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Hirschi, Wichita Falls High School Set to Receive New Band Uniforms

Hirschi, Wichita Falls High School Set to Receive New Band Uniforms

District readies for Fall 2019 when all three high schools will have new uniforms at the same time 

In a moment of show-and-tell in Tuesday’s Special Session, Fine Arts Director Kelly Strenski showed board members a new black coat and black bibbers that are the foundation of new uniforms purchased for the three WFISD high school bands.

Students need to add only the interchangeable school breastplates and each school’s signature plumes to customize the uniforms for each high school. This makes it easy to swap the uniforms between schools as needs arise, said Ms. Strenski.

The informal presentation was made Tuesday at a noon special session of the WFISD school board.

Ms. Strenski explained that band students at Hirschi and Wichita Falls High School were fitted individually for the band uniforms before Christmas, and the finished garments will be additionally customized with snap-up cuffs and hems. Rider student uniforms, previously ordered, have been en route and the delivery truck “literally pulled into town today,” said Ms. Strenski.

WFISD band students have been wearing uniforms purchased in 2008, a style that was baggier than today’s new closely fitted garments. The old uniforms came with a 12-year warranty that will soon expire.

Chief Financial Officer Tim Sherrod asked board members to approve the purchase of the band uniforms for Hirschi and WFHS for $212,321,08 to Fruhauf Uniforms, Inc., of Wichita, Kansas. The uniforms will be purchased with co-op pricing.

To pay for the new uniforms, the District customarily sets aside $50,000 per year toward Fine Arts expenses. This year, the District can fund $50,000 of the purchase but it will require the Board to take $162,321.08 from its fund balance.

The annual set-aside money also must fund instruments, which will become an urgent need before the eight-year warranty on these uniforms expires, said Board President Elizabeth Yeager.

“What will happen to the old uniforms?” asked board member Katherine McGregor.

Some well-funded bands that get new uniforms every year often sell old uniforms on various websites, said Ms. Strenski. Other bands with older, more heavily used uniforms sometimes donate them to underprivileged bands around the world. For example, a Brazil band is fond of the Rider uniforms and has requested for the past two years that the uniforms be donated to them.

“Certain pieces can be repurposed,” said Ms. Strenski. WFISD would probably keep its headdress plumes.


NIMS Becomes District Standard

WFISD’s Safety and Security Committee, coordinated by At-Risk Director Betsi Morton, identified a key need in the District: WFISD personnel need to use the same language and terminology spoken by police and fire department officials when they talk about safety drills and emergency measures with staff members.

As WFISD updates and revises its Emergency Operation Plan (EOP), Ms. Morton wants to align the EOP vocabulary with the various federal, state and local governmental standards by formally adopting NIMS – National Incident Management System – as its standard for all incident management.

Once board members approve the NIMS standard, training will be conducted with staff members to educate them on proper terminology and procedures.

Safety and Security Committee members are Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths, Ms. Morton, and Security Services Director Bill Horton.

“We had a system, but hadn’t practiced enough,” said Superintendent Mike Kuhrt. “We’re trying to standardize. These guys (firemen and police officers) are standardized; we were not.”


School Calendar Adoption

Calendar Committee chairman Debby Patterson submitted two calendar options for the 2019-2020 school year and asked board members’ approval of one of them.

By an overwhelming margin, calendar committee members prefer Calendar A.1, she said. This calendar has a school start date of August 15 and an end date of May 21. Its spring break also aligns with the spring breaks of both Vernon College and Midwestern State University.

A second calendar, called Calendar E, has a start date of August 15 but ends the school year on May 28.

With little discussion, board members moved ahead with Calendar A.1 by putting it on the Consent Agenda for approval.

Corporal Punishment Removed

A November 2018 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) declared that corporal punishment is harmful and brings few benefits to students as a behavior management strategy. The report prompted Debby Patterson, executive director of school administration, to consider how to handle the District’s own corporal punishment policy.

Corporal punishment is still used in WFISD elementary schools with a parent’s permission. This school year, for example, it has been used 20 times out of hundreds of disciplinary incidents. “Since it’s so infrequently used, there is no need to have it,” said Mr. Kuhrt.

Ms. Patterson asked board members for permission to remove corporal punishment as a method used as a discipline management technique. She will change the Student Code of Conduct online and in future printed copies to reflect the change. The revision requires removing only one line of copy.

“I think (removing it) is the right thing to do,” said board president Ms. Yeager.


Texas Education Agency Annual Report

Chapter 39 of the Texas Education Code requires each school district’s Board of Trustees to publish an annual report that includes the Texas Academic Performance Report, or TAPR, which includes campus performance objectives, a report of violent or criminal incidents, and information received from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Mr. Griffiths, associate superintendent, made a brief presentation of the material that will be the focus of a public hearing on Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

The required report contains data that has been previously analyzed by WFISD administrators to make improvements at local schools, he said. However, school districts are required to present the data in a public hearing, then to post it online, and provide printed copies to the Wichita Falls Public Library and to the Education Center.

