Johnson City Record Courier
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Local Citizen Requests Gyms be Open for Public Use
District Receives Passing Grade in Audit Report
Thursday, December 13, 2012 • Posted December 13, 2012

The school board of JCISD met on Monday, December 10th, 2012. During open forum, local parent Matt McKennis requested that at least one of the school gyms be available for use by the public. His daughter plays volleyball and could use the facility to practice. Further, other students could make use of the facility to both play and/or practice a sport. In Mr. McKennis’ opinion, taxpayers pay for the upkeep of the gym; therefore, they should have free access to the facility. Mr. McKennis attended JCISD schools and said that he and his teammates would often use the gym after school, on weekends and over the summer to play. He believes that enabled the team to better their skills and to make them more successful during the school year. The board referred Mr. McKennis to the superintendent who would discuss the policy regarding use of the district’s gyms. Currently, the policy is limited in its scope regarding the use of facilities by the public. A fee is required and often a coach must be present to open and close the gym and must remain in the gym while it is in use. Mr. McKennis requested that his request be put on the January agenda as an action item because the board will have to review and amend board policy to allow the public to freely use a district gym. The board next considered the consent agenda, which passed unanimously. The first action item related to the district’s Annual Financial and Compliance Report. The report, which is prepared by Neffendorf, Knopp, Doss & Co., PC, shows that the district is in good financial shape. No discrepancies were found and the audit did not disclose any noncompliance material to the financial statements of JCISD. Second, the board heard a presentation on the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS). The report, given by Erin Fasel, District Curriculum Director, described the standards given by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for grades 11 and 12. The standards in this report only apply to these grades because they are the only grades who will take the TAKS test and the indicators in AEIS are tied to the TAKS. The report showed that the 11th and 12th graders (using scores from their 10th and 11th grade years) performed well. In math and ELA (English/Language Arts) 64% of these students are college ready in both subjects, compared to 52% of students in these grades statewide. Further, the passing rate for each class on the individual tests was over 90%. Next, the board considered changes to board policy regarding academic achievement and class ranking. Only minor changes were made. Courses that are no longer offered by the district were removed, specifically the T and I Education Career Prep classes. Also, the definition referring to early graduates was removed and the description of the weighted grade system was updated. Superintendent Shanley reported that continuing education courses for board members are going to be made available for any board member who wishes to earn these credits. Also, the board reviewed the Principal Evaluation Tool and approved its use. During the Superintendent’s report, the board was presented with a report showing a five year trend of free and reduced lunch percentages. In 2007-2008, the percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches stood at 33%. During the last school year, 2011-2012, that number had increased 10% to 43%. Furthermore, the superintendent reported that bids to refinance the district’s bonds had closed. Through refinancing, the district has been able to lower interest rates on its bonds and will save $2 million over the next 16 years. Middle School Principal Cammie Ockman reported that the evacuation drill held on November 20th was successful. She stated that the community was very helpful in grading the district’s performance during the drill and thanked them for their efforts. Then, Mr. Shanley noted that Elementary School Principal Shannon Helmke will be taking a seven week maternity leave starting in January. Shanley next discussed the 2012-2013 student assessment testing calendar. The English reading and writing STARR tests were held the first week of December. For a full calendar showing the testing dates, please contact the district office. In the August board meeting, it was reported that the district fell just below the state standard set for Reading/ELA in the preliminary Adequate Yearly Review (AYP) report. Since all three campuses had met the standards, the superintendent felt that a data error had occurred and appealed the finding. TEA researched the findings and did find an error. As a result of their recalculation, JCISD does meet the 2012 AYP standard. Finally, district enrollment is reported for December to be 718, down from an enrollment level of 724 in November. The next board meeting will be held January 14th, 2013 at 6:00pm.

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