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Board Receives Update on Bond Construction Progress

Board Receives Update on Bond Construction Progress
 
At the school board meeting on Monday June 20, members of the WFISD board of trustees had the opportunity to watch a video outlining the bond construction projects taking place throughout the district.
 
The video showed aerial footage, as well as photographs, of construction projects at Kirby, Barwise and McNiel Middle Schools, the Career and Technical Education Center, the Memorial Stadium parking lot and the synthetic turf practice fields at all three high schools. 
 
Chief Financial Officer Jan Arrington gave an update to board members at the June special session but wanted to also provide members with a visual report of the progress.
 
Financial reports
The district's financial reports that were reported Monday night reflect business through April 2016, which is 66.7 percent of the district's fiscal year. As of April last year, the district had collected 100.6 percent of projected revenues compared to 75 percent for 2015-2016. Expenditures for 2014-2015 were at 92.5 percent compared to 50 percent for 2015-2016.
 
Ms. Arrington explained that last year's percentages were skewed because of the refund of bond money the district received during the 2014-2015 school year.
 
Board members voted 5-0 to accept the district's financial summaries. 
  
Food Service Ice Cream Bid 
Ms. Arrington recommended that the board grant the Food Service Ice Cream RFP #16-53 to Klement Ice Cream Vendors of Decatur, Texas.
 
The contract term is for one year from August 1, 2016 through July 31, 2017 with the option for two additional one-year renewals for a total of three years. The total anticipated expenditure/revenue is approximately $65,000. These are funded by the Food Service budget. 
 
Board members were provided a list of vendors that submitted proposals.
 
In a 5-0 vote, board members voted to accept the district's recommendation.
 
Burgess Elementary Standardized Dress Proposal
Executive Director of School Administration Debby Patterson asked the board to consider the request from Burgess Elementary's site-based committee to move to standardized dress for the 2016-2017 school year.

The site-based team has been meeting since August 2015 to evaluate strategies to improve student performance and behavior. The committee suggested implementing standardized dress as one possible strategy. Parents were surveyed, and 72 percent of the parents who returned the survey favored a standardized dress code. 
 
Mrs. Patterson stated that, upon board approval, communication to parents would begin as soon as possible.
Board members voted 5-0 to accept the standardized dress proposal for Burgess Elementary.
 
Special Education Program Report
At Monday night's meeting, board members heard a report summary from former Director of Special Education Christy Nash about special education services in Wichita Falls ISD.
 
The review of services for students with disabilities was conducted by Stetson & Associates, Inc. The observation took place in 89 classrooms across 13 WFISD campuses. It also included data from focus groups, faculty and parent surveys and a comparative study of nine other school districts. 
 
Stetson & Associates, Inc. broke the survey into four themes along with recommendations for each theme.
 
Theme 1: Common Vision, Shared Responsibility and Consistent Decision Making
 
Theme 2: Highly Effective Instruction for All Students
 
Theme 3: Staffing and Scheduling that Supports Student Success
 
Theme 4: Clear and Consistent Administration Support for Campuses and Staff
 
Ms. Nash noted that their findings were a "fair assessment" of the special education program as a whole.
 
"My recommendation would be to determine the most immediate needs first and what we can do now to have the biggest impact on our students," Nash said. "After we do that, then we can determine a multi-year plan." 
   
In regard to staffing Ms. Nash noted that WFISD is "somewhere in the middle." Some districts are better staffed than WFISD while others have fewer staff members.
 
Ms. Nash recommended that special education teachers focus more on rich instruction for students rather than focusing all of their efforts on compliance. Some other strategies include partnering with Midwestern State University and phasing out the district's content mastery program. 
 
Board member Bill Franklin requested that members of the board receive future reports from the special education department in order to gauge the results of the implemented suggestions.
 
Policy Change
Mrs. Patterson asked the board to consider local policy changes as recommended by TASB Policy Service. The majority of the policy changes are in regard to Update 104. Mrs. Patterson also asked board members to consider a WFISD-initiated localized update that addresses the use of district and campus logos. 
 
Board members voted 5-0 to approve both policy changes. 
 
Hiring
In a 5-0 vote, board members approved the proposed teacher applicant pool, hiring 13 new teachers.
 
In addition, board members approved contract changes for four administrators.
 
Board Matters
Superintendent Michael Kuhrt outlined dates for the November 8, 2016 election. The deadline to post Notice of Candidate Filing will be June 23, 2016.
 
Board member Kevin Goldstein announced that he will not seek re-election once his term expires in November. Goldstein has served on the board for the past eight years.
 
"We have done a lot of great things, and we have so many wonderful things taking place right now," Goldstein said. "It makes me happy to be leaving the district on a high note."
 
Board member Dale Harvey expressed his gratitude to Mr. Goldstein for his years of service to Wichita Falls ISD.
 
"I appreciate all that you have done for the district and for me," Mr. Harvey said. "You can't go too far though. I still have your cell phone number."
 
At this time, there are two vacant board positions that will appear on the November ballot.
 
Board members are looking at options to possibly change the length of terms for board members. They are considering either three- or four-year terms and will make a determination prior to the June 23 deadline.
 
Public Comment
Board members heard public comments from the following individuals: 
  • Allen Flack - in support of Marc Bindel
  • Josie Rose - in support of Eric Ward
  • Derek Chatman - in support of Eric Ward
  • Kenny Haney - in support of preservation of Holland and Alamo schools
  • Andy Lee - in support of preservation of Holland and Alamo schools
  • Michael Smith - in support of re-purposing district facilities for Early Head Start programs