MISD dips into fund balance for facility repairs, upgrades

Note: Information in this article is not considered to be the official minutes of the meeting. The official meeting minutes are provided as approved by the MISD Board of Trustees. This article is intended to give a first-look overview of the agenda items discussed and acted upon in open session during meetings of the MISD Board of Trustees.

MARSHALL, Texas – Marshall ISD’s Board of Trustees approved a budget amendment in the amount of just over $4.3 million to address various maintenance and facility items, primarily at Marshall High School, during the board’s regular December meeting held Monday evening.

Included in the work will be new HVAC systems at various facilities, including Marshall High School. The project also includes new lighting and sound systems in the MHS auditorium, and new roofs over the MHS freshman wing and MISD Administration Building. The work will also include repairs to the elevator at MHS.

The total budgeted cost of the projects is at $4,375,000.00.

The money will be taken directly from the district’s fund balance, which is essentially a savings account. With a project surplus of approximately $2 million from the 2017-2018 budget year, the district’s fund balance was over $20 million. With various expenditures this fall that have dipped into the fund balance, following Monday’s action, the total in the account now stands at just over a projected $14 million. Last month, the district dipped into fund balance to purchase 11 new school buses to add to its bus fleet.

The Texas Education Agency recommends that school districts keep at least three months’ worth of operating expenses in its fund balance. For MISD, that figure would be approximately $10.3 million.

In other action from the December board meeting:

·         William B. Travis Elementary was the Featured Campus of the Month for December. Fourth-grade student Demetrius Dooley led pledges to the American and Texas flags, and Eduardo Lopez Lozano, second-grade bilingual teacher, was recognized with the monthly “Above and Beyond” Award. November’s “Above and Beyond” recipient, Patti Kirkland of Sam Houston Elementary, was also recognized after not being able to attend the November meeting which highlighted Sam Houston.

·         Under the Student Achievement portion of the meeting, MISD recognized the accomplishments of the following students:

o   MHS Big Red Pride Marching Band, for earning another “Superior” rating at this year’s UIL Marching Contest. Drum majors Deshona Jernigan, Reed Garbs and LeaRondra Reese, along with director David Densmore, represented the band at Monday’s meeting.

o   MHS Choir students were recognized for advancing to the final round of Texas All-State Choir competition next month. These students are Levi Smith, Jada Hooker, Deanndra Jernigan, Alex Laster, Heaven Woolen and Davion Williams.

o   MJHS Choir had 21 students who earned recognition in the All-Region Choir.  These students were Korren Harris, Suzy Argote, Julia Carlile, Ashyia Wilder, Ava Chiles, Claire Abney, Zoe Mendez Baldwin, Are’anna Gil, Ja’Kayla Rusk, Daniella Contreras, Anatole Hurta, Destinee King, Adrian Becerra, Juan Vargas, Zachary Lester, Julius Johnson, Ronaldo Menderos, Eduardo Resendiz, Gunner Chaler, Valentin Mendoza and Matthew Harwell.

·         Kristin Byrd, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Financial Services, presented the district’s public hearing for the School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) rating based on data from the 2016-2017 school year. MISD received an “Above Standard” rating. Under School FIRST, every school district in Texas is required to prepare an annual financial management report that includes the district’s financial management performance rating provided by TEA for the current and previous rating year and six required disclosures:

o   A copy of the Superintendent’s contract (published on the district website)

o   A schedule of reimbursements received by the Superintendent and each board member

o   A schedule of compensation and/or fees received by the Superintendent from other school districts or outside entities

o   A summary of gifts valued at $250 or more received by each board member.

o   Summary of business transactions between the district and board members for fiscal year 2016.

o   Other information determined to be useful.

·         Anika Perkins, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, presented a public hearing for the district’s 2018 PBMAS (Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System). Performance-Based Monitoring staff reports annually on the performance of school district in selected program areas (Bilingual/ESL education, Career and Technical Education, certain federal title programs, and Special Education). The PBMAS data is reported at district, region and state levels.

·         Ms. Perkins presented a public hearing on the district’s 2018 PEG (Public Education Grant) report. The PEG list is effective for the 2019-2020 school year. It identifies any campuses with passing rates on STAAR that are less than or equal to 50 percent for any subject in any two of the preceding three years or were rated Improvement Required by the state accountability system in 2016, 2017 or 2018. Marshall Junior High School and Price T. Young Elementary, MISD’s Improvement Required schools in the 2018 accountability ratings, are the only MISD campuses on this year’s PEG list.

·         Dr. Jerry Gibson, Superintendent, led trustees through their monthly Lone Star Governance Review.

·         Ms. Perkins provided information on MISD’s Fall benchmark tests during the monthly Data Review portion of the meeting.

·         Approved items under Consent Agenda included:

o   The district’s financial report for November 2018.

o   Board meeting minutes for the November 2018 Regular meeting, held on November 12, 2018.

o   Annual Review of MISD Investment Policy and Designation of Investment Officers – In accordance with Texas Government Code Chapter 2256 and Board Policy CDA (LEGAL) and (LOCAL), the district is required to review its investment policy annually and designate investment officers. No changes were recommended to the district’s investment policy at this time. MISD’s designated officers are Dr. Jerry Gibson, Superintendent, and Kristin Byrd, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Financial Services.

o   Purchase of Microsoft Volume Licensing Annual Renewal – This covers all Microsoft software for the district’s standard desktops, virtual desktops, and servers which includes operating systems and applications.

·         Trustees approved an updated Superintendent Evaluation Instrument.

·         Trustees approved the district’s recommendation to use Sound and Video Solutions as the vendor for the replacement of lighting and sound systems in the MHS auditorium. The bid was in the amount of $168,132.00.

The January meeting of the MISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 5:30 p.m. in the Pat Smith-Gasperson Board Room located in the Administration Building at 1305 E. Pinecrest. A Special Meeting for Agenda Review for that meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 17, at noon also in the board room.

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