Note: This is an overview of some of the items on the December board workshop and meeting agendas. This recap does not include every item on the agendas. Official meeting minutes will be made available on www.csisd.org following approval at the January board meeting. A video and audio recording of the workshop and meeting will be made available within seven days of the meeting at csisd.org.
Approval of A-F Accountability Resolution: The Board unanimously approved a resolution concerning the A-F accountability rating system for Texas public schools. The resolution calls on the Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F letter-grade school/district rating system that will be implemented in the 2017-18 school year as part of House Bill 2804, passed by the Legislature in 2015.
The resolution notes that, despite A-F rating systems being implemented in 16 other states, there is no evidence that these systems have helped to improve student or school performance. It points out that the majority of the grades assigned by the A-F rating system will be based on students’ scores on the STAAR, a standardized test viewed as unreliable for accurately measuring student learning. An overwhelming majority of Texans recently surveyed by the State Board of Education have said they do not want standardized test scores to serve as the primary basis for Texas’ school accountability system.
The resolution also notes the flaws of A-F systems. They require a complex set of rules and calculations to combine a multitude of disparate measures into a single, “simple” letter grade that cannot be supported with explanation. They are useless for providing feedback that could be used for improvement, and usually align with the wealth or poverty of the students in the school.
Additionally, the resolution offers an alternative to the A-F rating system. It calls for the development of a community-based accountability system that empowers districts to design their own systems of assessment and accountability that, while meeting general state standards, allows innovation and customization to match the needs and interests of the local community.
New board members sworn in: The November 8, 2016 election resulted in three returning board members for the 2015-16 year.
Incumbents Michael Wesson (Place 3), Jeff Harris (Place 4) and Quinn Williams (Place 5) all ran unopposed and were sworn-in for a three-year term by Brazos County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rick Hill.
Harris will be serving his third three-year term, while Wesson and Williams will be serving their second.
Approval of CSISD Legislative Priorities: The board approved its legislative priorities heading into the 86th legislative session which begins on January 10, 2017. A draft of the legislative priorities can be seen at the link below.
Approval of Financial Plan for Bond Sales: The board approved a financial plan presented by the district’s financial advisor Victor Quiroga of Frost Bank. The board also delegated the pricing authority to the board president and/or the superintendent.
CSISD voters approved the sale of $135.9 million in bonds in the November election with 72.46 percent of the vote in favor.
CSISD sold half - or $67.95 million - of the bonds in early 2016 and the financial plan approved at the December meeting is for the sale of the other half in early 2017.
The sale of the first half of the bonds had a tax rate impact of 3.31 cents per $100 of valuation. At the time of the bond election, the total rate increase for the sale of all $135.9 million was expected to be between six and 10 cents per $100 of valuation.
The exact tax rate increase for the sale of the second half of the bonds is dependent on the interest rate received, but is estimated to be between three and four cents per $100 of valuation. The bonds will be offered for competitive bid to determine the lowest fixed interest rate over the 25-year life of the bond issue. On January 18, the district will lock-in the lowest rate and will close on the bond sales on February 16.
CSISD has strong underlying ratings of “Aa2” by Moody’s, “AA-” by Standard & Poor’s, and “AA+” by Fitch. In addition all of the district’s bonds are rated “AAA” based on the Permanent School Fund Guarantee Program offered by the Texas Education Agency.
Receive report regarding the Annual Finance and Compliance Audit: Shelby Lackey, a representative of Weaver and Tidwell, L.L.P., gave a report on the annual finance and compliance audit for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2016.
The compliance audit did not disclose any instances of material weaknesses of internal controls over financial reporting and compliance for local, state, or federal funds.
In addition, the final financial audit showed the district had a final balance in the maintenance and operation fund of $2,370,040 for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The district budgeted for a deficit balance of $1,847,466. The primary factors contributing to reversing the deficit were higher than projected enrollment growth, increases in local revenues and spending less than budgeted in non-personnel line items.
Reorganization of Board Officers: The CSISD Board of Trustees officers for the 2016-17 year will be:
- President - Valerie Jochen
- Vice-President - Jeff Harris
- Secretary - Carol Barrett
- Approved the purchase of band instruments to accommodate the addition of Pecan Trail Intermediate for the amount of $122,731.81 per Buy Board contract from Music & Arts Center, Taylor Music, Inc., The String & Horn Shop, Inc., Thorne Music Center, and Windwood and Brasswind to be paid from 2015 bond funds.
- Approved the purchase of a special needs bus for the amount of $95,606 from Longhorn Bus Sales to be paid from Special Services Federal Program Funds.
- Approved the purchase of a hydronic heating boiler for Forest Ridge Elementary for the amount of $58,875 from Entec Sales and Service to be paid from 2015 bond funds.
- Approved the purchase of two rooftop air handling units for the A&M Consolidated Middle School gym in the amount of $50,365 from Entech Sales and Service to be paid using 2015 bond funds.
PUBLIC HEARING - TEXAS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE REPORT
CSISD Executing Director of Special Services and Accountability Molley Perry gave a summary of the annual Texas Academic Performance Report.
Highlights of the report include:
- STAAR Results
- CSISD students exceeded the passing rate in all subject areas at every level assessed.
- 60% of CSISD student met the the postsecondary readiness standard in two or more subjects (45% statewide)
- 29% of CSISD students met the advanced standard, or the most rigorous STAAR performance standard (18% statewide)
- 66% of students met or exceeded progress in all subjects tested (62% statewide)
- Graduation data
- CSISD had 791 graduates in 2015.
- 93.7% of the CSISD seniors graduated in four years (89% statewide)
- The annual dropout rate for CSISD is 0.8% (2.1% statewide)
- Advanced Placement
- Across all subjects, 29.2% of high school students participated in AP exams in at least one subject.
- 83.5% of students who tested met the criterion in all subjects, compared to the state rate of 49.1%
- CSISD students exceeded state passing rates by 28-46% points in each subject area: ELA, Math, Science, & Social Studies
- ACT/SAT results
- Of the class of 2015, 76.7 took the SAT, ACT or both. (68.3% statewide)
- 49.3% of those who took the SAT, ACT or both scored at or above the criterion (24.3% statewide)
- The average SAT score for CSISD takers was 1584 (1394 statewide)
- The average ACT socre for CSISd takers was 23.7 (20.6 statewide)
- Teacher profile
- 3.1% of CSISD’s teachers were first-year teachers
- 71.7% of CSISD teachers had six or more years of experience
- CSISD’s teacher turnover rate was 11.6% (16.5% statewide)
- 30.5% of CSISD’s teachers hold an advanced degree