Board Briefs - September 27, 2010
September 28, 2010 - President’s Update
Board of Trustees President Mark Williams applauded the work of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Education Austin, and School District Administration, to obtain a $62 million Teacher Incentive Fund grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The District received $62.3 million — the largest grant awarded in the nation — to expand its Strategic Compensation program, called AISD REACH, for the next five years.
“Winning this grant reflects Austin’s commitment to a multi-part human capital strategy to improve teaching in our classrooms,” Mr. Williams said. “We know recruiting, developing, and retaining teachers requires meaningful compensation, supportive working conditions, and professional development. This grant helps us make great strides toward that goal.”
President Williams also reminded citizens of their opportunity to participate in the eight Community Dialogue sessions that will aid in the development of the Facilities Master Plan. The dates and locations for the meetings, which will all be from 6-8 p.m., are as follows:
For more information on the Facilities Master Plan, visit http://www.austinisd.org
Superintendent Meria Carstarphen presented her Start of the School Year Report to Trustees. “Today we began the sixth week of the 2010-2011 school year—and it has been six weeks of excitement, resolve, hard work, and results,” Dr. Carstarphen said. “I’m proud to share with you information about what we’ve accomplished—the steps we’ve taken on new critical initiatives—and on the work that lies ahead for us.”
Highlights of Dr. Carstarphen’s Start of School Year Report included updates on:
To see the Superintendent’s report in its entirety, visit http://www.austinisd.org
School Financial Integrity Rating
Trustees reviewed the District’s latest Financial Integrity Rating. The Texas Legislature created the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) in 2001, to improve management of school districts’ financial resources. Within two months of being notified of its financial rating, each Texas school district is required to publicize and hold a public hearing outlining the district’s report, and allowing citizens to comment. FIRST requires school districts to submit financial data, which is used to rate the district according to defined indicators. The ratings are Superior Achievement; Above Standard Achievement; Standard Achievement; Substandard Achievement; and Suspended: Data Quality.
AISD has again received a Superior Achievement rating, as it has every year under the system. In addition, the District earned a debt rating of Aaa from Moody’s Investors Service, AA+ from Standard & Poor’s, and AA+ from Fitch Ratings. These continue to be among the highest ratings available by these three rating agencies to Texas public schools.
AISD was one of only 23 school districts in Texas awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association. The District was also a recipient of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Leadership Circle Award for budget transparency for the first time this year, as a result of new efforts to make the budgeting process more transparent.
Reconstitution of Eastside Memorial Green Tech High School
Trustees also reviewed, and approved, the reconstitution of Eastside Memorial Green Tech High School. In 2010, Eastside Memorial Green Tech High School was rated Academically Unacceptable under the State Accountability system, for the second year in a row. Thus, state law requires that the Campus Intervention Team (CIT) assigned to the school develop and implement a School Improvement Plan, and a plan for School Reconstitution. Plans must be approved by Trustees and submitted to the Texas Education Agency by October 15.
A School Improvement Plan, and a draft Reconstitution Plan, for Eastside Memorial Green Tech High School were presented to the Board for review at its September 13 Work Session. In response, the Administration added specific actions related to discussing student academic progress with parents, and addressing systemic issues in pertinent Vertical Teams. A revised Reconstitution Plan will be submitted to TEA by January 28, 2011, and the final plan by June 17, 2011.
Class Size Waiver of 22-1 for Becker and Hill Elementary Schools
The Board approved the Fall waiver request for two classes in two schools to be submitted to TEA.
Austin ISD has budgeted for a class size ratio of 22:1 in grades kindergarten through four, but has campuses with enrollment increases or shifts that result in one or more sections per grade level increasing to a maximum of 23:1. Therefore, it is necessary to submit a waiver request to the Texas Education Agency for a third-grade class at Becker, and a kindergarten class at Hill.
Each school district in Texas is required to conduct a class size enrollment survey for kindergarten through grade four no later than September 10, 2010. If the survey indicates that a class exceeds the allowable class size limit of 22:1, the district must submit a class size waiver request.
Community Partnership with the Austin Aztex Football Club
The Board approved a three-year extension of an agreement with the Austin Aztex Football Club for the use of House Park field to host Aztex home soccer games. As part of the agreement, which will generate approximately $100,000 for the School District, the Austin Aztex agree to provide complimentary soccer clinics and camps for both coaches and players; assist with the District’s annual Back-to-School Bash, and work with the School District in encouraging students to stay in school and graduate. The Aztex will also provide a $6,750 cash donation to the District that can be used to meet student needs.
Apple at Work Bond Program
As projects of the Apple at Work Bond Program, Trustees approved contracts for:
Trustees recognized Andrews Elementary School Teacher Nancy Douglas and Bryker Woods Elementary School Teacher Lorene Wallace, both of whom were selected as state-level finalists in the 2010 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
As state-level finalists, Ms. Douglas and Ms. Wallace will be honored by the State Board of Education, and are candidates for the national-level Presidential Award. The White House will announce the results of the national selection in the spring. Selected teachers will be notified by the White House and will receive $10,000 in a White House ceremony.
Recognition of Former Education Austin President Louis Malfaro
Trustees recognized Louis Malfaro for his 10 years of service as President of Education Austin. Mr. Malfaro recently stepped down from the position to become Secretary-Treasurer for Texas AFT, the state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.
The next Regular Meeting of the Austin School Trustees Board of Trustees is scheduled for Monday, October 25, in the Auditorium of the Carruth Administration Center, located at 1111 West Sixth Street. All Board Meetings and Work Sessions are carried live on Time Warner and Grande Communications Cable Channel 22 and on the AISD Website at http://www.austinisd.org