Seen and Heard at the October Board Meeting (1)

Seen and Heard at the October School Board Meeting
AISD School Board

October 19, 2015 – The Board heard a report about the district’s annual School FIRST rating (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas). Amarillo ISD received a Superior Achievement rating, earning the top score of 30 out of 30 available points on seven criteria measuring the financial “health” of the district.

Executive directors for Amarillo High, Caprock, Palo Duro and Tascosa clusters reported on the District’s 1-2-3 process. This process, which is unique to AISD and its 55 schools, provides a way to narrow the focus of the district’s comprehensive strategic plan to just three goals which hone in on academics and instruction. As part of their 1-2-3 goals this year, the executive directors plan to regularly review how students are doing and provide feedback and suggestions to instructional teams, identify campuses needing extra support to help close achievement gaps and boost learning, and target efforts to graduate more students who are college and career ready.

Trustees also heard a report on district facilities needs over the next 5-10 years for upgrades and refurbishing at campuses. CFO Les Hoyt and Maintenance Director Jim Lawson said overall, AISD campuses are safe, well-maintained, structurally sound, and able to accommodate the district’s 33,000-plus students. However, because AISD schools, on average, are more than 60-years-old and not getting any younger, many campuses will need upgrades and updates to classrooms, corridors, gyms, libraries, landscaping, cafeterias and auditoriums, restrooms and locker rooms in the foreseeable future.

The Board officially accepted $12,270 worth of gifts to schools from community businesses, organizations and individuals, including Belmar Elementary PTA, Eitzen Plumbing, Amarillo Landscape and Sprinkler, Crockett Middle School PTSO, Tennis Warehouse and James Hurly, Adrianne Kozar, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Cooke, Mr. and Mrs. Terence Ng, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Buckner, Mr. and Mrs. George Cree, Kim Romero dba Wienerschnitzel, Tascosa High School Excellence Council, Amarillo Protective Services, Anderson Model and Talent Agency, Amarillo Vision Specialists, Mr. and Mrs. Doyle Kinney, Mr. and Mrs. Jason Sides, Jess Evers and JET Training, Takami Ng, and the Amarillo Area Tennis Association.

In other business, trustees approved the 2015-2016 strategic plan for the district, called the District Improvement Plan, and they approved the Rogers Elementary School Improvement Plan for 2015-2016. Because Roger’s 5th-grade science scores on the STAAR test last year fell below the required passing rate by just two points, the state labeled the school “Improvement Required.” Rogers’ plan specifically targets additional teacher training and different classroom strategies in science and also in reading and writing to increase the number of students achieving at higher levels.

The Board awarded contracts for the purchase and installation of $2,765,000 worth of HVAC equipment at several schools. This is Phase 3 of an HVAC replacement project and represents the last of the 2013 bond projects, at least for now. A new elementary school in the Caprock cluster was planned for in the 2013 bond election, but will not be built unless and until it is needed due to population growth in southeast Amarillo. Hoyt said the total bond expenditures (including $16,000,000 left for a future elementary school) come to $96,873,000, leaving a surplus of $3,034,000 from the $99,450,000 in school bonds authorized by voters in May 2013.

Finally, the Board approved the purchase of an AISD food truck which will visit each high school campus and AACAL during lunch one day a week, offering students a convenient “off campus” option with a variety of selections they cannot get in the cafeteria. AACAL students will be commissioned to come up with a wraparound graphic design for the truck.

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