CCISD trustees approve attendance zones for Creekside Hills, give Impact Aid update
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the attendance zone for the upcoming Creekside Hills Subdivision located across from House Creek Elementary during their regular meeting held Tuesday evening.
D.R. Horton Homes has already broken ground on several homes in Phase 1 of the Creekside Hills Subdivision. Although the subdivision is located near House Creek Elementary School, students living in Creekside Hills would be zoned to attend Hettie Halstead Elementary for grades K-5.
Hettie Halstead Elementary is located at 910 N. Main St, just 2.5 miles from House Creek Elementary at 351 Lutheran Church Rd.
House Creek Elementary currently has 687 students but the campus has a functional utilization capacity of just over 700 students. Hettie Halstead has a functional utilization capacity for 528 students and currently only has an enrollment of 346 students, leaving space for more students from the incoming subdivision.
These students would also be zoned for Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy if they qualify for grades Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 and for S.C. Lee Junior High School for grades 6-8 and Copperas Cove High School for grades 9-12. The fiscal impact from this decision would come from the cost of bussing to students to Hettie Halstead Elementary.
During the Report Items portion of the agenda, Board President Joan Manning, board members Harry Byrd and Bob Weiss, and CCISD Chief Financial Officer Joan Crawford discussed their trip to the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) Conference in Washington, D.C. last month.
Byrd shared that during this trip, it was revealed that the Department of Education’s Impact Aid program saw an increase in funds by $81 million in 2018, which means that CCISD could see an increase of more than $485,000 for the fiscal year. The Department of Defense’s Impact Aid program will see an increase of $10 million in their 2019 payment, which means the district’s payment should increase from $157,656 to $209,683, Byrd said.
Byrd explained that one of the most important accomplishments this Congressional session was the defeat of implementing a voucher program within the Impact Aid funding.
“I do not oppose vouchers,” Byrd said. “They have their place in the educational arena, but I truly oppose vouchers when it means taking away from public education.”
Had the initiative passed, the use of vouchers in the Impact Aid program would have cost the district more then $1.9 million, he added.
It was also shared that Congress recommended an increase in Impact Aid of $32 million for Fiscal Year 2019.
Weiss explained that the district was able to finally receive the $7.2 million it was owed by the federal government for last year’s Impact Aid payment.
“Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Manning talked to the right person and said the right things and got our $7 million payment,” Weiss said.
Crawford and Manning spoke with Marilyn Hall, the director of the Impact Aid program in the U.S. Department of Education, while Byrd and Weiss spoke with members of Sen. Ted Cruz’s office.
“It’s vitally important that we be there and be present in Washington, at these conferences, to remind those folks that Copperas Cove ISD is still here,” Crawford said. “We’re educating a lot of kiddos that are military connected kids. We’re giving them the best education they can find in this country.”
The intention of the Department of Education was to delay paying anyone Impact Aid payments until the end of 2019, Crawford said.
“Had we not gone, we would not have received our full Impact Aid funding for last year,” she said. “They agreed to pay us and we were able to collect our final impact aid funding payment from last year which was about $7.2 million that we got and were able to hook it to our ‘17-‘18 Fiscal Year.”
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board approved a resolution nominating Inez Faison to be a candidate for the Board of Directors of the Coryell Central Appraisal District. Each voting taxing unit of the Appraisal District may nominate, by resolution, a person to fill this vacancy on the Board of Directors by submitting a nominee to the Chief Appraiser. The Board of Directors will select one of the nominees at its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 5.
The Board recognized Copperas Cove High School student Bradley Dean for receiving an Award of Excellence from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. They also recognized CCHS students Noah Gonzalez and Rachel Taylor for receiving National Merit Scholar Commendations.
Former Senior Miss Five Hills and Five Hills Ambassador Editha Natividad and Ms. Five Hills Ashley Coombs presented a check for $2,200 to representatives from Communities in Schools for funds raised through the inaugural Multicultural festival hosted last month.
The Board also recognized Melissa Bryan, Child Nutrition Director, for the CCISD Child Nutrition Department being awarded the Texas Department of Agriculture Farm Fresh Challenge “Best of the Bunch” Award.
October was declared National Principals Recognition Month by Copperas Cove Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young on behalf of Mayor Frank Seffrood. Present at the meeting were Marry Derrick, of Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy; Dr. Earl Parcell, of Martin Walker Elementary; Brian Jost, of Hettie Halstead Elementary; Todd Williams, of House Creek Elementary; Jimmy Shuck, of S.C. Lee Junior High School; James T. Irick, of Crossroads High School and Miguel Timarky, of Copperas Cove High School.
The Board approved several purchases exceeding $25,000, including the purchase of two Ford pick-up trucks for $45,380; two 77-passenger buses and one 48-passenger bus for a total of $307,267; and four Fleet Suburbans for $161,000. The Suburbans will replaced three 2005 Dodge Caravans that will be distributed to other departments for in-district use and will increase the passenger fleet to six Suburbans.
The 48-passenger bus will be used for Special Education students. All buses will have Cummins diesel engines and will come with a five-year limited warranty, three-point seatbelts, air conditioning and a four-camera security system.
The Board also approved an out-of-state trip to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. for the Annual Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference (ATIA) for the cost of $2,866. The District’s Webmaster/Technology Specialist will attend the trip.