|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - November 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
TISD finances are ‘above standard’
Trinity Standard - November 2009
TRINITY – Although down from last year’s “superior” ranking, the Trinity Independent School District’s financial management system has been rated “above standard” by the Texas Education Agency.
During a public hearing held Monday night, TISD Business Manager Kevin Parish presented the annual report, which was based on the 2007-2008 school year.
“We would prefer if we could get the rating for this past year, but it takes a while for the state to gather and evaluate all of information it uses,” Parish said.
Parish noted that based on the 2006-2007 figures, TISD earned the TEA’s highest rating of superior. During that year, the district had only one “negative indicator.” He noted that TEA wants all school districts to collect 98 percent of the property taxes that they budget each year.
In 2006-2007, TISD fell short of that 98 percent level.
“Historically, we generally collect in the range of 94 to 95 percent but over the last few years, that has been coming up,” he said.
During the 2007-2008 school year, TISD collected 97.1 percent of the taxes, which was still below the 98 percent target set by the state.
In addition to that problem, Parrish said TISD had an additional negative indicator in the latest report – the African-American scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test that year were rates as academically unacceptable.
“These two negative indicators caused us to drop a little in the rankings, but we are still will above the ‘Standard Achievement’ rating,” Parish said.
He explained that there are now 24 “indicators” used by TEA to make the annual evaluation and that TISD received positive grades on 22 of them.
Six indicators are classified as “critical” and a negative rating on any of them indicate potential financial weakness by the district. Parrish said TISD passed all six.
In addition, the TEA report evaluates school budgeting procedures, staffing patterns and cash management policies, all of which passed state review.
During the TISD board’s meeting, which followed the public hearing, school trustees were presented with disciplinary reports from the four campuses.
During the past month, there have only been seven disciplinary referrals at Lansberry Elementary and nine at Trinity Intermediate. At Trinity Middle School there have been 12 students given In School Suspension (ISS) and a small number assigned to the new Saturday detention hall.
The numbers at Trinity High School were higher than at other campuses at 49 discipline referrals, but board members said they felt they were well down from last year.
THS Assistant Principal Natalie Barrett told the board discipline have been a top priority this year at the high school and that off the 49 referrals, about half were written by her.
She told the board that she and Principal Steven Tuggle spend a great deal of time in the school hallways and checking restrooms to make sure students are where they are supposed to be.
“The new camera system has been a big help with the problem of students who try to leave campus without authorization or who try to cut classes,” she said.
When asked about reports that police have been filing charges against students for their behavior on campus, Barrett confirmed that citations have been issued.
“We are cracking down on students cursing at teachers. When that happens, the police are notified and a citation issued,” she said.
She noted that police are not coming onto campus in response to the “disorderly conduct” reports, but rather the school files a complaint and a ticket is later issued.
“We are doing this because we feel this offense warrants more of a response from us. This forces the students to have to go before a judge where they can be fined or ordered to perform community service.
“When you reach into a student’s pocket, it gets their attention. Since we started this, we have had no repeat offenders and one student told me he regretted his actions and promised to never do it again,” Barrett said.
During Monday’s meeting, the school board also:
• Learned that about 90 percent of the laptop computers being assigned to sixth through eighth graders have been issued and that the distribution of the laptops at the high school is set to begin the week of Nov. 16. The computers are being issued to the students under two Vision 20/20 grants from the state.
Technology Director Brian Furbee said before the students can receive a school laptop, their parents must either attend a training seminar or view a training video which outlines the student’s responsibility for the computer
• Made their annual approval of the district’s investment policy.
• Approved the campus and district plans.
• Appointed a five-member School Health Advisory Council.