Pre-K Grant Proposed Rules

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last week, I briefly mentioned that there would be changes in the rules governing the pre-k grant program. This program allows EISD to basically receive funding for a full-day pre-k program. Normally, the state only provides funding for 1/2 day pre-k program. With the pre-k grant, the state still provides funding for 1/2 day attendance and the grant provides the funding for the other 1/2 day. This enables EISD to provide a full-day pre-k program for our 4 year olds.

The new rules were released last Friday. I will attempt to summarize the rules below, and I will provide a link that will take you to the complete text of the proposed rules.

The basic premise behind the new rules is to allow districts that do not have a full-day pre-k program to apply for funding to start a full-day program. The state is targeting the districts that do not have a full-day program and that are performing below the state standard on the state assessments in third grade (the TAKS test). The new rules provide three different tiers of funding: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3.

Tier 1 funding will have the highest percentage of available funds. This tier will target schools whose performance on the grade 3 assessments is "substantially below the state average, as defined in the grant application, for the last three consecutive years and either has not previously received a pre-k grant or did not participate in the last round of pre-k grant funding.

Tier 2 will receive a percentage of available funding. This tier takes in schools that received grant funds in the latest round of funding. The schools funded under Tier 2 must "demonstrate improved student performance results for the last three consecutive years on the Grade 3 assessment instruments" and have "demonstrated successful implementation of a prekindergarten program that includes proven readiness components".

The final tier, Tier 3 will also receive a percentage of funding. This tier takes into account schools that received funds from the latest round of funding and "has been substantially below the state average, as defined in the grant application, for the last three consecutive years".

So, where does EISD fall in these three tiers? Well, certainly, we would not qualify in either Tier 1 or Tier 3 because we have received grant funds and our performance in grade 3 is not below, but above, the state average. In Tier 2, it states that a district must show "demonstrated improved student performance results for the last three consecutive years on the Grade 3 assessment instruments". Because our scores in the third grade have been substantially above the state average, it may be difficult to show this improved performance. Over the last three years, our passing rate on the TAKS reading test in third grade have been 98%, 99%, and 96%. In the 3rd grade TAKS math, our passing percentages have been 91%, 87%, and 91%. When your scores are this high, it is difficult to show improvement.

Since there is no tier that takes into account high achievement being maintained over a multiple year period, it may be that EISD does not qualify for any pre-k grant funds because our scores on the third grade TAKS tests were too good. It appears that the new rules will not provide funds for a district such as EISD that has done everything that the state has asked and has produced scores above and beyond the state average on a consistent basis. 

It needs to be noted that these are just proposed rules at this time. Right now, TEA is taking public comments on the proposed rules. Anyone may submit comments to TEA regarding these rules. I encourage everyone interested in maintaining our full-day pre-k program to submit your comments to TEA. I believe the bottom line is that you do not build up new pre-k programs by tearing down successful pre-k programs. You may submit comments to TEA by emailing them at rules@tea.state.tx.us.

You may view the proposed rules by going to this website:

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/commissioner/proposed/1008/102-1002-ltrprop.html

Volleyball, Football, and Cross Country

by Coy Holcombe.  

With a 41-30 win against Wills Point on Friday, the Bulldogs set the stage for a showdown with Van this Friday for the district championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30. The game will be played at Van.

The win against Wills Point gives Eustace a 3-1 district record and secured a playoff berth for the Bulldogs. The last time that Eustace was in the football playoffs was 1997. Updates will be posted regarding playoff opponents and sites as information becomes available.

The Bulldog volleyball team will have their first playoff game in Gladewater this Saturday starting at 5:00. The Bulldogs will be taking on the team from New Boston. The volleyball team is currently ranked 18th in the state in class 3A.

Also, both our boys and girls cross country teams will be competing in the regional meet this Saturday. The meet will be held at Vandergriff Park in Arlington. More information will be posted later in the week regarding running times and directions.

Start making plans now for a big weekend of Bulldog sports. The support of the fans really does make a difference.

Football and Senior Night

by Coy Holcombe.  

The Bulldogs will be hosting the Wills Point Tigers tonight starting at 7:30. Not only is this an extremely important district game, it is also the last home game of the season. In addition, Senior Night activities will begin at 7:00.

I encourage everyone to come out and fill the stands tonight. Your presence and support does make a difference. Not only will you get to see a great football game, you will also get to see the Bulldog varsity cheerleaders and the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band.

Come out early to show your support and appreciation for our seniors and their families and then sit back and enjoy football, cheerleading, and music done the Bulldog way!

Pre – Kindergarten Grant

by Coy Holcombe.  

EISD offers a full day pre-k program for 4 year olds. We have offered this full day program for several years now. The reason that I emphasize "full-day" is that the state only provides funding for half-day pre-k programs. In other words, let’s say that we had an ADA of 50 in our pre-k program for the year. We would receive state funding on half of this amount, or 25 ADA (there are other considerations given by the state that might impact the overall pre-k ADA, but this is generally how it is calculated). The reason that we are able to offer a full-day pre-k program is that we receive a pre-k grant that funds the other half of the day.

