May 2016
Board Briefs
News from the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees

Summary of Meeting

Board Briefs May 23, 2016

Board of Trustees Regular Meeting Agenda

Board Agenda >>
Board meeting videos now available online >>


Trustees recognized eight #IAMSBISD medallion recipients representing a cross-section of the greater Spring Branch ISD community – students, teachers, administrators, business and the community at large. #IAMSBISD medallions are awarded by Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri and senior staff to individuals and teams who exemplify and live out the district core values of #EveryChild, #CollaborativeSpirit, #CollectiveGreatness, #LimitlessCuriousity and #MoralCompass. Medallion recipients are invited to the next Board of Trustees meeting to receive a pin emblazoned with the particular core value for which they are being recognized.

Dr. Muri recognized DeCory Brown, a student at Spring Branch Middle School, for #CollaborativeSpirit. A talented singer and performer, Brown made quite a splash at Convocation last August and, more recently, at the district’s annual Service Awards dinner, where he was awarded the medallion. With Brown and Dr. Muri is Board President Karen Peck.
Dr. Muri also recognized Stratford High School senior Scott Kennedy for #CollborativeSpirit. Kennedy served in numerous leadership roles during his academic career in SBISD, including tri-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Kennedy received his medallion at the Service Awards dinner. Kennedy and Dr. Muri are joined by Board President Karen Peck.
Dr. Muri was joined by Associate Superintendent of School Performance Tyler Ream in recognizing the 90-member Strategic Planning Committee for #CollectiveGreatness. The committee met at least monthly for five months while developing the district’s new strategic plan, culminating in part with Trustees approving designating SBISD a District of Innovation.
In a surprise award, Dr. Muri recognized Trustee Chris Vierra with #CollectiveGreatness for two years of service as board president. Dr. Muri praised Vierra’s steady guidance and leadership through a superintendent transition, a strategic planning process and lean budgets. Dr. Muri and Vierra are joined by current Board President Karen Peck.

Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Patti Pace awarded three #IAMSBISD medallions, with Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman filling in for Pace on stage.

Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Patti Pace’s (not pictured) #IAMSBISD award was to Cedar Brook Elementary Principal Jeff Post and three two-way dual language teachers for #CollectiveGreatness. Post and the teachers will be featured in the second edition of “Dual Language Essentials” by Dr. Yvonne S. Freeman, Dr. David E. Freeman and Dr. Sandra Mercuri. Teachers are Sandra Andrade, Claudia Perez and Rosa Martinez. With Board President Karen Peck (left) and Dr. Muri.
Pace (not pictured) also awarded Edgewood Elementary Principal Vivian Pratts and 10 one-way dual language teachers for #CollectiveGreatness. They too will be featured in the second edition of “Dual Language Essentials.” Teachers are Erica Perez, Omaly Sandoval Isaaccura, Yadira Roel, Maria Sagredo, Eduardo de la Paz, Francisco Gonzalez, Gladys Baez, Dora Vera and Ramon A. Cruz-Lima. With Board President Karen Peck (left) and Dr. Muri.
Pace (not pictured) also awarded Ridgecrest Elementary Principal Patricia Thomas and 25 teachers for #EveryChild for their March 21 – the Monday following Spring Break – response to flooding resulting from a leaking water fountain inside the school’s administration area. The leaking water had flooded three classrooms all administration offices, closets, the clinic and the first-grade hallway. Staff dealt with changing schedules, relocation of classrooms, moving instructional items, sorting through all sorts of wet items and dealing with dehumidifiers for a week. Staff recognized are LaVerie Wise, Michelle Garcia, Guadalupe Perez, Susan Krummel, Naomi McKay, Alma Serrano, Lesli Diaz, Marlene Decarlo, Carolina Morgado, Guadalupe Flores, Claudia Sequiera, Nora Hernandez, Becky Riegel, Maribel Ochoa, Carmen Young, Eric Zulaica, Luga Turrubiates, Theresa Doherty, Steven Turner, Maria Gonzales, Rita Davidek, Fernando Caro, Michelle Oh, Michelle Nguyen and Ryan Ferrugia. With Board President Karen Peck (left) and Dr. Muri.

Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman also awarded an #IAMSBISD to the Raising Cane’s restaurant at 1105 N. Dairy Ashford for #CollectiveGreatness. On May 5, when Spring Branch Elementary was evacuated to Coleman Coliseum because of a nearby warehouse fire, manager Matt Smith saw all the activity and asked what Raising Cane’s could do to help. The restaurant first sent over 100 boxed lunches for staff and personnel, then another 100 when they realized more were needed.

