Dr. Muri gave a brief update on the 86th Texas Legislature, now just past the halfway point. The Texas House last week passed House Bill 3, its comprehensive school finance reform package, which the Senate is expected to take up this week. The House Public Education Committee this week will hear some 40 bills, including one that considers ISD/charter school partnerships such as SBISD’s SKY Partnership. He said he’d be in Austin most of the week testifying and continuing to visit legislators.
Second Reading of Policies
Trustees heard on second reading eight board policies leading to exemptions from the Texas Education Code as a District of Innovation (DOI). Trustees approved an amendment to Policy DBA (Local), and expressed concerned with inserting the word “certified” before “industry professionals” in a proposed amendment to Policy DCE (Local). Dr. Muri thought inclusion of “certified” might be limiting and said that staff would work on the wording.
Policies under consideration:
AF (LOCAL) INNOVATION DISTRICTS
DBA (LOCAL) EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS, CREDENTIALS AND RECORDS
DCE (LOCAL) EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES, OTHER TYPES OF CONTRACTS
DK (LOCAL) ASSIGNMENT AND SCHEDULES
DN (LOCAL) PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL
DNA (LOCAL) PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL, EVALUATION OF TEACHERS
EB (LOCAL) SCHOOL YEAR
FEC (LOCAL) ATTENDANCE, ATTENDANCE FOR CREDIT
Buffalo Creek Elementary and Treasure Forest Elementary Renovations Projects
Trustees heard updates and got a look at plans for the renovations of Buffalo Creek Elementary and Treasure Forest Elementary, projects that are part of the $898.4 million bond program approved by voters in November 2017. The campuses are similar in age and layout (both were built in the mid-1990s) and will receive major mechanical upgrades. Each school will also receive renovations around its media center, a core component in the layout, determined by a Project Advisory Team (PAT) comprising staff, parents and community and led by the Huckabee architectural firm. The renovations around each media center will bring in more natural light and reclaim and increase the flexibility of collaborative spaces. Each school’s entryway will be reconfigured to be more “welcoming.”
The projects were originally scheduled to be completed over two summers – the mechanical work during the first summer and the interior renovations the second. But the projects are being rebid with a contract award expected at the Board’s June 24 regular meeting. Director of Planning and Construction Travis Stanford said that work would begin immediately once approved, through July then around school functions during the coming school year.
BCE and TFE Presentation
Student Code of Conduct
A presentation on updates to the Student Code of Conduct led to a discussion of district dress codes and a staff-proposed alcohol intervention program for students. SBISD addresses student dress in the Student Handbook but leaves final authority to campuses. Some are freer in their student dress while others require uniforms. The proposed changes in the Code of Conduct allow administrators some flexibility in dealing with dress code violations, sparking concern from several Trustees concerned that enforcement should be “consistent and equitable.”
As presented, the alcohol intervention program would require a two-day out-of-school suspension followed by 10 days of a district-sponsored alcohol intervention program. A student would be placed in the District Alternative Education Program (DAEP) for 45 days if he or she failed to successfully complete the 10-day program. Trustees wondered about the equity and consistency of such a program and wondered whether the same policy could include marijuana, which they said was far more prevalent than alcohol on some district campuses. In fact, community superintendents Jennifer Parker and Bryan Williams said that 38 SBISD students have been disciplined this year for alcohol offenses, and 141 for marijuana offenses. Trustees acknowledged that alcohol is illegal for those under 21 but does become legal at that age, and that marijuana is not legal in Texas but in some jurisdictions, including Harris County, possession of small amounts results in a civil, not criminal, offense. They worried that stricter enforcement of marijuana violations would be inequitable and inconsistent. Parker and Williams said that the policies are still under development and that recommendations would be taken for consideration.
Student Code of Conduct Summary of Changes
Student Code of Conduct
Trustees went into executive session at the end of the regular workshop meeting to discuss personnel matters and the superintendent’s mid-year evaluation. Trustees unanimously approved routine personnel items upon return to open session.
The next meeting of the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees will be a retreat on Friday, April 12, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Technology Training Center, 14330 Memorial.
The next regular meeting will be Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at the Wayne F. Schaper Sr. Leadership Center, 955 Campbell.