Board Meeting Last Night

by Coy Holcombe.  

The Eustace ISD Board of Trustees met in regular session last night. The actions taken included:

  • Approved minutes from previous meeting
  • Approved financial report
  • Approved a resolution to withdraw from the Henderson County Shared Services Arrangement and begin operation of the district’s own special education program beginning with the 2011-2012 school year.
  • Approved the code of conduct as presented
  • Proposed a total tax rate of $1.2763. This tax rate is composed of an M & O tax rate of $1.04 and an I & S tax rate of $0.2363.
  • Approved the Sale of Property as presented
  • Accepted the resignation of the following personnel: Clay Tracy, Julie Holder, Shannon Smith, & Clint Guinn
  • Employed the following personnel: Alicia Sanders, Casey Espinosa, Phillip Smith, Clint Thompson, and Craig Peek
  • Accepted the following resignations from the Henderson County Shared Services Arrangement: Sonya Barnett & Mack Saxon
  • Approved a student transfer request
  • Adjourned

The next regular meeting of the EISD Board of Trustees will be held on August 17, 2010.

Board Meeting Tonight

by Coy Holcombe.  

Tonight the Eustace ISD Board of Trustees will hold their regular monthly meeting. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM and be held in the HS library. Everyone is encouraged to attend tonight’s meeting.

Agenda items include:

General Reports

  • 2010 Local Education Agency LEA Determinations
  • Henderson County SSA Budget Comparison
  • 08-09 Drop Out Data
  • Henderson County Appraisal District Operating Budget for 10-11
  • PaySchools Report
  • Preliminary FIRST Rating
  • Property List for Sale
  • Revised Title I Planning Amounts for 10-11
  • Attendance Comparison
  • Renewal Costs for Liability, Property, and Vehicle Insurance for 10-11

Other agenda items:

  • Review district finance data for upcoming years
  • Consider resolution to withdraw from the Henderson County Shared Services Arrangement and start the district’s own special education program for the 11-12 school year.
  • Consider Code of Conduct, Student Handbook, and EIC(Local) Policy for the 10-11 school year.
  • Consider proposed tax rate for 10-11
  • Consider sale of property
  • Review Employee Handbook
  • Closed Meeting – Personnel & Students
  • Action on Closed Session items
  • Adjourn

 

UIL Update

by Coy Holcombe.  

 At the TASA Summer Conference, I also had an opportunity to hear an update from the UIL. Dr. Charles Breithaupt, Executive Director, and Mark Cousins, Policy Director, made the presentation. Below is a summary of their topics:

  • 1A and 2A schools will advance three teams to the playoffs in football. The district champion will have a bye in the first round.
  • 2010-2011 Rule Changes
    • Allow a school or a school district to designate start and end dates for summer strength and conditioning in grades 7-12 not to exceed a six-week period during the summer.
    • Require all coaches to complete an UIL Rules Compliance Program as a replacement for the COPE program.
    • Allow the selection of one additional individual and/or relay team in each event to advance from the regional meet to state.
  • Sports Officials
    • Litigation against UIL from the sports officials continue.
    • There has been a temporary restraining order issued against sports officials registering with the UIL.
    • UIL plan for sports officials included having them pass an open book rules test with at least a 70 to officiate, having playoff officials score at least an 80 on the exam, and to require background checks on all officials.
  • Reclassification and Realignment – an Ad Hoc Committee was formed to examine the following:
    • Enrollment Figures – how should schools count their enrollment for reclassification purposes?
    • Conferences – How many should there be?
    • Secrecy – Can UIL be more open about the reclassification and realignment issue?
    • Split Conferences – Should these continue?
    • Playoff Teams – How many should advance?
    • Soccer – Is 3A ready for soccer? Currently there are 90 3A districts playing soccer.
  • Legislature – Topics that the UIL thinks that the legislature will look at when it convenes in January
    • Budget Concerns
    • Eligibility Rules
    • Health and Safety

If you would like to learn more about the UIL, I encourage you to visit their website: http://www.uil.utexas.edu/ 

 

 

 

 

 

TASA Summer Conference, Part II

by Coy Holcombe.  