For several years now, EISD has received this pre-k grant. For the 08-09 school year, we will receive about $100,000 from this grant. All of these funds go toward paying the salaries of the pre-k teachers. In the past, once you have qualified for this grant, a district would automatically be renewed to receive this grant in subsequent years (assuming that the district is meeting all the requirements of the grant).

Currently, the state is proposing changing the conditions of this pre-k grant. Tomorrow, new guidelines will be released on the rewarding of this grant. One of the changes might be that schools that are currently receiving this grant no longer automatically qualify for receiving it the next year. If this is the case, and the grant becomes a competitive grant, it will depend on the criteria set forth in the grant on whether EISD can continue to receive this funding.

We are going to closely monitor the release of the information concerning the new pre-k grant program. Further entries will be devoted to this information. While EISD may be impacted by changes in the grant program, it is far too early to tell what this impact will be.   

DISTRICT CHAMPS

by Coy Holcombe.  

Volleyball.jpg

Congratulations to the varsity volleyball team on winning the district championship. The Bulldogs defeated Mineola in three games last night to win the title. Our ladies completed district play with a 9-1 record. Over the next few days, we will be getting information to you about the playoff games. Coaches for the volleyball teams are: Chuck Powers – head coach; Shannon Smith – assistant coach; and, Laura Belt – assistant coach.

Congratulations Cross Country

by Coy Holcombe.  

The boys and girls varsity cross country teams both qualified for regionals yesterday. The girls placed 3rd and the boys placed 2nd in district competition. Congratulations to both teams, Coach Josh Sypert, and Coach Gene Myers. I know that all the team members, coaches, and parents have put in many long hours to make this season successful. Thanks to everyone involved.

A special thank you goes out to Roy Jones and his family for allowing EISD to host the district cross county meet at the 4 Pines Ranch. The course was absolutely beautiful and extremely challenging.

Also, I want to thank all the workers involved in the district cross county meet. The entire meet was very well organized and a tribute to the dedication and time put into the planning of this important event.

A reminder that the Bulldog volleyball teams will be hosting Mineola tonight in the Bulldog Gym. Starting time is set for 5:00.

Henderson County Shared Services Arrangement

by Coy Holcombe.  

Before I talk about what the Henderson County Shared Services Arrangement is, I want to congratulate the volleyball teams and the football team for their great performances on Friday night. With one game to go in district play, the varsity volleyball team is on top in the district race. Their final district game will be Tuesday against Mineola. The game will be played in Eustace, with a start time of 5:00 for the freshman team. A win against Mineola will bring home the district championship to Eustace. Please make plans now to come out and support our volleyball teams on Tuesday.

The Bulldog varsity football team improved its district record to 2-1 with a 37-15 victory over Kemp. This Friday, the Bulldogs take on Wills Point in a key district match-up. Kickoff is set for 7:30 and will take place at Bulldog Stadium.

Also, a reminder that EISD will be hosting the district cross country meet today. The meet will start at 2:00. For a complete schedule and map to the meet site, please see last Thursday’s entry.

Now, what exactly is the Henderson County Shared Services Arrangement (HCSSA) and why is it important to EISD? The HCSSA is the special education co-op of which EISD is a member. There are six other Henderson County schools that are members of the HCSSA: Brownsboro, Malakoff, Cross Roads, La Poyner, Trinidad, and Murchison. The HCSSA was formed to help provide special education services to the member districts and to help all the member schools with the costs associated with these services.

Our diagnosticians, special education counselors, life skills teachers, special service providers (such as speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc.), and behavioral specialists are all employed by the HCSSA. The costs for these services are then spread among all of the member schools. The costs are dependent on the number of students a district has in the program. Currently, EISD provides about 28% of the funding for the HCSSA. Brownsboro provides the most funding (almost 36%) and Trinidad has the lowest funding portion (2%).

The idea behind a special education co-op is for school districts to come together to provide required services in the most cost effective manner. If we were not members of the HCSSA, EISD would still be responsible for providing all of the services. The only difference would be that EISD would then be responsible for 100% of the costs associated with the services.

EISD’s portion of the funding for the HCSSA is $412,433. This money is then combined with the other schools in the co-op to pay for all of the required special education services. The HCSSA employs a director (Dr. Mack Saxon) and is governed by a board made up of the superintendents from each member district. Brownsboro serves as the fiscal agent of the co-op.

If you have any questions regarding the HCSSA, please feel free to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net. I hope everyone has a great week.

Tonight

by Coy Holcombe.  

Tonight our volleyball teams and football team travel to Kemp to take on the Yellowjackets. The start time for the volleyball games is 4:30. The freshman and JV will play first. The varsity will follow at about 6:00. Our varsity volleyball team is within two wins of claiming the district championship. I encourage everyone to please come out and support our young ladies tonight.

The Bulldog varsity football team will kickoff against Kemp at 7:30. Both teams bring 1-1 district records into tonight’s game. Please come out and support the Bulldogs in their quest to go 2-1 in district.

