GISD School Board meets for last time of 2017

Board Member Bob Waller Resigns

By Alexandra Cannon, Staff Reporter

On Tuesday December 19, the GISD school board met for their regularly scheduled meeting in the boardroom at the high school, called to order at 6:32 pm with all members present excluding Bob Waller. After the Pledge of Allegiance and reading of the mission statement, Superintendent Dr. Harold Ramm was recognized for his 10+ years of service to the district by board President, Mika Morgan. Vice President Randy Hunter made a motion to enter into executive session for discussion of a board member’s resignation, was seconded by Bill David Sadler and the unanimous decision was made at 6:35 pm. Upon reconvening the meeting at 6:50 pm, the resignation of board member Bob Waller was announced and Bridgette Jackson-Tatum made a motion to appoint Aslone Foy for the unexpired single member district 5 school board position. This position will expire in May of 2018, at which time an election will be held. Bill David Sadler seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. Superintendent Secretary Teresa Battrick swore Foy in, before the board and others present, and Foy took his seat at the table of the board, participating in discussion and action for the remainder of the meeting, as he will for the remainder of his term as board member.

To continue, Dr. Ramm took a moment to recognize GISD’s Tennis Coach, Dusty Lowe, who was recently named the Texas Tennis Association’s Tennis Coach of the Year, who said a few words of thanks in response to the congratulations from the board.

Next, Sindra McLean of the Groesbeck Parent Teacher Association (PTA) addressed the board and those present with information regarding activity and plans of the PTA. Currently meeting every 3 months, McLean and the PTA are working to increase membership and involvement between parents and teachers to positively impact the students of the district, with many plans for fundraisers and projects in the future.

Auditor Frank Steele presented information and offered a qualified opinion on the audit for the 2016-2017 school year. During the course of the audit, no internal control problems or non-compliance problems were found, and the amount of money remaining in the fund balance after expenditures and expenses was positive. The district maintained more than the required minimum of 2 month’s expenditures in the fund balance, despite the district’s falling appraised values. Dr. Ramm chimed in to express the difficulty of a balanced budget for the district when the state fails to uphold financial promises, and Steele responded in agreement. “There’s not the strong undying support among the populous for education… elected representatives support the will of the people, and the will of the people right now is not demanding that money be put into education, either on the state level or the national level.”

Director of Business Services for Region 12, Lisa McKinnon, continued the financial discussion with her presentation of the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) and Public Hearing, informing the board and those present for the meeting that the district received a “B” rating with 84 points for the 15-16 year; the rating is determined by revenue and spending. The rating puts the district above standard, and the district is expected to receive a superior rating next year due to various indicators.

District Information was revisited by Ramm as it is at every regularly scheduled board meeting. Enrollment has dropped a little, from 1885 noted at the last meeting to 1864.

For the next agenda item, middle school Principal Dayne Duncan addressed the board with concerns regarding special education Behavioral Adjustment Classroom (BAC). Currently, special education students of the district with a tendency to act out when upset share a space with Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) students, who have been removed from the regular classroom setting for more structured corrective attention. Because of the different needs of these students, sharing space as well as teachers and aides is not ideal and raises concern in high school principal Keri Bailey-Allen and assistant principal Susan Swick, who worry that violence could transpire among the students and possibly against the faculty. The number of DAEP students fluctuates throughout the year, reaching as many as 12, and the number of BAC students generally change on a yearly basis, currently sitting at 3. To address these concerns, Duncan brought suggestions for possible relocation of BAC students to separate them from the DAEP students, but this would create a strain on faculty who are already bouncing between campuses to instruct students in the regular classroom setting as well as the BAC and DAEP students. One option discussed was moving the portable building formerly used for Kids Kare Academy to the middle school outdoor basketball courts, which would come at a small cost to the district, but could ensure safety for all involved. After thorough and lengthy discussion between board members, Duncan, and other principals and faculty present, the board expressed that a more permanent fix for the problem at hand would be hiring a full time BAC teacher, qualified to instruct and work with the students. Duncan will begin searching for someone to fill that position, and it was decided that when the spring semester begins, BAC students will temporarily make use of the old portable building owned by the district that heretofore was used as a storage space.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

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