CISD School Board

Coleman ISD School Board on July 20, 2020.  Coleman Today Photo

The Coleman ISD Board of Trustees held their regular meeting on Monday evening. Present for the meeting were Superintendent Brandon McDowell, Sandra Rose, Josh Hale, John Casey, Harold Skelton and Becky Dobbins. Not present were Mike Barker and Mark Martinez. Also in attendance were Admin Secretary Mary Strickland, Business Manager Kristi Greaves, Paul Martin, Gay Martin, Sarah Mason, and Jacque Rosales.

The meeting began with a Public Hearing on the CISD 2020-2021 Internet Safety Policies to meet CIPA requirements and curriculum for student education of appropriate online behavior to meet FCC regulations and compliance. Superintendent McDowell spoke for a moment, explaining a portion of the policy allows for him to make temporary changes if remote learning takes place. The school will be able to make changes to the policy to allow teachers to personally communicate with students during school and after hours, if it becomes necessary. McDowell stated he would be recommending certain avenues for that communication. Paul Martin, Technology Director for CISD, suggested that McDowell meet with teachers and staff to discuss the appropriate methods of communicating with students. 

ACTION ITEMS:

1. The board accepted resignations from Stacci Hamilton, Elizabeth Berry, and Barbara Stewart. VOTE: 5-0

2. The board also accepted the hiring of Dusty Erwin as a 2nd grade teacher for the 2020-2021 School Year. VOTE 5-0

3. The board heard an explanation on why the Superintendent must send an Asynchronous Instruction Plan Letter of Intent to TEA by End of September, 2020. Asynchronous instruction is online, but not necessarily watching classroom live instruction as it is occurring in school. CISD is still working on what that may look like at all three campuses and will share with parents as soon as it is 'finalized.' (Remember TEA is making changes often, according to CDC and state guidelines; therefore, the plan they share MAY have to be changed before school starts.) VOTE 5-0 for McDowell to send the Asynchronous Instruction Plan Letter of Intent by the End of September. 

4. The board approved the Superintendent submitting a Synchronous attestation of online application to TEA. Synchronous learning would be more direct, POSSIBLY including some live classroom instruction. VOTE 5-0

  • FYI - TEA put out guidelines on July 17th (CLICK HERE) requiring schools to make certain that remote learning is similar to at-school learning; more so than last spring's remote learning. Testing will occur, assignments will be turned in daily, attendance will be taken, etc. Coleman may not have both at-home methods of learning (Synchronous and Asynchronous) available for students. Having both would require, for all practical purposes, three lessons for a teacher to prepare for each subject each day - at school included. (Most teachers have more than one, if not 4-5 subjects/courses for which to prepare.) Once the school has 'finalized' a plan for the year, parents will be asked to select a place of instruction for their children for the 1st Six Weeks, with the option of changing at the end of the grading period, if need be. Registration for this will be ready some time next week. At-home students will be provided with a computer/device and hot spot capabilities, if needed, along with other resources required for their courses. Students will be required to login, showing online attendance every day. A student's 90% attendance will be required to receive credit for that subject/grade level. Remember, public schools get revenue from the state funding sources based on students' attendance.  For McDowell's interview with Coleman Today CLICK HERE

5. The board approved the recommendation that a student who is voluntarily participating in an all-remote instructional method, whether synchronous or asynchronous, will not be permitted to participate in any extracurricular activity, practice, or performance for the grading period in which the student is receiving all-remote instruction. McDowell stated, and the board agreed, that if a parent is concerned enough for their child's health to keep them home for education, then it is sensible to keep them home for other activities. Participating in extracurricular activities will put the child in a position of being in close contact with other students, thereby negating the reason for keeping them at home for remote learning. VOTE 5-0

6. The board approved the 2019-2020 Campus Improvement Plans. McDowell stated that the Elementary and Junior High campuses will be approving goals within the first month of school, setting a plan in motion for the 2020-2021 school year. VOTE 5-0

