Summary Report
May 7, 2018
Board Workshop Agenda
Board meeting videos

Executive Session

Trustees met in executive session to discuss personnel. The executive session was recessed for the regular session then reconvened. Action was taken after reconvening.

Recognition of Katherine Dawson

Trustees took time to recognize the service of Katherine Dawson, who did not seek re-election to the board after serving two three-year terms. Dawson was lauded for her passion, her energy and her frequent calls for urgency in serving students – Dr. Muri said he now understands “urgency” to mean “Every Child,” one of the district’s core values that Dawson helped develop and to which she also frequently refers. Dawson both taught and volunteered in the district before first being elected Trustee in 2012. She said it was an honor to serve the district where she grew up (she’s a Westchester High School alumna) and where she taught, and to serve such a “phenomenal community.” Board President Karen Peck said that Dawson leaves behind a “strong legacy” on the Board of Trustees. Dawson will serve as president of the Stratford High School PTA next year.

Retiring Trustee Katherine Dawson (third from right) with her family, Trustees and Dr. Muri.

SKY Partnership

Representatives and Houston Board Members from KIPP and YES Prep charter schools joined Trustees to hear a presentation on the SKY Partnership, a collaboration between the three entities. Dr. Muri compared the initial stages of the partnership in 2011 to the writers of the U.S. Constitution – a group of individuals collaborated, debated and created an idea that today still resonates strongly. The SKY Partnership includes SBISD and KIPP Courage at Landrum Middle School, and YES Prep at Northbrook Middle School and Northbrook High School, utilizing surplus building capacity on those campuses and helping keep students who live in-district at SBISD schools. Dr. Muri outlined core objectives of the partnership: innovation, collaboration, shared strategy and design, and more choice for students. SKY Partnership enrollment in KIPP and YES Prep has increased by 1,110 students since 2011, to 1,411 students today, a nearly 400 percent increase.

Trustees and the charter school board members also heard from principals of the three SBISD schools and their charter school counterparts. The principals lauded the partnership and the collaboration that comes from sharing programs under the same roof. KIPP Courage principal Eric Schmidt said that he and Landrum Middle principal Steven Speyer meet formally once a week but engage 20-30 times weekly through random and impromptu meetings in hallways and other areas. Northbrook High School principal Randolph Adami said that the growing enrollment at YES Prep Northbrook High School is the partnership’s “greatest advantage and its greatest challenge.” Northbrook High School is out of space but is scheduled to get a new classroom wing as part of the 2017 bond program. Challenges include teacher collaboration across programs (they’re really busy), and reading ability of English Language Learners (ELs) coming into middle school. Trustee Pam Goodson, who was on the Board when the SKY Partnership was created, said that it was a “risk” at that time but “(the risk) has been worth it.”

Second Reading of Policy

Trustees heard on second reading TASB Policy Update 110, which focuses on updating and reorganizing several polices concerning board member eligibility and qualifications, elections and vacancies and removal from office. No amendments were offered and the update goes on to third and likely final reading. Trustee Katherine Dawson, the board’s policy liaison, said that the policy update has also been posted at the Board’s policy website and received no public comment. (This item was taken out of order by Board President Karen Peck.)

TASB Policy Update 110

FY2019 Budget

Trustees heard some “good news” concerning tax revenue for next year’s budget – the certified property value estimate is up 2.3 percent, a little higher than previously assumed. After recapture, the district will realize an additional $5 million, said Associate Superintendent for Finance Karen Wilson. She said that the district now has more information and that Trustees were seeing an updated expenditure budget of nearly $304 million and that includes expenses rolled forward from 2018 and a salary increase.

Trustees previously asked for an estimate of taking elementary classrooms to a student-teacher ratio of 22:1, which Associate Superintendent of Talent and Operations Jennifer Blaine said would cost around $2.5 million. Wilson said that the budget is built on an assumption of a 24:1 ratio but that doesn’t mean every classroom is at 24:1 – many are smaller. Trustee Pam Goodson said that while small classes are admirable, she’d prefer to put resources in areas of greatest need.

Staff proposals to bolster English Language Learners (ELs), professional learning and development, and a grant program that would vigorously serve Catalyst schools (those schools with the greatest need) were presented. Dr. Muri said each represented a “strategic investment” and said that the work in each wasn’t new but could be accelerated with additional funding.  Trustees discussed the proposals and asked staff a series of questions to better understand the purpose of each proposal as well as the overall request. Dr. Muri said any or all of the programs would be worthwhile and that he was looking for a budget number that Trustees were comfortable with. He said the proposals overlap around teachers and that each works with the other. Goodson said she wanted additional investments “to be felt on the front lines.” Dr. Muri said that the proposals were “smart investments” for kids but reiterated that he wanted a number that Trustees were comfortable with.

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