Jourdanton ISD trustees approve appraisal district’s budget, Safe Schools services continued

Vanessa A. Lopez, the new food service director, introduced herself to the Jourdanton ISD board members at their regular meeting on August 10. Her office will be in the High School cafeteria and she invited any suggestions from the group. The trustees in attendance were Lanny Wheeler, Tricia Taylor, Mary Ramirez, Vance Jupe, Phillip Netardus, Amador Lugo and President Barbara Peeler.

Superintendent Dr. Lana Collavo discussed the acceptable use policies for the board, which is an annual item for dissemination. The trustees have access to the school’s technology, but she reminded them that anything sent by email was subject to open records act. As long as their usage does not unduly burden the system or increase the cost, they can use it for personal reasons. All records must be retained in accordance to the JISD rules and regulations, but any emails to or from the school address will automatically be archived at district. She added that since they have to follow the Internet Safety and CIPA rules, they have many blocks on sites.

The consent agenda consists of the minutes from the previous meeting, the payment of the bills and the Business Office report. The total of all bills is $273,150.59. Total in all accounts is $6,454,317.88. Tax collection for the month of July was $185,039.96. Motion passed unanimously to accept consent agenda. The payment of the conflict of interest bills was passed with Peeler abstaining.

An item moved up for consideration was to allow Atlas Resource Partners to erect a tower on the district’s property on Christine Road. The representative said that there would be a footprint of 10X10 feet and the tower would be set in concrete. They would need about 100 square feet of the property. The radio tower would be solar powered and relay information from the field to their office in town, which is located behind Dornak’s. He assured them that any fencing or safety concerns would be handled. They proposed a ten year contract at the rate of $2,500 per year. There was some immediate discussion from the trustees about using that area for future expansion. Peeler said that the acreage was currently leased and she repeated the plans for construction on the property long term. Even though the terms were negotiable, the trustees voted to not enter into a lease agreement with Atlas Resource Partners.

Another item with some discussion was the approval/ disapproval of the Atascosa County Appraisers District budget. Collavo reminded them that they were just one entity of many and it takes the majority to pass or fail the budget. She added that she was not opposed to the budget. Board voted to approve ACAD budget for 2016.

The contract with BCFS who provides Head Start programming is up for renewal. They are federally funded and pay half of two teachers’ salaries, pay for two and a half aides, as well as provide supplies and some additional sources. Motion passed unanimously to continue with the contract. They also agreed to approve an annual resolution describing hazardous conditions and areas within two miles of school so bus transportation could be arranged for students affected. Areas included are Hwy. 16 and Hwy. 97 with boundary at Peach Street; east of Hwy. 16 and south of Hwy. 97; north Hwy. 97, east/west of Hwy. 16 and south of La Parita and west of Hwy. 16. Smith Village is not included in this.

The November 3rd election was ordered for District5, Amador Lugo and District 7, Lanny Wheeler.

Dealing with finances, the trustees accepted the ACAD certified tax values of $1,124,820,207 market value, with $855,161,650 net taxable value. They approved the proposed budget of $14,999,851 for the 2015/16 year. The proposed tax rate of $1.17, the same as the current rate, was also approved. A public meeting for the budget and tax rate was scheduled for August 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Local Policy DNA, which deals with performance appraisal and evaluation of teachers was considered. Currently, they receive an annual evaluation. Each teacher must hold certification and teach in their certified fields. The proposal is to do an evaluation every three years, but increase the number of walk-throughs done by appointed appraisers. The motion passed unanimously.

The list of appraisers and the appraisal calendar were approved. The dates are very specific: there can be no observations during the first three weeks of school, the week before Christmas, or on January 5 and 6.

The Safe Schools grant from a couple of years ago, allowed for mental health services for the students. Collavo would like to continue those services provided by Camino Real MHMR. Some of the costs can be recouped through Medicaid and is already considered in the budget. The board voted unanimously to approve the continuation of the services.

They adopted a resolution regarding the payment of wages during emergency closings, as long as those days were not scheduled for makeup. If there is a federally declared disaster, anyone working up to 40 hours will receive one and a half times their salary; over that, wages will be paid according to law. The board approved the period of one week salary payment. If more time was needed, they could call a special meeting to address the problem at that time.

Adjunct faculty status was given to the county’s extension agent, so that students who attend 4-H shows are not considered absent from school.

Lunch prices were raised as follows: Elementary, $2.00; all other grades, $2.25; faculty and staff, $3.50 and visitors, $4.00. Breakfast is free for students, but staff/faculty pay $1.50 and visitors pay $2.00. A salad bar is being added for the elementary and second grade and the high school students will have 10-18 choices for lunch.

Collavo reminded the board of several important dates for August: a workshop and public hearing on August 24 and final budget approval on August 31. Meet the teachers will be held August 17 through August 25.

The board met in closed session at 8:41 p.m. Upon returning at 9:04 p.m., the meeting was adjourned.

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