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Trustees accept superintendent resignation and move to hire an interim by September 1

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held a special meeting to adopt a tax rate for the 2018-19 school year. A recap of the agenda is below.

A. All Trustees were present. Delma Abalos arrived to the meeting after it started.


B. Trustees voted 6-0 to approve the 2018 Certified Appraisal Roll from the Ector County Appraisal District.


C. Trustees voted 6-0 to approve Budget Amendment #2. This budget amendment is for an increase of approximately $5.1 million dollars most of it due to certified appraised values coming in higher than expected.


D. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve a 2018-19 tax rate of $1.2759 per $100 property valuation. A school district’s tax rate is broken down into two parts: Maintenance & Operations (M&O) which provides the funding for day-to-day operations; and Interest & Sinking, also called Debt Service, which provides the funding for debt (bond) payments. The rate adopted by the school board breaks down as $1.17 for M&O + $.010957 for I&S = $1.27957 total tax rate. In order to raise the M&O tax rate above the current level of $1.04 an election must be held, and must be approved by voters. The proposed 13-cent increase would mean $192.64/year (or $16.05/month) in additional property taxes for the average home in Ector County (an appraised value of $170,873.)


E. Trustees voted 7-0 to postpone, until Monday evening, an order calling an election for November 6, 2018, to ratify school district taxes pursuant to Section 26.08 of the Property Tax Code.


No one requested to speak to the board. The meeting adjourned at 6:08 p.m.


Immediately following the special meeting, the Board of Trustees held its regular meeting for August. A recap of that agenda is below.


Gale Pond Alamo Elementary students Moises Banda and Brianna Banda led the pledges of allegiance.


Reverend Phil Skelton from Living Word Baptist Church gave the invocation.


Special Presentations included recognition of ECISD being named one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for the 4th year in a row; G.H.W.B. New Tech Odessa, Hays Elementary and Reagan Elementary being named to the 2018 Texas Honor Roll; Buice Elementary receiving a Transforming Learning award from the Principals’ Institute; and three local reporters receiving TASB Media Honor Roll certificates for their coverage of ECISD.


A. Trustees received an update on lesson plans. Members of the Curriculum & Instruction team reminded the school board that this initiative came to the forefront after an audit by WLK Educational Consultants. The audit showed our school district had a curriculum and resources in place but so many resources available it was hard to determine the most effective. The C&I Department was encouraged to write lesson plans, and began to do so last year. Now lesson plans for all content areas are available to teachers online through Google Classroom or the TEKS Resource System. The lesson plans are built for day-by-day use and include labs, videos, and other activities that are key to the lesson. The C&I coordinators walked Trustees through the sites and a few lesson plans, explaining how teachers access and navigate the information. Teachers can add lessons or other resources once those items are vetted by the C&I Department. Trustees reminded the coordinators that this is seen as a necessary tool for the school district, and wanted to make sure all teachers will use it. Trustees asked if this site can be available for substitute teachers and if they can be trained to use it, too. School board members thanked the C&I team for the enormous amount of work they’ve done since last November to get this many lessons in place for the start of the school year.


B. Trustees received an update on the support being given to schools rated Improvement Required. Based on the accountability ratings just released the priority schools will be Blackshear Elementary, in its 4th year of Improvement Required status, Bonham Middle School, in its 3rd year of IR, and Crockett Middle School, in its 1st Meetings have already taken place with the principals and plans are being set up for curriculum teams to be on those campuses offering support.


C. Trustees discussed applying for inclusion in the Lone Star Governance Exemplar Cohort. When the 2017-18 year began the Board of Trustees enrolled in Lone Star Governance training sponsored by the Texas Education Agency. The board is now considering applying for the next step of the training and briefly discussed when a couple of members might meet to fill out the required questionnaire. No specific time was set.


D. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve the 2018-19 Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook.


E. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve absorbing the Teacher Retention Incentive into teachers’ salaries. The biggest benefits of this decision are: 1. As part of their salary that money becomes permanent and not an item that must be approved separately in the annual budget process; 2. As part of their salary that money will increase their Teacher Retirement System (TRS) calculations, meaning more money at retirement; 3. It pushes the district’s starting salary for teachers to $47,500, which is more competitive in recruiting.


F. There were no purchases over $50,000.


G. Trustees discussed their interviews with superintendent search firms. Last week the school board interviewed three firms – Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates; JG Consulting, and Texas Association of School Boards Executive Search Services.


H. Trustees voted 7-0 to approve the Consent Agenda. The Consent Agenda is group of routine or previously discussed items approved all at once. Items included on this month’s Consent Agenda were an Interlocal Agreement with Communities in Schools, receipt of a $150,000 grant from Chevron, the annual investment report, the list of UIL Eligibility courses, and the list of approved T-TESS appraisers.


I. Trustees spent 45 minutes in closed session discussing the superintendent’s appraisal, contract, and possibility of naming an interim superintendent.


J. Trustees voted 4-3 to accept the resignation of Superintendent Tom Crowe effective on September 1. Trustees thanked Mr. Crowe for his service to ECISD, and said his strong appraisal reflected the good work he has done in improving morale and student performance in ECISD. The school district will pay him for the remainder of the year - $135,000 - and he will remain available to act as a consultant for the district through the end of December. Nelson Minyard, Dr. Ray Beaty and Dr. Steve Brown voted against the motion.


K. Trustees voted 7-0 to name Jim Nelson as interim superintendent, beginning on September 1, subject to contract negotiations.


The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.