7. The board approved the 2020-2021 Student Code of Conduct which will be included in the student handbook. VOTE 5-0

8. The board discussed and approved a revision to TASB Policy EIC (LOCAL) on Academic Achievement Class Ranking methods. Fine Arts (Band and Theater Arts) and Speech classes are currently included in class ranking averages. Ag and business classes, and others, do not count towards ranking. Credit for speech can be given from certain Ag classes or UIL events, which is not included in averaging; thus creating inequality. A change will begin with incoming Freshman students (Class of 2024) and younger. English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language other than English will be the courses counted in class rankings beginning with the Class of 2024. (This is certainly a policy that may change in the coming years, with the ever-changing graduation requirements and recommendations from TEA.)  VOTE 5-0

9. The board approved a Special Education Shared Services Arrangement Agreement between Coleman, Ballinger and Winters. This arrangement has been in place for quite some time; the board voted to continue this shared services arrangement. VOTE 5-0

10. The board approved the Electronic Communications & Data Management Systems Student Internet Safety and Acceptable Use Policies for the 2020-2021 School Year. The discussion took place during the Public Hearing. VOTE 5-0

11. The board approved the Electronic Communications & Data Management Employee Acceptable Use Policy for 2020-2021 School Year. This discussion also took place during the Public Hearing. VOTE 5-0

12. The board voted to set cafeteria student paid lunch price to meet USDA regulations at $3.00. Adult prices will not change. VOTE 5-0

13. The board approved the TASB Local Policy Update #115 affecting the following local policies: (VOTE 5-0)

  • BF(LOCAL): Board Policies
  • DIA(LOCAL): Employee Welfare - Freedom From Discrimination, Harassment, And Retaliation
  • DMD(LOCAL): Professional Development - Professional Meetings And Visitations
  • EI(LOCAL): Academic Achievement
  • FB(LOCAL): Equal Educational Opportunity
  • FD(LOCAL): Admissions
  • FEB(LOCAL): Attendance - Attendance Accounting
  • FFG(LOCAL): Student Welfare - Child Abuse And Neglect
  • FFH(LOCAL): Student Welfare - Freedom From Discrimination, Harassment, And Retaliation
  • FMF(LOCAL): Student Activities - Contests And Competition
  • FNG(LOCAL): Student Rights And Responsibilities - Student And Parent Complaints/Grievances
  • GF(LOCAL): Public Complaints

14. Amend the Budget - The budget amendments will be presented to the board in August before the regular board meeting.

DISCUSSION ITEM:

  • The board heard the recommendation by McDowell to terminate the Pay Bus Route. The current number of bus drivers and buses is the problem, considering the TEA and CDC guidelines for having students on a bus. Only one student is allowed per seat, unless multiple household members are on the bus. Because of the seat limits, more buses will be required for the regular bus routes. Also, additional staff may be needed per bus, as they will be checking temperatures of students as they enter the bus. McDowell stated that the situation may change as the school year moves forward, but it currently won't be possible to have the Pay Bus Route.

INFORMATION ITEMS:

  • CISD Family Engagement Survey Results - McDowell stated that parents of 549 students completed the survey. Parents representing about 28% of the students said they were either 'somewhat uncomfortable' or 'not comfortable' attending school on campus.  Parents will be asked to make a choice for their child to attend classes on campus or do remote learning following the release of the CISD 2020-2021 Plan. 
  • Property and Casualty Insurance will be purchased through Texas Association of School Boards.
  • The board will meet to Adopt a Tax Rate and Hold Budget Hearing on August 17th at 6:00pm.
  • The board will meet to approve Final Budget Amendments for 2019-2020 on August 31st at 7:45am.

The board held a Budget Workshop at the end of the meeting. Preparing for next year is difficult, at best, because of the uncertainty of attendance numbers due to the pandemic and the way the state is applying some of the federal funding sent to them.  The board went through the categories for 45 minutes to an hour, discussing where some cuts may have to be made because of a probable shortage of funding.  Some cuts were made, McDowell did say, through not hiring replacements for 2020-21 in several teaching positions after resignations were accepted.  More on next year's budget will be published when available.