Summary Report & Media Highlights
February 13, 2017
Board of Trustees Regular Agenda:
Board Workshop Agenda
Board meeting videos now available online

Superintendent Comments

Superintendent Dr. Scott R. Muri informed trustees of the selection of Stefanie Spencer of Sherwood Elementary and Bryan Williams of Spring Branch Middle School as Principal of the Year for elementary and secondary, respectively. Both principals were surprised at their schools earlier Monday morning.

Dr. Muri also announced that an adjustment in the way the Texas Education Agency calculates recapture payments will result in a $14.4 million reduction in SBISD’s payment this year, from $67.4 million to $53 million. Dr. Muri emphasized that the calculation change is not a systemic change in Texas public school finance, and that the change only affects a handful of districts in Texas – those that are Chapter 41 recapture districts that also offer a local homestead exemption. He said that the reduction in SBISD’s recapture payment is the good news, but the bad news is that “it’s still $53 million ... (School) funding needs to be revisited.”

Approval for Spring Branch ISD to Participate in One Voice for Texas Public Ed

Trustees unanimously agreed to participate in One Voice for Texas Public Ed, a coalition of area school districts pooling voices to promote common issues. Trustee Chris Vierra said she’s met several times with the group and that it’s “a good group to join ... we agree on issues.” Vierra first brought up One Voice at the Jan. 23 regular meeting.


Presentation of TASB Compensation and Stipend Study Results

Trustees heard results of the compensation study done by Ann R. Patton, managing compensation consultant with the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). Patton told trustees that the “the real story here is the teachers.” She surveyed surrounding and area districts – “the ones you compete with for teachers,” she said – and found that SBISD is last in teacher compensation. She said she had four objectives when studying and recommending a new compensation plan for SBISD: recruitment of new employees; retention of current employees; accurate payment for the job; and controlling system costs. The recommended plan would cost $9.9 million and includes a general pay increase coupled with an “equity” payment at each step to further differentiate between years of service. The new compensation plan would bring teachers up to the median salary for their respective years of service.

Trustee Josef Klam said that he was surprised to learn that SBISD was last in area teacher salaries and that was “not the expectation for our district.” He asked what it would take to bring teacher compensation above the area market. Patton said the cost to bring salaries to the top of the market would be around $12.5 million. Superintendent Muri said that the system has the opportunity to “right the ship” with its compensation, and that compensation should be a “significant strategic priority.” He said the district will use the modified zero-based budgeting process it used last year and that he and staff will bring a draft budget to the board in April.

The compensation study falls under Extraordinary People in The Learner’s Journey, SBISD’s strategic plan. Extraordinary People looks at “the care and development of every SBISD employee.”

Compensation Study Presentation

Strategic Plan Update

Trustees heard reports on two projects underway as part of The Learner’s Journey, the district’s strategic plan. Director of Recruitment and Staff Placement Karen Heeth reported on the development of personalized professional development, including a definition and a learning framework, inside the Extraordinary People theme of the strategic plan. Community Superintendent Jennifer Parker reported on the development of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) – groups bound by a common interest of some kind. Parker and colleagues Kristin Craft and D’Andre Weaver lead PLCs of principals and assistant principals who in turn lead PLCs on their campuses. Parker said the goal is to create a model that ensures common norms, structures and goals, under the Resilient Foundation theme of the strategic plan.


Enrollment Projections for 2017-18 School Year

Director of Research and Evaluation Mike Thomas presented enrollment projections for the 2017-18 school year. Thomas told trustees that the district expects 35,042 students next year, a net increase of 0 percent from the current school year. Thomas said that the district uses the cohort survival method of projecting enrollment, which looks not only at historical data but also external factors such as program changes as well as uses input from apartment complexes, homeowner associations and word of mouth. Elementary enrollment is projected to decrease by 1 percent with no change in middle school enrollment and high school enrollment increasing by 1.5 percent. Thomas said that since 2013, with one exception, enrollment projections have been off by 2 percent, usually over-predicting enrollment. He told Board President Karen Peck that this year’s projection is indeed a conservative projection.


2017-18 Campus Staffing Definitions and Guidelines

Associate Superintendent for Operations and Talent Jennifer Blaine presented staffing guidelines for the 2017-18 school year, which, alongside enrollment projections, determine campus staffing levels. Blaine said staffing guidelines for 2017-18 aren’t very different from previous years, and offer some flexibility for campus leaders. She said sometimes the numbers seem arbitrary but are based on historical definitions and numbers. She said that the district’s developing opportunity culture, where staff members might perform different roles within a workday, requires some flexibility, and that campus leaders have some flexibility with staffing.


Legislative Update

Dr. Muri reported that he and five trustees had been in Austin at the Capitol the week before, visiting with the local delegation and others who might influence public education. Trustee Vierra reported that she, Trustee Josef Klam and Trustee Chris Gonzalez met with Gov. Greg Abbott’s policy director, the staff director of the Senate Education Committee, and three legislative offices. She said she felt “heard” – those she met with listened and generally agreed with trustees about SBISD’s financial situation. She said she thinks there’s more “will” and “positivity” this legislative session to do something with school finance. Trustee Klam said that legislators and staffs know about SBISD both through trustees and parents, who are working the Legislature. Board President Karen Peck mentioned Sen. Kirk Watson’s bill, which would require the state to use recapture dollars to “supplement” public education, not “supplant” education dollars.

Trustee Vierra said that Rep. Jim Murphy addressed school finance at length during his town hall meeting last weekend. She said he’s clear that “school finance is a major concern to his community.” He also said that 70 percent of respondents to his pre-session survey were not in favor of education savings accounts or vouchers. She said the meeting was well-attended and that she thinks the SBISD community is doing a good job of letting its concerns be known to legislators. Superintendent Muri thanked both the board and parents for their advocacy on behalf of the district.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is the February regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at 7 p.m., Northbrook High School, 1 N. Raider Circle.

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