In addition to the volleyball and football teams, fans will have the treat of seeing our cheerleaders and band perform. Come out and enjoy a full evening of volleyball, football, cheerleading, and music done the Bulldog way!

Also, a reminder that EISD will be hosting the district cross country meet on Monday. Check out yesterday’s entry for full details on this event.

District Cross Country Meet

by Coy Holcombe.  

On Monday, October 27, EISD has the honor of hosting the district cross country meet. It has been several years since Eustace has been in charge of this meet. The meet will start at 2:00 and will take place at the 4 Pines Ranch, which is located south of Eustace on FM 2329.

I would like to thank Roy Jones and his family for allowing EISD to host the district meet on his ranch. The course is beautifully laid out and will prove to be a challenging course for all competitors. I encourage everyone to come out Monday and support all of our cross country runners.

Below is the schedule of running times for the district meet. At the top of this entry is an attachment of a map to the 4 Pines Ranch.

Schedule:                                                                   Start                           

Check-In                                           12:30 pm                      

                        JV Girls                                               2:00 pm                      

                        V Girls                                                 2:30 pm                      

                        JV Boys                                              3:00 pm                   

                        V Boys                                                3:30 pm                   

                        Jr. High Girls                                       4:00 pm                   

                        Jr. High Boys                                      4:30 pm                   

                        Awards                                             To Follow         

Facilities:       Restrooms and concessions will be available. A limited number of T-shirts will be available for $10. Water will be provided at the finish line.

Information:   If you have any questions or would like to schedule a practice session, please contact Gene Myers at 903-425-5255 (office), 903-477-1379 (cell) or by email gmyers@eustaceisd.net  

Hosted by

Eustace High School and

4 Pines Ranch

14240 FM 2329

Eustace, TX 75124

 

 

 

By the Numbers: First Six Weeks, Part 2

by Coy Holcombe.  

First, congratulations to the volleyball team on a great win against Van last night. The win puts the Bulldogs alone at the top of the district race.

Yesterday we looked at the attendance numbers from the first six weeks and compared them with the numbers used in the budget. Today, we will look at the state aid that those numbers are generating and compare that with the numbers in our budget.

Budget vs. Earned – End of the 1st Six Weeks

Earned

Budget

Difference

Regular Block Grant

$4,703,756

$4,766,154

-$62,398

Special Education

$812,613

$941,197

-$128,584

CATE

$400,405

$288,406

$111,999

GT

$30,887

$30,992

-$105

Compensatory

$689,842

$667,805

$22,037

Bilingual

$3,977

$5,432

-$1,455

Transportation

$139,000

$139,000

$0

Total Tier I

$6,780,480

$6,838,986

$-58,506

Local Share

$3,766,526

$3,766,526

$0

Tier I

$3,013,954

$3,072,460

-$58,506

Tier II

$758,389

$771,936

-$13,547

HB 1

$226,198

$228,232

-$2,034

Additional State Aid

$1,555,041

$1,561,080

-$6,039

Staff Allotment

$53,500

$53,500

$0

HB 1 (80th Session)

$48,605

$49,028

-$423

Technology

$42,298

$42,456

-$158

High School Allotment

$120,839

$115,693

$5,146

Pre-K Grant

$98,000

$98,000

$0

EDA

$129,670

$133,390

-$3,720

Total

$6,046,494

$6,125,775

-$79,281

A couple of notes: The transportation allotment is dependent on the number of miles traveled during the school year. Unless there are unusual circumstances, the amount from the previous fiscal year is used in both columns until an update is provided from the state.

Tier II Aid is tied to tax effort. We do not receive as much money as we used to in Tier II because of changes to the funding formulas.

Additional State Aid is a relatively new funding category. The majority of this funding helps offset the decrease in Tier II funds. This category came about because of the limits established for a district’s tax rate. As the legislature attempts to lower property tax bills, the funding that was dependent on property tax collections has been re-established in this category.

High School Allotment is a special category of funding that is devoted exclusively to high schools. It is based on the ADA of the high school.

EDA stands for Existing Debt Allotment. This is state aid that is used to help the district pay for its bonds.

Does the fact that we have a bottom line of -$79,281 signal problems for EISD? Well, it would if we simply spent our budgeted amounts and paid no attention to the amount of funding that we are actually earning. Of course we would like to be earning more than what we budgeted; however, as long as we are watching our bottom line and understand that we may need to adjust our budget accordingly, we will be okay. In fact, we have already made adjustments to our budget to offset the budget vs. earned difference.

A few more points: first, the numbers in the earned column are only for the first six weeks. These will be updated throughout the year. They may go up or they may go down. Regardless, the key is careful monitoring of the numbers; second, as the year progresses, further adjustments to our budget will probably need to be made; third, almost all of the funding categories are dependent on ADA (or numbers related to ADA). If our enrollment goes up, these numbers will go up; however, the converse is also true: if our enrollment goes down, these numbers will go down also.

School finance can be complicated and certainly can be confusing. If you have any questions about a certain category of funding, or questions about how a category is calculated, please feel free to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.