School board recognizes principals, media
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Independent School District recognized the principals as part of National Principals Recognition Month as well as the five media partners who made the 2016-2017 Texas Association of School Boards Media Honor Roll at its monthly meeting held Tuesday evening.
State Representative J.D. Sheffield presented each principal with a certificate recognizing them for their work in addition to the certificates they received from Mayor Frank Seffrood, who was at the city council meeting held at the same time.
The Copperas Cove Leader-Press, Cove Herald, KXXV, KWTX and KCEN were recognized for their coverage of CCISD and presented with their certificates from the TASB Media Honor Roll. The criteria for the district selection included the efforts to get to know the superintendent, board president, and the district’s mission and goals; report school news in a fair, accurate, and balanced manner; give a high profile to positive news about schools; visit the schools; and maintain a policy of no surprises by sharing information with school officials.
The board approved their consent agenda, which included several purchases exceeding $25,000 such as renewing the Texas Educational Consultative Services, Inc. professional services contract for $36,250.00; the purchase of 38 campus administration devices from Dell for $ 33,375.78; starting the Leach's Literacy Training, L.L.C to boost literacy on campuses, for $37,000; purchasing 276 TI-84 calculators to comply with the STAAR calculator policy, for $26,799.60; and the purchase of one new school bus that will come equipped with 3-point seat belts for passengers and will have air conditioning and under body storage, for $97,712.
The board approved a resolution that would designate CCISD as a District of Innovation. The 84th Texas State Legislative Session passed House Bill 1842 which introduced the District of Innovation concept and gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to the open-enrollment charter schools in the state, resulting in more local control, according to CCISD Chief of Staff Barbara Tate, who led a public hearing and gave a presentation on what it would mean for the district to become a DOI.
“When a district becomes a district of innovation, what they’re really doing is they’re exempting themselves from certain sections of the Texas Education Code,” Tate said.
Such exemptions could include site-based decision-making processes; dates of the first and last day of school; the 90 percent attendance rule (compulsory attendance still applies); Educator certification; Teacher and Administrator Appraisal Systems; Educator contracts; Class-size ratios and the Designation of Campus Behavior Coordinators.
Exemptions that cannot be considered include governance; criminal history checks and reporting; Special programs (bilingual, special education, prekindergarten); academic accountability and assessments; financial accountability; open meetings; public records and any other state and federal laws outside Texas Education Code.
The board approved appointing 30 people to the district of innovation committee to include superintendent Joe Burns and CCISD board member Dr. Karen Harrison as well as parents, teachers, principals, community representatives and business representatives.
The first meeting for the committee will be October 26. The timeline included in the presentation showed a January 23, 2018 date for when the board of trustees would approve the DOI plan. After that, Copperas Cove would join over 500 districts currently designated as DOI, 38 of which are in Region 12 including Gatesville, Lampasas, Evant, Belton, Rogers, Waco, Midway, Bruceville-Eddy, China Springs, and Corsicana.
The board also approved a land swap with Wes and Mike Atkinson at the CCISD Agriculture Facility located on FM 3046. The swap will provide CCISD with 1.53 acres more to the northeast of the current facility in exchange for the approximately 2.75 unused acres to the rear of the facility, solving the problem of accessibility even when it rains.
The board approved becoming a cooperative member of the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, for no fee.
The board approved moving $11,160 from func. 13 to func. 52 to purchase HERO student tracking license renewal, which is used to track student tardies, student infractions, lost I.D.s and to generate parent letters.
The board also approved a request from the Copperas Cove Education Foundation to establish a “Hall of Honor” to honor alumni. The hall would be located in the Lea Ledger Auditorium foyer. Honorees would be announced at the annual CCEF Gala each spring.
“We think it would be an outstanding way to recognize the achievements of the many, many graduates that have come through Copperas Cove since 1897 and have done outstanding things not just in Copperas Cove, in our county, state, or nation and around the world,” CCISD Superintendent Dr. Joe Burns said.
During the report items section of the agenda, board members shared their thoughts on their trip in September to Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) conference, which led to a discussion on the federal Impact Aid that districts which have military connected students receive.
A school’s student population must have at least 10 percent of student population or 1,000 kids connected to the military to receive aid, Burns said. Impact Aid is the only federal program that does not give funding for every kid who qualifies, and Impact Aid is not fully funded by the legislature, resulting in schools getting a percentage of a percentage of what they should get, he added.
“If they were fully funded, a small district would receive $8 million,” Burns said. “That district receives $3 million because of the proration that takes place within the impact aid community, and my comment to legislators and to their staffers are, ‘If you truly support our military families, our military men and women and their families, then Impact Aid should be fully funded.’”
Burns explained that he gets asked all the time about Cove’s dwindling Impact Aid despite the connection to Fort Hood.
“We don’t have that threshold of 35 percent of our kids anymore that are military connected,” Burns said. This means that CCISD falls out of that particular category of funding and loses that category’s amount of money.
“When we get through with our departure from Impact Aid, we will go from receiving at the highest point more than $16 million from Impact Aid and our new baseline will be $380,000,” Burns said.
The district will have lost nearly $16 million but will only have changed their student population by 300 kids or so, he added.