The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

September 17, 2013

PISD board hears enrollment update

By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Palestine Independent School District Superintendent Jason Marshall reported an attendance of 3,262 students as of the 15th day of school on Friday to the PISD Board of Trustees during the regular board meeting Monday.

Attendance was up on the 15th day by 146 students, compared to the first day of school enrollment of 3,116.

Attendance on the 15th day of school for the 2012-13 school year was 3,274.

PISD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Suzanne Eiben gave a report on transfer students, noting that 60 transfer students were accepted for 2013-14, compared to 42 transfer students last year.

Of those 60 transfer students, 24 students have parents or guardians who are employed in PISD. Forty-one of the 60 were not enrolled in PISD during 2012-13 school year. Four transfer students graduated from PISD in the 2012-13 school year.

This year’s transfer students include transfers (one each) from Tyler, Crockett, Fairfield, Jacksonville, Whitehouse, Cayuga, Slocum, Humble and Grapeland; two transfer students each from Frankston, Oakwood, LaPoynor and Neches; three students from Elkhart; and 40 students from Westwood.

A public hearing was held during the meeting to discuss pay for contract employees providing instruction in Texas Afterschool Centers for Education (TACE) programs.

The TACE after-school program will kick-off next Monday (Sept. 23) at the following campuses: Northside Primary School, Southside Elementary School, Story Intermediate School, Palestine Junior High School and Palestine High School.

The program was made possible through the Texas Education Agency’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant the school district received recently.

“We look forward to the opportunity to provide these after-school educational opportunities for PISD students to ensure academic success,” Eiben told the board.

The hearing was held due to House Bill 483, which amended the Texas Government Code 180 so that it prohibits a school district from paying an employee more than the person is owed under a contract without a public hearing.

Because in some cases, the after-school instruction begins immediately following the students’ instructional day, and staff members may still be within the time of their contract day as TACE instruction begins.

The reason for the payment is to compensate the instructional staff for their supplemental work in the TACE program, Eiben explained. The numerous tasks usually completed during the contract day must be completed after hours on the days when the teacher works in the TACE program.

Following the hearing, the board members approved the pay for contract employees providing instruction in TACE programs to $35 per hour for professional staff and $25 per hour for non-professional staff members.

The source of the payment is federal funding, through the TEA’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant. PISD will receive about $1.6 million each year for the grant.

During the recognition portion of the meeting, Palestine High School Students of the Month Cheyenne Masters and Caleb Abernathy and Junior Rotarians for the Month Chanel Calhoun and Eric Gonzalez were recognized for their achievements.

The district’s maintenance department was recognized not only for doing an “exceptional job” of getting the campuses ready for school, but for their work and effort making PHS ready for its recent televised football game, PISD Chief Financial Officer David Atkeisson said.

In other action, the board:

• HEARD the financial update.

• HEARD an update on USDA Meal Requirements.

• APPROVED consent agenda including: minutes of the Aug. 26 regular meeting, bills paid for August, financial report, monthly investment report, tax collection report, budget amendments, donations and the 2013-2014 School Health Advisory Council committee members  

• APPROVED board meeting dates for 2013-14.

• APPROVED recommendations for employee contracts for Eric Haltom and Danielle Walston.

 • HEARD Superintendent’s report, including enrollment report, employee appreciation for insurance assistance, update on fall team of eight training, calendar of events and other items.