Highlights from January Poteet school board meetingFree Access

Diana Guthrie

Special Correspondent

The trustees of the Poteet School Board were bestowed with gifts and expressions of appreciation by students, staff and the community at their regular meeting on Jan. 28. A beautiful song was performed by the Junior High Choir. The varsity cheerleaders gave decorated cookies, culinary arts students fixed a dinner of lasagna, garlic bread and salad and even the Poteet Strawberry Festival Association gave them goodie bags. They received several other gifts and cards of appreciation, as well.

Superintendent Charles Camarillo gave a quick report on the upcoming governance conference and congratulated the participants of the Stock Show. Their 4-H students did very well.

Performance Report

A public hearing was opened to present the results of the Texas Academic Performance Report. This breaks down the statistics of testing by ethnicity and socio-economic status. A PDF version is available on-line for more detail. It breaks down third grade-eighth and high school for several topics and compares them to state and Region 20 averages. Subjects include reading math and social studies (for the lower grades), English Language Arts, Biology and US History for High School.

The statistical breakdown shows “meets grade level or above.” In all categories, PISD scored percentages lower than the State or Region 20. Overall attendance was at 93.9 percent as compared to State average of 95.7 percent. However, graduation rate of 90.5 percent exceeded the State average of 89.7 percent. The class of 2017 scored higher on military or career readiness than the others and those graduating with approved industry-based certification was six times the state average.

Student scores on the SAT test were in line with the State and exactly the same as Region 20. ACT scores were below average compared to the other two. The demographic of students shows the following breakdown: economically disadvantaged, 76.6 percent; non-educationally disadvantaged, 23.4 percent; English learners, 5.2 percent; students with disciplinary placements, 2.5 percent and at-risk students, 55.7 percent. Enrollment in special programs breakdown with Bilingual/ESL at 4.9 percent; Career and Technical Education (CTE) at 34.8 percent, Gifted and Talented Education (GT) at 5 percent and Special Education at 8.1 percent. More than 50 percent of the teachers have 10 years or less experience. All this is to say that PISD met accreditation requirements.

Distinction Designation Awards

They also received several distinction designation awards: High School received Academic Achievement in ELA/Reading, in Mathematics, in Science and is in the Top 25 Percent of Comparative Academic Growth; Junior High received Academic Achievement in ELA/Reading; Intermediate received Academic Achievement in Math, Science, rated in the Top 25 percent in comparative academic growth and comparative closing the gaps in postsecondary readiness. Special Ed “needs assistance,” which they have begun working on. Finally, there were no reports of violence or criminal acts for that year.

Financial Report

The monthly financial report was accepted unanimously. There was an item to amend the budget by moving funds from the life skills program and assign it to another account, although it will still be used for life skills. This is to comply with an auditor’s suggestion. The Athletic Booster Club has $4,000 to donate to the school for batting cages. The district has decided to hold off on the construction since the season is about to start and also, they have only received two bids from one vendor and they are fairly high. The club will hold onto the money for the time being. However, they did donate miscellaneous supplies to the Athletic Department in the amount of $3,672.89. Because it is over $1,000, the board has to approve the donation, which they did, unanimously.

Chromebooks for PIC

More Chromebooks will be purchased for Intermediate campus for their classes. This will bring the ratio from 12 to one to five to one. They have a little extra in funds and recommend going with the quote from M & A Technology, because of the price and efficiency of promised delivery. Wilson moved to purchase the computers for the amount of $27,042.12, with Garza seconding. Motion passed unanimously.

General Election

The Board called for the trustee general election to be held on May 4 and to have a joint polling place with the City of Poteet election. This will be at the Junior High Cafeteria. The list of election officers, the judge and clerks was approved, along with compensation of $12 per hour for the judge and clerks.

TEA Report

Mara Ash, TEA monitor, updated a report with comparable actual fund balances and optimal balances with neighboring districts, as requested by the board. She explained that this could be considered a three-month reserve to pay all expenses, actual balance and the six-month reserve is the optimal balance, in the event of some disaster or event that would prevent revenue from coming into the district.

Poteet has a fund balance of $7.7 million, with the optimal balance being $9.2 million. Surround districts are similar: Devine has $9 million, needs $7 million for optimal balance; Lytle has $4.1 million, optimal is $4.8 million; Pleasanton has $14 million, optimal is $8.5 million and Jourdanton has $4.7 million and optimal balance is $4.1 million.

Based on these figures, Poteet is very much in line with the others. She pointed out that as expenses rise, so does the optimal balance. They are working on a five-year plan and she encourages them to finish it before budget time so they will have a baseline and a good working model.

The board went into closed session at 8:23 p.m. to discuss pending litigation regarding the high school field, consider employment of new personnel and for the superintendent’s mid-year review. Upon returning at 11:53 p.m., they voted to hire two teachers, Carol Estrada and Whitney Gonzales. The board also approved the settlement offer for pending litigation regarding the Poteet High School Field.  The vote was five in favor of the motion and two opposed.

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