The annual TAPR captures data and statistics from WFISD’s 2017-2018 school year, comparing local performances to state achievements.


Audited Financial Report for Fiscal Year Ended Aug. 31, 2018

Claire Wootton, a presenter from Weaver and Tidwell, L.L.P., summarized the final Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year Ended Aug. 31, 2018 for board members Tuesday.

The District received an unmodified opinion from the auditors, which reflected a clean opinion, “the best you can get,” said Ms. Wootton.

The report had a material weakness this year requiring some corrective action of some costs that were pegged to the wrong budget year. A plan was made so similar mistakes will not happen next year, she said.


Resale Bid

Board members were asked to approve the resale bid for 1215 Tulip Street, which was submitted by CFO Tim Sherrod.

The property was previously struck off to the City of Wichita Falls, which acts as the Trustee for the City, Wichita County and WFISD. A structure has been removed from the property, which had a struck-off value of $2,215. It is currently appraised at $750, with a written offer to buy for $400.


Financial Reports as of Nov. 30, 2018

Mr. Sherrod asked board members to approve the year-to-date financial and investment reports.

The financial reports reflect three months of operations, or 25 percent of the fiscal year, for the General Fund, the Food Service Fund and the Debt Service Fund.

For the General Fund, revenues were 31 percent last year, compared to 29.38 percent this year. Expenditures were 25.48 percent, compared to 24.2 percent this year.

For the Food Service Fund, revenues were 25.85 percent last year, compared to 30.95 percent this year. Expenditures were 28.5 percent last year, compared to 30.18 percent this year.

For the Debt Service Fund, revenues were 7.92 percent last year, compared to 8.81 percent this year. Expenditures were 0 percent last year, compared to 0.02 percent this year.


2018 Budget Amendments

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved budget amendments to the 2018-2019 budget as submitted by Mr. Sherrod.

In the General Fund, there were 10 transfers between functions made for costs ranging from $23 at Crockett Elementary for Spelling Bee trophies to $20,000 spent by the Career Education Center for student certifications.

The General Operating Fund was also revised to appropriate additional revenue and expenditures, such as $630,541.19 for the Athletic Complex board-approved Memorial Stadium repairs and deck coating, and for counselor increases at several campuses totaling $113,887.42 for a final total of $744,428.61.

There were no proposed amendments to the Food Service or Debt Service budgets.


Fund Balance Update

Mr. Sherrod updated board members on the status of the District’s Fund Balance.

The actual fund balance at Sept. 1, 2018 (per audit) for the General Operating Fund was $23,091,385, for the Food Service Fund was $1,102,865, and for the Debt Service Fund was $696,039. By June 30, 2019, the revised projected ending Fund Balance for the General Fund is expected to be $21,243,883; for the Food Service Fund is expected to be $1,354,357, and for the Debt Service Fund is expected to be $959,540.

Mr. Sherrod reminded board members that the District takes a conservative approach and does not budget 100 percent of its expected revenue each year. Therefore, adjustments must be made during the year.


E-Rate Category 1 and 2 Services: Data Transmission and Internal Connections

Chief Technology Officer Shad McGaha updated board members on E-Rate services for data transmission and internal connections.

The District has made requests for sealed proposals pertaining to E-Rate Category 1 and 2 services, which routinely qualify for the E-Rate reimbursement. These were posted on the Federal website (USAC), the Region 12 website and WFISD’s website.

Mr. McGaha and his team recommend going with Comcell for Telecommunications services, a local company in Windthorst. They also recommend using Netsync, a Dallas company, for Internal Connections, that would provide the District with a firewall/router for $363,107. The District will have to cover the e-rate ineligible cost of $97,409 – a one-time purchase that will be funded out of the technology budget.

The District has come a long way with its data transmission capabilities. Years ago, WFISD’s broadband internet access sat at 30 mgs, which was adequate at the time for the number of wireless devices put to use in WFISD schools. Now WFISD is at 4 GB and proposing to go to 8 GB.


2017-18 Cooperative Program Managing Fees Report

Mr. Sherrod presented to board members the report of cooperative purchasing programs used by the District during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Only two of the 16 entities require a fee. The Region VII fee of $7,695 fee is reimbursed to the District from the ABM custodian contract.

The only other fee is to the State of Texas Co-op, which charges $100 for participation. This fee is paid out of the Purchasing budget.


Personnel Report

Human Resources Director Cyndy Kohl reported the resignations of six teachers/administrators and three clerical/aide workers.

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the hiring of three new employees with a total of 10 years’ experience.