Return to Headlines

District Earns Superior 'A' Rating in Financial FIRST Report

District Earns Superior “A” Rating in Financial FIRST Report

Board Approves Another Round of Incentive Pay for Early Retirement/Resignation Notices

 

WFISD board members praised Chief Financial Officer Tim Sherrod and his finance team in a Public Hearing Monday where Mr. Sherrod announced the result of the District’s most recent pass rating from the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, or FIRST.

WFISD received a Pass rating and an “A” for Superior effort, up from last year’s “B.” WFISD earned a score of 92; the passing score was 60.

“I’m happy with that score,” said Mr. Sherrod. “It shows financially we’re using our funds for the right things and accounting for them correctly.”

The FIRST report grades school districts in Texas according to their achieving various financial milestones.

The report reviewed WFISD’s financial data for the 2017-2018 school year and required a public hearing to report its results to the general public.

 

Incentive Pay for Early Retirement/Resignation Notices

In the school board meeting that followed the public hearing, board members voted 7-0 to offer a new round of incentive pay next spring for employees who notify WFISD’s Human Resources department by March 13, 2020, at 4 p.m. of their intention to retire or resign at the end of the school year.

The heads-up gives the Human Resources department a more accurate count of its needs going into the spring hiring season. Trend data provided to board members by Human Resources Director Cyndy Kohl showed the practice of offering incentive pay has been a boon to the District.

Employees have taken advantage of the incentive pay and given early notice of retirements and resignations, which has allowed WFISD to move quickly to hire quality applicants in specific areas of need.

“It’s made a tremendous difference,” said Board President Elizabeth Yeager.

 

Consent Agenda

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the Consent Agenda, which included Financial Reports as of Sept. 30, 2019, and Minutes for board meetings on Oct. 21, Oct. 15, and Nov. 18.

 

Presentations

The board recognized three Hirschi High School students who achieved the prestigious title of National Merit Semifinalist this year. More than 1.5 million juniors in 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. There were about 16,000 who qualified as Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school students.

Hirschi’s three National Merit Semifinalists are:

  • Ila Kamath
  • Krishna Reddy
  • Rohan Tanjavur

 

Board members also acknowledged two students – Miguel Dominguez and Sonya Ganeshram – who served as American Legion Boys State and Girls State Representatives. They attended summer leadership and citizenship programs sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary for high school juniors. Both students were sponsored by American Legion Post #169 and the American Legion Auxiliary.

In addition, Sonya was one of only two girls from the state of Texas selected to attend Girls Nation in Washington, D.C.  Only 100 young women were selected from their state level event to serve as “senators” in the 73rd American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation Program. While in D.C., Sonya participated in mock senate sessions including caucuses. She debated bills that ranged from personal to political interests.

 

Capital Improvement and Environmental Enhancement Items

Superintendent Mike Kuhrt distributed a list of the District’s capital improvement needs to board members, along with preliminary costs.

Board members will consider prioritizing the needs in light of a $7.1 million addition to the fund balance this year that can be spent on some of the needs.

The list was not prioritized but just showed what projects could be attempted, the costs, who might do the jobs and the possible timeline, said Mr. Kuhrt.

Some facility needs on the list might be rolled into a bond package, said board member Katherine McGregor.

Mr. Payton also suggested prioritizing the funds to apply “any and all resources to getting our problem schools out of the ditch,” he said. Perhaps $1 million could be spent on tutors, he added.

 

Long-Range Facility Planning

Mr. Kuhrt said he was organizing the feedback from the most recent Nov. 14 long-range facility meeting into a workable plan and had nothing new to offer.

The next facility meeting may be scheduled as soon as December or in January, said Ms. Yeager.

Applicant Pool

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the Applicant Pool – the addition of one teacher -- presented by Human Resources Director Cyndy Kohl.