JISD Board discuss property tax values and STARR testing results

Third grader, Clara Estrada, addressed the Jourdanton School Board at their regular meeting on May 6. Her concerns were over the lack of accessibility in the playground. She eloquently described the trouble children in wheelchairs or those using walkers have when using that area. Clara had even done research regarding the cost of wheelchair swings which are about $900, and safe swings that are around $300. To cover the costs, she suggested fundraisers or getting a sponsor. She also suggested getting rid of the wood chips and replacing them with fake grass or soft matting. In closing, Clara thanked the board for their consideration. The board expressed their appreciation of her presentation and the skill and confidence with which she spoke.

STARR Testing Superintendent Theresa McAllister presented the results of the first administration of the STAAR test (see page 1A for results), with comparisons to last year’s scores. McAlister pointed out that there is a lot of controversy and discussion about the readability of the tests and how they are about two levels above the tested grade.

Preliminary Tax Values The district had received the preliminary property tax values from the Atascosa Central Appraisal District as of April 30. Comparing this to last year, there is an increase of about $219,000. They could work on the budget, based on adjustments to this amount to account for any changes in values and McAllister suggested a budget workshop sometime in early June. It was agreed to hold the workshop at 6:00 p.m. before the regular meeting on June 10.

CCMR Director McAllister addressed the board with hiring a College, Career and Military Ready Director who would be responsible for helping students in their future planning. Most of this would entail administering the various tests, such as PSAT, TSI, ASVAB and AP and helping with graduation plans. The person would have to have a Master’s degree and two years’ experience. They would guide a course of study for each student and help them attain their goals. Many people, including students and parents, think that the only option after graduation is college or work. The importance of technical and vocational schools and the military need to be considered, as well. This director would be a great liaison for other forms of secondary and career training. The board agreed unanimously.

BCFS is the organization that receives Federal grant funding to provide Head Start services to certain school districts. Jourdanton has been using them several years, but has continuing problems with them. First, there is a huge turn-over in administration and staff, so there is no consistency in regulations and very hard to ever speak to the same person twice. The organization requires a 10 to 1 ratio at all times, so JISD is forced to hire a floating aide to step in when needed, no matter how seldom that is. The required paperwork is cumbersome and time consuming. During contract negotiations, promises are made that are not kept. It is difficult to get reimbursements for supplies and payroll. BCFS committed $144,000 last year, but because they are grant funded, the district does not receive that money until late in the budget period. Finance Director Angie Balaszi stated that none of these problems are new: she’s been fighting with them since the beginning. McAllister said that many have dropped them because of all the problems with their organization. She requested that they not contract with them again. Motion was made and passed unanimously.

Closed Session The trustees went into closed session to consult with attorney regarding legal issues related to nonrenewal of a term contract employee and to consider the recommendations to approve Professional Contracts. When they returned at 9:04 p.m., it was unanimously agreed to nonrenew the term contract for Yovan Yaws, based on the information presented.

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