meeting of the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees is a workshop on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Wayne F. Schaper Sr. Leadership Center, 955 Campbell.