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School board appealing TEA rating, cancels school board election

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    The Bandera ISD Board of Trustees accept the donation of a UTV and trailer from the Bandera Athletics Facilities Improvement Team. BULLETIN PHOTO/ Tracy Thayer

The Bandera ISD Board of Trustees announced last week they are filing an appeal with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) regarding their recent rating; the board also canceled their upcoming school board election, addressed the School Guardian Program and approved a new tax rate.

During the Information portion of the meeting, Chief Administrative Officer Donald Tosh gave an update on the Texas Education Agency Accountability Rating system and detailed the ratings that BISD schools received, sharing their intent to file an appeal, citing technical errors at the state level.

Tosh and the campus principals reviewed the district and campus improvement plan goals and strategies. The district appears to have made small gains in English Language Arts but fell in Mathematics. Each improvement plan directly addressed campus deficits.

Addressing student handbook revisions, Tosh reported that the many changes in state law over the past several years had caused the handbook to become lengthy. He said administrators would review the handbook and edit where necessary over the course of this school year.

Chief Academic Officer Laura Klein along with her staff gave a presentation on the duties of the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department. Klein’s staff are Brittany Timmons, Assistant Director of Assessment and Accountability; Stephanie Jones, Advanced Academics Coordinator and Lead Instructional Coach; and Erin Moore, Instructional Coach.

In other business, the board accepted the donation of a new Utility Vehicle and Trailer from the Athletic Facilities Improvement Team. This group of community and parent supporters donated a new vehicle to add to the almost 20-year-old utility vehicle that the Athletics Department already uses.

Members of the Athletic Facilities Improvement Team are Lisa and Ron Gherman, Stacey and Bobby LaLanne, Nicole and Jeff Flowers, Christina and Louie Moreno, Melinda and Roger Byrd, Alyssa and Eric Cothran and Buddy’s Water Well Service.

The board recognized seniors Jetta Martinez and William Hunter Garrett as BISD Students of the Month. High School Social Studies teacher and BHS graduate Ginger Postert Frye was recognized as BISD Staff Member of the Month.

The Superintendent’s Report consisted of a longitudinal review of first day student counts. Bandera ISD started the school year with 2,380 students, an increase of 73 students compared to the start of last year.

Superintendent Bitzkie gave a progress report on the roof construction project at Bandera Middle School, saying roof repairs will be finished by January 2023 and the HVAC replacement will begin on December 1 and be completed by March 2023. Bitzkie attributed the slower-than-expected progress to supply chain issues.

During the Regular Agenda, the Board approved the addition of one teaching unit to the kindergarten department at Hill Country Elementary. This would bring class sizes down to 19 students per teacher. The board also approved the hiring of an extra bus monitor to replace a monitor moved to a Special Education department bus.

The tax rate for 2022-2023 was approved. Chief Financial Officer Mike Neuman reported that the Maintenance and Operation tax rate will be .8546 per hundred. The Interest and Sinking tax rate will be .1238. The total rate will be .9784 per hundred.

Neuman also reported that Bandera ISD’s tax rate had decreased twenty cents since 2009. The Board also approved a move of funds into an escrow account to assist in the payoff of certain school bonds.

The Board approved changes to Board Policy CKC (LOCAL) concerning the School Guardian Program. The Board also approved a $3,000 stipend for each school guardian to cover costs of insurance, ammunition and associated professional costs. Bitzkie remarked the district would require guardians to keep their skills in top form by participating in shooting practice monthly and that this would require considerable ammunition to complete.

The Board canceled the November 8 school board election since no position was contested. Up for re-election were Casey Hauer in Position 1, Brittany Hicks in Position 5, Heidi Battle in Position 6, and Greg Butler in Position 7. Since no other candidates for these positions filed for the election, the district saved the election costs by canceling the election. The Board went into closed session to approve the appointment of the staff members designated as School Guardians in Bandera ISD.

The next meeting of the BISD Board of Trustees will be on October 10 at 6 p.m.