Board Notes: November 16, 2021

BOARD NOTES – Nov. 16, 2021

Workshop Items

Annual Financial Audit Report Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2021
Carl Deaton from the audit firm Hankins, Eastup, Deaton, Tonn & Seay, P.C.A conducted the District’s financial audit. The financial audit is required annually for each school district and is to be made on an organization-wide basis, including all fund types and account groups that are the accounting responsibility of the school district. The audit must be approved and submitted to the Municipal Advisory Council of Texas and the Division of School Financial Audits of TEA within 150 days following the end of the fiscal year. Mr. Deaton stated the report showed no errors and recommended no changes to the district’s business practices.

Discussion of Elementary Boundary Modifications
Dr. Jeff Russell, Area Superintendent provided the Board of Trustees an overview of proposed attendance boundary modifications to Paloma Creek Elementary, Savannah Elementary, and Union Park Elementary School. Which will assist with establishing the boundary modifications for Sandbrock Ranch Elementary.

Dr. Lacey Rainey presented information of the proposed attendance boundary modifications to Ginnings and Evers Park. The District explored the impact of future developments on the enrollment at Ginnings Elementary School. With current attendance boundaries, future developments would have significant impact to enrollment capacity at Ginnings Elementary. After review of demographic impact research provided by Zonda Demographics, Dr. Lacey proposed adjusting the attendance boundaries of Ginnings and Evers Park Elementary Schools to allow this future development to be included in the Evers Park Elementary School boundary.

Dr. Gwen Perkins proposed adjusting the attendance boundaries of Hodge and Stephens Elementary Schools to allow a future development to be included in the Stephens Elementary School boundary. Currently there are no students within the upcoming development that will affect students.

Discussion of School Calendar 2020-2021
Susannah O’Bara, Asst. Superintendent for Academic Programs presented the Board with the proposed 2022-2023 school calendar. 

The Board reviewed the proposed academic calendar for the 2021-2022 school year. Texas HB 2610 requires that students receive 75,600 minutes of instruction and that districts may use 2,100 minutes for a waiver to receive professional/staff development. The state also requires districts to refrain from beginning school prior to the fourth Monday in August, however since Denton ISD received the designation as a District of Innovation that law does not apply. Based upon current survey and feedback from EIC, Principals, City Council PTA and Executive Cabinet, the following considerations were made in developing these calendars:

  • HB 2610 requirement of 75,600 instructional minutes.
  • Ending the first semester prior to Winter Break.
  • Equalizing the instructional days/minutes in each semester to the greatest extent possible.
  • Maintaining a consistent holiday schedule with prior years and alignment of spring break with local universities.
  • Potential waiver minutes of 2100 for professional development.
  • Maximizing use of instructional minutes prior to state testing.
  • 180 Instructional Days
  • A student/staff holiday at least once per month.
  • Ongoing PLC time for professional learning.

Discussion of TASB Policy Update 118
Deron Robinson, General Counsel presented TASB Update 118 and the local policy changes. Mr. Robinson provided the Trustees with an additional change to be made to policy DFE (LOCAL). This change will allow supervisors not designated by the Board to accept resignations on the employee’s behalf, then provide the resignation to the Superintendent or other person designated by Board action.

TASB Policy Update 118 encompasses changes in law from the 87th Legislative Session that have an immediate effect on the governance and management of the District. Update 118 contains revisions to 120 legal policies and 12 local policies. Recommended changes to local policies address the following topics:

  • Activity funds
  • Cybersecurity
  • Resignations by contract employees
  • School counselor duties
  • Human sexuality instruction
  • Accelerated instruction and retention and promotion
  • School safety transfers
  • Optional excused absences for students and attendance for credit
  • Child abuse and neglect reporting
  • Student records

Report Items

Bond Progress Report
Kathy Lawson, Co-Chair of the Bond Progress Committee presented the Board with an overview of the Bond Progress Committee meeting from the November 10, 2021, held at the new Denton High school.

Construction Report
Caleb Straughn, Construction Coordinator provided the Board with an overview of the current construction projects which included Braswell High School additions and Carrico Athletic Complex, Sandbrock Ranch Elementary (#25), “new” Denton High School and, Pat Cheek Middle School that are part of the 2018 Bond Authorization.

Health Services Annual Report
Kathy Malmberg, Director of Health Services provided the Board with the department’s annual report. Covid-19 impacted every aspect of health services on campuses and departments. Denton ISD applied for the state testing program and funds were allocated to conduct Covid tests for students and staff. Funds were used to hire a vendor which sent two nurses that stayed 6 hours per day to perform covid tests for students and/or staff. Due to increase in workloads of the nurses Ryan and Denton High added two LVN’s to help support the health rooms because of Covid. The Health Services department found there has become a greater appreciation for the practice of healthy habits like hand washing.

Annual Investment Performance Report
This report is to inform the Board of Trustees of the annual investment earnings and performance of the District’s investments for fiscal year 2020-2021. The District will continue to invest district funds in the current investment pools due to prevailing interest rates in the financial markets.

COVID Report
Susannah O’Bara, Assistant Superintendent provided the Board with the most up to date COVID case data from the Denton County Public Health Department. Denton ISD’s will remain in constant communication with DCPH regarding guidance and protocols for the health and safety of our community.

WiFi Connectivity for Buses Using the Federal Emergency Connectivity Fund
Robert Pierce, Technology Information Officer informed the Board of Trustees of District efforts to take advantage of an Emergency Connectivity Fund to equip the District bus fleet with Wi-Fi. This initiative it to provide Wi-Fi on District buses using federal ECF funds resulting in a net zero cost to the District. This initiative will provide Wi-Fi service on every active bus in the District fleet and enable students to maximize their utilization of the devices provided in the District’s one-to-one initiative by providing them a fully filtered internet connection on their daily bus rides as well as bus rides to events.

New Business

Financial Audit
The Board approved the Annual Audit Report for the year ended on June 30, 2021. It was prepared by Hankins, Eastup, Deaton, Tonn & Seay. 

Certified Tax Roll
The Board approved the certified tax roll approve the 2021 Certified Tax Roll with a combined levy of $305,622,927.52. 

District of Innovation
The Board approved the update to the current District of Innovation Plan by adding American Sign Language as an exception to the certification requirements of the Texas Education Code Section 21.003 and 21.044

Discontinuance of TRS ActiveCare Insurance
The Board approved the discontinuance of the Teachers Retirement Services (TRS) ActiveCare Insurance Offering for employee medical insurance beginning the plan year on September 1, 2022.

WiFi Connectivity for Buses Using the Federal Emergency Connectivity Fund
The Board approved the ECF Bus Wi-Fi initiative at a net zero cost to the District
for the current fiscal year.

Other Items of Note

Mark of Excellence award winners: Crownover MS, McMath MS and Denton HS. 

Community Spotlight: Texas Health Presbyterian, Denton County Public Health

Board Spotlight: Hannah Williams, Ryan High School