Raising Cane's manager and #IAMSBISD recipient Matt Smith

High School Debate Recognition

Trustees recognized SBISD debate students who qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association’s national tournament in June in Salt Lake City. Memorial High School Debate Coach Cecil Trent introduced seniors Conor McKinley, Kevin Sheng and Parker Kelly. Kelly holds the school record for most debate tournament points accumulated. Spring Woods Assistant Debate Coach Harry Yu, himself a former Spring Woods debater, introduced seniors Travis Boyd, Carlos Diaz, Angel Ramirez, Christine Vo and Enrique Urdiales, and juniors Katie Koslan and Jeremiah Menslage. Spring Woods Debate Coach Victoria Beard was in Austin with Christine Vo and Travis Boyd, who were competing in the UIL state debate tournament.

The Memorial High School debate team with Board President Karen Peck (left) and Dr. Muri.
The Spring Woods High School debate team with Board President Karen Peck and Dr. Muri.

Student Athlete Recognition

Trustees recognized SBISD student athletes who this year competed at the state level, the highest in Texas. Coordinator of Athletics Cheryl Etlinger introduced teams, players and coaches who made it to state.

MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL: Girls Cross Country – Khayla Patel, Leslie Romero; Girls Track and Field – Khayla Patel; Boy’s Single Tennis – Andrew Esses; Team Tennis – Thomas Graves, Walker Herzog, Natalie Hur, Cole Rassner, John Schleider Jr., Andrew Shuvalov, Nina Solovyeva, Andrew Esses, Andrew Gilbert, Eva Jacobs, Chloe Sands, Benjamin Westwick, Artur Zigman, Devin Arrants, Trent Herndon, Anthony Huynh, Neil Mabee, Ryan Nehring, Maya Prakash, Lauren Vu, Rosalie Caplan, Ian (Dane) Esses, Jiayuan (Jerry) Gong, Uma Jacobs, Lauren Perillo, Candace Wright; Girls Golf – Madeline Burleson, Courtney Bryant, Tiffany Nguyen, Lindsay Riddle, Liyun (Erin) Xu; Boys Cross Country – Nick Hamilton, Luke Lewis; Boys Track and Field – Nick Hamilton.

STRATFORD HIGH SCHOOL: Boys Cross Country – Devin Fahey, Sam Evetts, Will Mundy, Grant Kay, Colby Harper, Nick Terrazas, Sebastian Saenz-Campollo; Girls Cross Country – Grace Custer, Caroline Crawford, Georgia Harper, Madeline Harms, Abigail Hirst, Sydney Lawrence, Hannah Pruitt; Diving – Jordan Ransom, Kaivon Dixon; Boys Swimming – Clayton Bobo, Kaivon Dixon, Peyton Moak, Jim Nantz, Dean Rathgeb, Cory Stephenson; Girls Swimming – Brittany Baerg, Daniella Hirst, Morgen Reyna, Emma Stephenson, Erika Stephenson, Kaitlyn White; Girls Track and Field – Grace Custer; Boys Golf – Jack Diamond, Will Henderson, Tony Pope, Matthew Riedel, Connor Stein.

SPRING WOODS HIGH SCHOOL: Girls Track and Field – Brianna Robinson, Stephine Mathis, Gabri’Ella Bonner, Toni Dada.

Spring Branch ISD athletes who competed at the state level with Board President Karen Peck and Dr. Muri.

2015-16 Share A Smile Campuses and Departments Recognition

Trustees recognized the district’s Share a Smile campaign, now in its fourth year and designed to enhance customer service. Community Relations Specialist Becky Wuerth introduced 35 campuses, including 11 new Share a Smile sites. Campuses/facilities recognized are Bear Boulevard, Buffalo Creek Elementary, Cedar Brook Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Frostwood Elementary, Hollibrook Elementary, Housman Elementary, Landrum Middle School, Lion Lane, Meadow Wood Elementary, Northbrook Middle School, Nottingham Elementary, Pine Shadows Elementary, Ridgecrest Elementary, Rummel Creek Elementary, Shadow Oaks Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, Spring Branch Education Center, Spring Branch Elementary, Spring Branch Middle School, Spring Forest Middle School, Spring Oaks Middle School, Spring Shadows Elementary, Spring Woods High School, Technology Training Center, Terrace Elementary, Thornwood Elementary, Tiger Trail, Valley Oaks Elementary, WAIS, West Support Center, Westwood Elementary, Wilchester Elementary, Wildcat Way and Woodview Elementary. Departments recognized are Building & Grounds, Community Relations, Financial Services, Transportation and Technology Services.

Representatives from the district’s 35 Share a Smile sites with Peck and Dr. Muri.

Public Hearing on Budget

Associate Superintendent for Finance Karen Wilson presented the 2017 budget, set to be approved by Trustees at the June 27 regular meeting. The 2017 budget covers the 2016-17 school year.

While tax revenue is expected to increase to $305.2 million, a 10.2 percent increase, the district also expects to send $66 million to the state in recapture (Robin Hood) and expects to send $90 million in the 2018 budget year. Any revenue increase is entirely offset by decreases in state funding net of recapture.

