The Palestine Independent School District's Board of Trustees heard news of receiving the Gold Leadership Circle Award for financial transparency during its meeting Monday.
The Comptroller of Public Accounts launched the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program in December 2009 to recognize local governments across Texas that are striving to meet a high standard for financial transparency online.
The award spotlights governments that open their books to the public, providing clear, consistent pictures of spending, and sharing information in a user-friendly format that lets taxpayers easily drill down for more information.
PISD scored 17 of 20 possible points in the rating’s criteria.
News of the award was sent to PISD Director of Business Services David Atkeisson.
“The district should be proud of this accomplishment,” PISD Superintendent Jason Marshall told the board during the meeting, commending Atkeisson and his staff. “He had the courage to go after this award and never looked away.”
Also during the meeting, the school board approved the school trustee election order, setting the school board election for Place 6 and Place 7 on Saturday, May 10. The board also approved a joint election resolution between the school and the City of Palestine for election day on May 10.
In the event of a cancelled election, due to unopposed candidates, the entity canceling the election will not be liable for election costs incurred. The two entities will share election workers but have separate election ballots and ballot boxes.
Palestine ISD and the City of Palestine will share the following common polling locations on Election Day: Freedom Fellowship Church, 125 Kickapoo St.; Washington Early Childhood Center, 1020 Hamlett St; and Palestine ISD Administrative Office,1007 E. Park Ave.
In the event of such a joint election, the PISD will share equally in the expense of the election such as renting and programming of voting machines. Each political subdivision will conduct separate early voting locations for the period from April 28 to May 6.
School board candidates may request in writing to have their name placed upon the ballot for a three-year term for Place 6 and Place 7. The request must be signed by the candidate and filed with the secretary of the Board of Trustees at the superintendent's office no later than 71 days prior to the date of the election (by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28).
Early voting will be conducted at the PISD Administration Office, 1007 E. Park Ave. Hours will be Monday through Friday, April 28 to May 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday, May 5-6 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
In other action, the board:
• APPROVED the contract extension of central office administrators, directors, principals and assistant/associate principals, including: Lance Angel, one-year extension; Sheila Bradley, one-year term; Stephen Cooksey, one-year extension; Jenny Cunningham, one-year term; Dee Dietz, one-year extension; Barbara Dutton, one-year extension; Suzanne Eiben, one-year extension; Michael Esparza, one-year term; Peggy Herrington, one-year extension; Rhonda Herrington, one-year extension; Amanda Jackson, two-year term; Larissa Loveless, one-year extension; Grace Mancilla, one-year term; Shanna Marshall, one-year term; Joseph Mason, one-year term; Melissa Molandes, one-year term; Breck Quarles, one-year term; Sharon Reed, one-year extension; Lolita Shead, one-year term (part-time); William Stewart, one-year extension; William Tunstall, one-year term; David Atkeisson, one-year contract; Jack Dalaba, one-year contract; David Long, one-year contract; Jacob Wheeler, one-year contract.
• HELD a public hearing to discuss Texas Academic Performance Report for 2012-13. Copies of the report will be available on the school's website and a notebook containing the report will be available to the public at each campus.
The report includes the No Child Left Behind District and Campus Report Cards; report on violent or criminal incidents; Higher Education Report; PEIMS Financial Reports; and TAIS Campus Performance Objectives. The District/School Report Cards detail performance on the four indexes, system safeguards, attendance data, class size, student/teacher ratio, expenditures per student and high school readiness.
In the performance section, there are performance levels for the state, for the region and for the district. The profile section lists demographics, student to teacher ration and graduation rate. PISD's graduation rate is 89.7 for four years (whereas a 87.7 state average) and 96.7 for five years (with a 89.1 state average). The drop out rate locally is 1.4 percent, versus a 2.4 percent state average.
In summary, the district and all campuses met the standard for the state and federal accountability systems. The high school had a distinction in math and the junior high campus had a distinction in reading/ELAR. The junior high also received a 25 percent student progress distinction as they were among the top 25 percent of their cohort group.
• APPROVED Smith, Lambright & Associates, P.C. to provide Palestine ISD Financial Audit for year ending Aug. 31, 2014
• HEARD an update from Atkeisson on the transportation fleet. He hopes the district will be able to purchase one to two school buses before the next school year starts. More than 20 school buses are 10 years old with high mileage. Annually, the district routinely cycles the buses out — moving older trip buses into route buses. In addition, Atkeisson reported that the district also would need to look at other vehicles the district uses that may have high mileage.
• APPROVED the consent items which included minutes of the Jan. 23 meeting, bills paid for January, financial report, monthly investment report, tax collection report, budget amendments and donations.
• HEARD a resolution supporting Celebrate Texas Public Schools 2014 (formerly Texas Public Schools Week). Events will be planned locally the week of March 3-7. Theme is “Leave Your Mark.”
• APPROVED the 2014-15 school calendar. The District Action Team was presented with two calendars for review and presentation to their campuses so that each campus had the opportunity to vote on the calendar. The calendar presented for approval is the result of campus majority vote.
• APPROVED revised Cheerleading Constitution for 2014-15.
• APPROVED Drill Team Constitution for 2014-15.
• APPROVED Board of Trustees self-evaluation.
• HEARD Superintendent's report on enrollment, March activities, Spring Break (March 10-14), school finance trail, Texas Association of School Administrators Midwinter Conference, UIL realignment, Texas Association of School Board Summer Leadership Institute, etc.