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

Summary of Meeting

Board Briefs September 26, 2016

Board of Trustees Regular Meeting Agenda

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


Trustees recognized Maersk Oil Houston for its generous donation of nearly $2 million worth of furniture and office furnishings to Spring Branch ISD with an #IAMSBISD award for #CollaborativeSpirit, presented by Associate Superintendent of Talent and Operations Jennifer Blaine and Director of Facilities David Vesling. When sliding oil prices resulted in Maersk closing its Houston office, executives used their connections with Stratford High School and former principal (now executive director of operations) Chris Juntti to make the furniture gift to the district. Final delivery of items has been taken; newly created and/or remodeled offices in facilities across the district have high quality, well maintained furniture, with all furniture to be in place by the end of 2016. Blaine recognized that SBISD is mindful of the circumstances of the gift, that the office closed and that workers lost their jobs. Bruce Laws, president of Maersk Oil Houston, praised Stratford and Spring Branch ISD for the education his children received. He told trustees that he was glad that Maersk was able to make the donation but reminded them that people have lost their jobs. He said that school personnel should be sensitive to the effect that a parent’s job loss has on a student.

SBISD Board of Trustees President Karen Peck (left), with Maersk Oil Houston President Bruce Laws and Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri.

Finance Department Awards

Trustees also recognized the SBISD Finance Division for a multitude of awards earned over the past year, most repeating past honors. For the seventh consecutive year, the Finance Division earned the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) – the only national award in governmental accounting. The Finance Division also earned the Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) the highest award for governmental and financial reporting and also presented by the GFOA. Finance also received, for the fourth year, the Award of Merit for Purchasing, given by the Texas Association of School Business Officials, recognizing state public school districts that are committed to following professional standards in the acquisition of goods and services. And SBISD Child Nutrition Services (CNS) earned the Standards of Excellence Award from the Texas Association for School Nutrition. The award is based on an audit of CNS performance and recognizes SBISD as one of the best programs in the state. Reading off the awards, Trustee Pam Goodson also noted that the Finance Division has for the past six years earned the Texas Comptroller’s Leadership Circle Award that recognizes excellence in transparency. That program has been replaced with a Transparency Stars program that SBISD looks forward to participating in.

SBISD Board of Trustees President Karen Peck (left) with members of the SBISD Finance Division: Tera Harris, Laurie Payton, Barbara Robillard, John McGee, David Bender, Karen Wilson, Lawanda Coffee, Chris Kamradt, Dr. Muri, and Tatiana Kouznetsova.

SBEF Gift to District

Trustees recognized the Spring Branch Education Foundation and received a symbolic check representing gifts to Spring Branch ISD in 2015-16 totaling $1,108,217 – the second consecutive year that SBEF has given gifts totaling more than $1 million. Trustee Josef Klam said that SBEF believes in both community and education, and works to make school a better experience for all of SBISD’s students. Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman expressed the district’s gratitude to the volunteers who serve on the SBEF board to make Spring Branch ISD a better place. Making the presentation for SBEF were Executive Director Cece Thompson and Director of Planning and Administration Susan Marks.

SBISD Board of Trustees President Karen Peck (left) with SBEF Executive Director Cece Thompson, SBEF Director of Planning and Administration Susan Marks, and Dr. Muri.

Public Hearing on Proposed 2016 Tax Rate

Associate Superintendent for Finance Karen Wilson led a public hearing on the proposed 2016 tax rate of $1.3945 -- $1.09 for the general fund, and $.3045 for debt service. Property values increased 10.1 percent last year while the tax rate remains unchanged since 2010 (the 2016 tax rate is assessed on properties based on appraised value as of Jan. 1, 2016). Local property taxes support the General Fund budget of nearly $290 million and the Debt Service fund budget of nearly $91 million, both approved by Trustees on June 27, 2016. Wilson noted that just over a third of SBISD taxpayers that claim the 20 percent homestead exemption are over 65 – “an interesting demographic,” she said. SBISD is required to tax $1.05, she said – the “compressed” tax rate from 2006 when the state of Texas bought down, or compressed, school tax rates. SBISD added an additional 4 cents in 2008, four of its six “golden pennies” that aren’t subject to recapture and that entitle the district to additional state funding, roughly $2 million. Wilson said that SBISD offers one of the lowest school tax rates in the area as well as the full 20 percent homestead exemption. See action item below on adoption of 2016 tax rate.
2016 Tax Rate Adoption Presentation >>

First Reading of Policy

Trustees heard on first reading the local Technology Resources policy and local policy updates recommended by the Texas Association of School Board (TASB). Trustee Katherine Dawson pointed out that policies under consideration by the Board can be read and commented upon by the public at the Board Policy website.
Board Policy website>>

Adoption of Policy

Trustees unanimously adopted on third and final reading a local policy concerning Other Revenues and Investments. Dawson said that the policy had been posted on the Board Policy website and had received no comments.
Board Policy website >>

Adoption of 2016 Tax Rate

Trustees unanimously adopted the 2016 tax rate of $1.3945, but not without comment. In her motion to adopt, Trustee Pam Goodson said that while the tax rate remains unchanged, because of the appraised value increase the district has to say that taxes are being increased when in fact they are not. The increased revenue comes from a higher appraised value, she said, yet state law requires that the motion to adopt call that additional revenue a tax increase. Goodson also pointed out that $66 million of that revenue is going to the state in recapture (Robin Hood) dollars. Trustee Chris Gonzalez said that SBISD’s financial situation is an “unfortunate reality,” while Trustee Chris Vierra said that she’s looking forward to working with legislators on tax relief – “we’re not getting any,” she said.
Tax Rate Resolution >>

Approval of Charge and Composition for Long Range Facilities Committee

Trustees unanimously approved the charge and composition of a Long Range Facilities Committee to study the condition of the district’s buildings and campuses. The last study was conducted in 2006. Superintendent Scott Muri said that nearly 70 community members had applied to serve on the committee. Applications close on Friday, Sept. 30.
LRF Charge and Composition >>

Approval of Board/Superintendent Operating Procedures

Trustees unanimously approved updated Board/Superintendent Operating Procedures. Dawson said that the operating procedures are “very important to our process as a board.” Trustee Josef Klam, who was appointed to the Board in June, said that he reviewed the procedures prior to his being selected and found them invaluable.
Board/Superintendent Operating Procedures >>

Consent Agenda

Trustees unanimously approved the consent agenda. The consent agenda is a group of action items to be considered and approved as a whole. Trustees have the privilege of moving items off the consent agenda for separate consideration. No items were removed from this consent agenda.
Consent Agenda (item 9) >>

Overview of Strategic Plan Project Management

Strategic Planning Coordinator Bailey Hampton presented Trustees with an update on the strategic planning process, an overview of the tactical roadmap being developed and the management system that will be used to develop the district’s Strategic Plan, adopted in Spring 2016 as part of SBISD’s designation as a District of Innovation.
Strategic Plan Project Management Presentation >>

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