Looked at another way, of the $305.2 million collected in tax revenue, SBISD keeps $239.2 million, or 78.4 percent, while $66.1 million, or 21.6 percent, goes to the state as recapture. Conversely, the state is expected to provide only $17.5 million in funding for SBISD, or 6.8 percent of local and state funding. (Another $30 million or so comes from other sources, such as federal grants, etc.)

The 2017 budget is based on the same $1.3945 tax rate the district has maintained since 2010. Of that $1.3945, $1.09 goes to the general fund while $.3045 goes to debt service. The debt service fund, under local control, is expected to raise $92.9 in tax revenue in 2017 and end with a fund balance of $38.7 million.

Expenditures total some $289.5 million, up $2.6 million from 2016 and less than 1 percent. Central office staff used a modified zero-based budget technique to eliminate nearly $1.2 million from their budgets. Campus budgets aren’t affected. Some positions were eliminated but no classroom positions.

A one-time bonus of 1 percent (and a minimum of $500) for staff has been proposed in lieu of a raise, so that the expense doesn’t carry into the 2018 budget, which is expected to be bleaker than 2017 without significant work by the Legislature on the current school finance system. (See FY 2017 Budget Discussion below) The bonus would cost $2.4 million from the reserve fund and be paid in two installments. Another $2.6 million will be used to hire 38 additional teachers and support district programming, based on current enrollment projections.
Presentation >>

First Reading of Policies

Trustees gave first reading to four board policies: Innovation Districts; Performance Appraisal, Evaluation of Teachers; Performance Appraisal, Evaluation of Other Professional Employees; and TASB Update 104. Trustees will give a second reading and discussion at the June workshop meeting, with the policies up for approval on third and final reading at the June 27 regular meeting. Trustee Katherine Dawson said that policies will be posted online where the community can view and comment on them.
Policies >>

Bond Refunding

Trustees unanimously approved parameters and authorized the superintendent to set the amount and the timing for issuance of refunding bonds, which will lower interest rates on the district’s debt, and pay off some bonds entirely. Bonds from the 2007 authorization of $597.1 million were fully sold as of December 2014.
Resolution >>

Legislative Agenda

Trustees unanimously approved the district’s agenda for the 85th Texas Legislature, which convenes in January 2017. The agenda encourages more local control over revenue sources, operations and instructional programming, and asks legislators to provide adequate state funding for all Texas students. It asks for adequate funding for full-day Pre-K, with the state emulating SBISD’s “demonstrated model” on curriculum and assessments. It also addresses unfunded mandates, property tax caps, HB 5, accountability, and choice.
Legislative Agenda >>

Consent Agenda

Trustees unanimously approved the consent agenda. The consent agenda includes items considered to be routine and are considered as a single item by the board. A trustee can pull an item from the consent agenda for separate consideration. No items were pulled during this board meeting.
Consent Agenda >>

FY2017 Budget Discussion

Led by Dr. Muri, trustees discussed the 2017 budget, particularly the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling that found the state’s school finance system constitutional. SBISD was one of more than 600 districts that had sued the state on grounds that the school finance system was neither equitable nor adequate, as required by the Texas constitution.

Muri said while the 2017 budget won’t be affected by the decision, the “real shock and awe” comes in the 2018 budget – the 2017-18 school year – where, based on the current model, SBISD forecasts it will send $91 million to the state in recapture (Robin Hood) while local tax revenues actually decrease. “We thought that was a worst-case scenario,” Muri said. “But with the Supreme Court decision, it may be the best case.”

Muri said that he and other superintendents encouraged by language in the Supreme Court opinion that calls the current school finance system constitutional but deeply flawed. “The Legislature is the only entity that can fix school finance,” he said. “We need to work with them.”

He said that legislators have told him that school districts can’t present a single approach to school finance. But the Texas School Alliance, an association of 40 or so of the largest districts in Texas and to which SBISD belongs, is “coalescing” around a single model, Muri said. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a former legislator, is creating a coalition of Houston-area districts that will, among other issues, look at school finance.

Trustee Wayne Schaper Sr. called on the Spring Branch community to stay active with legislators, mentioning several by name. He said he worries about the board policy of maintaining a minimum of 19 percent of expenditures in reserve, to help get through the fall months before tax revenue starts coming in. He was echoed by Trustee Chris Gonzalez, who encouraged the community to “bring their voices together” to legislators.

Trustee Chris Vierra wondered about the effect of the one-time bonus in the 2017 budget, and how that might help keep the district competitive with salaries if area districts are giving true raises. Muri said that to keep up the district has to give competitive raises. “But (the bonus) is the only thing we can do at this point unless something changes in our financial picture,” he said.

Board President Karen Peck said she was “so angry” about the forecasted $1.8 billion to be collectively paid by Texas school districts in recapture in FY 2017, which she said is supposed to be used for equity between districts. “But the state just uses it,” she said. “It’s not additional funding for education but (everything else).”

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