As I mentioned yesterday, the vast majority of this year’s summer conference focused on school finance. We got to hear Lisa Dawn-Fisher, deputy associate commissioner for school finance at TEA, Lynn Moak of Moak, Casey & Associates, and Omar Garcia, director of statewide school finance from ESC Region 13. Each of these people gave presentations about different aspects of the current school finance situation and what is likely to be coming up for the next biennium. We also heard from Catherine Clark, associate executive director, Texas Association of School Boards, and David Thompson, the attorney that has handled lawsuits against the state over school finance.

Briefly, some of the major points of each:

Lynn Moak

  • How did we get to our current financial situation?
    • $11 billion was used to fund permanent programs last legislative session
    • Recession
    • School property tax cuts and business tax increases
  • Estimated $2 billion deficit in current biennium
  • What can be done?
    • August payment to schools will be delayed
    • Budget cuts
    • Perhaps a more optimistic opinion from the comptroller on economic growth
  • Expected deficit in the next biennium – around $15 billion
  • Cannot cover deficit from the 10% cuts from state agencies
  • Solutions
    • Use some rainy day funds
    • Various accounting "tricks"
    • Federal help

Catherine Clark

  • TASB will propose a school finance system that produces equity and adequacy

David Thompson

  • 70% of adult Texans do not have school age children
  • Concerns about current system
    • Target revenue and disparity in target revenue
    • State property tax – discretion has become what do we cut
    • Adequacy – how well the students are doing

Omar Garcia – Omar is the person that develops the template that estimates how much funding a school district is earning.

  • New money for the 10-11 school year will be $0.95/WADA
  • For the next three years (at a minimum) we will have to live with the same amount of funding we received in 09-10.
  • School districts will be lucky to keep what they have now

Lisa Dawn-Fisher

  • There will be a shortfall in funding for this current school year.
  • Will have to "borrow" from the 10-11 school year.
  • This will definitely cause a shortfall for the 10-11 funding year.
  • Legislature will have to appropriate money to cover this shortfall.
  • If legislature does not appropriate this money, then proration would occur.

As you can see, the economics are not great for additional funding opportunities. As always, as soon as I learn additional details, I will pass them on to you. If you have any questions about any of the above information, please do not hesitate to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

 

 

TASA Summer Conference

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last week, Mrs. Beasley and I attended the TASA Summer Conference in Austin. This is an annual conference that brings administrators together to hear topics of interest going into the new school year. The theme at many of the sessions this year was school finance. Over the next few days, I will be summarizing some of the sessions that I attended. 

Dr. Bill Poston, Iowa State University – presented a lecture entitled, "Confronting Cutbacks and Critics". Dr. Poston’s main points included:

  • For the coming year, there will be a loss of about 300,000 teacher jobs across the country due to cutbacks in spending.
  • At the same time, the majority of the states have increased standards for students.
  • Critical Ideas for Systems in Trouble
    • Immediate action is essential – inattention makes a crisis worse
    • Haste makes waste – know the problem before moving toward a solution
    • Efficiencies come first, but they should be focused and selective.
  • Economic Confidence comes from three forces: alignment, prudence, and performance
  • Areas of Budget Planning Momentum
    • Organizational restructuring – clarify goals, identify alternatives, institute quality control
    • Decision Making – use of effective collaboration strategies
    • Performance Orientation – scrutinize operations with assessment, feedback, and use needs
    • Organizational Focus – limit our activities – don’t try to do everything
  • What it takes to work
    • Transparency
    • Collaboration
    • Tangibility
    • Quality Assurance
    • Productivity

Dr. Poston’s presentation was timely and necessary during these times of cutbacks. For the 2010-2011 school year, EISD used a version of program budgeting to examine expenditures in all program areas, to provide opportunities for collaborative decision making with regards to the budget, and to prioritize spending.

Tomorrow, we will talk about the current school funding situation in Texas.