February CSISD Board Workshop/Meeting Recap

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February CSISD Board Workshop/Meeting Recap

Note:  This is an overview of some of the agenda items on the February board workshop and meeting.  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 March board meeting.

COLLEGE STATION , Texas – The College Station ISD Board of Trustees met Tuesday, February 21.  The following discussions and actions are of note.

WORKSHOP

2012-2013 Budget Discussion:  Led by Superintendent Dr.  Eddie Coulson, the board discussed the 2012-2013 budget while balancing three main issues:  (1) the responsible use of the district’s fund balance (2) implementing budget reductions, and (3) the responsible use of taxpayer resources.  The current draft of the 2012-2013 budget shows a planned deficit of $4.65 million dollars for the opening of College Station High School.  The draft budget includes a 1.5% operational increase, including a 1.5% increase in employee salaries.  Although this increase is small, it is an attempt to offset cost-of-living increases, including the rising costs of health benefits.
  • Responsible use of fund balance:  The $4.65 million deficit will be offset by using a portion of the district’s maintenance and operations (M&O) fund balance, or savings account.  While having a $4.65 million deficit budget is not ideal, CSISD is expected to have approximately $29.6 million in its M&O fund balance at the end of the fiscal year ending in August 2013.
  • Implement reductions responsibly:  The current draft budget has $1.8 million dollars in reductions, which are designed to have as minimal an impact as possible, while maintaining all extra-curricular activities. The reductions include:
    • Central office personnel
    • 10-15 elementary teachers to get closer to the state-mandated 22:1 student-teacher ratio
    • High school core (math, science, social studies and English) teachers teaching six-of-seven classes instead of five-of-seven.  Non-core teachers already teach six-of-seven classes a day.
    • Managed printing
    • Restructuring instructional technology support
  • Responsible use of taxpayer resources:   A proposed $.04 M&O tax rate increase is included in the 2012-13 draft budget.  According to state law, the CSISD Board of Trustees could raise the current M&O tax rate from $1.00 to $1.04 without an election.  CSISD’s current M&O rate of $1.00 has not been raised the past five years and is lower than 90% of Texas school districts.  Conversely, CSISD could lower the interest and sinking (I&S) portion of the tax rate by as much as $.04 because of savings realized through bond refinancing and by using a portion of the I&S fund balance.  The net result would add $2.5 million in revenue to the 2012-13 M&O budget without an overall increase in the tax rate.
Trustees also discussed the possibility of visiting PTO meetings to present the current funding situation with parents.  

Joint Meeting with the College Station City Council:  The board will hold a joint meeting with the College Station City Council on March 7, 2012.  The CSISD Board of Trustees suggested agenda items include:
  • Update on School Finance
  • Construction Update
  • State Assessment Program Update (STAAR/End of Course Exams)
  • Wolf Pen TIF Update
STAAR and End of Course Exams:  Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott recently issued a press release indicating school districts would have the option of whether or not to implement the 15% rule for the new end-of-course exams for this school year.  Previously, it was thought that the end-of-course exams would comprise 15% of the student’s final grade.  End-of-course exams are part of the new State of Texas Assessment and Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessment program and are to be administered at the end of freshman-level core courses this year.  The remaining end-of-course exams at the high school level will be implemented over the course of the next two years.  Due to the significant lack of information about the new testing system and how it will be scored, CSISD will likely exercise its right to not implement the 15% rule for this year.

REGULAR MEETING
Purchases:  The board approved the following purchases for College Station High School.  All purchases were made with 2009 bond funds with the exception of the computers, which were purchased with Perkins federal grant funds.
  • PA/Intercom Bell and Clock System from Firetron Inc. for $198,415.
  • Computers from MicroAge for $51,382.
  • Audio-Visual Equipment from MicroAge for $613,774.80.
  • Network hardware, labor and UPS hardware from MicroAge for $410,757.
  • Wireless access points and controller from Layer 3 Communications for $75,786.89.
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