|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - October 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
TISD board addresses ‘unacceptable’ rating
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – It was a case of good news, bad news Monday night for the Trinity School Board. They learned the district had been given a “superior” rating on its annual financial review by the state while receiving the formal word that the district as a whole has been rated as “academically unacceptable.” While the state’s unacceptable rating has been expected and discussed since the early results of last year’s Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAKS) test were released, Monday was the formal public hearing on the rating. During the hearing, Trinity Superintendent David Plymale told the board that the low rating from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) was the result of poor science scores among the district’s African-American students. While none of the district’s campus earned the unacceptable rating, when all of the scores were compiled district-wide, the school system itself fell short of state minimum scores. Plymale noted that while the state’s minimum acceptable passing rate on the science exam is 55 percent, local African-American students had a passing rate of only 48 percent, after the Texas Projection Measure (TPM) was factored into the accountability report. Plymale noted the TPM projects whether on not students who did not pass a section of the test are likely to pass in the near future. For instance, only 36 percent of the 42 African-American students who took the test locally passed the science exam but the TPM increased the score to 48 percent. Plymale said the TPM boosted local scores on other tests above state minimums leaving only the African-American science results in the unacceptable range. According to the TEA report, while only 41 percent of the district’s 41 Hispanic students passed the science test, the TPM increased the score to 61 percent. Economically disadvantaged students had a passing rate of 52 percent on the science section, but that score was increased to 70 percent by TPM. The actual passing rate among white students taking the science test was 67 percent but the TPM boosted the final score to 83 percent. Minimum passing rates set by TEA on other tests include 60 percent for math and 70 percent for reading, writing and social studies. “We have some work to do and we are addressing our weak areas,” Plymale told the board. “The math and science minimum scores will increase by 5 percent this year and that is giving us some concern, but we are focusing on making the needed improvements,” he said. Plymale, who is in his first year as the local superintendent, was selected by the local school board, in part, based on his past successful performance in improving student test results. Later in the meeting, he presented and the board adopted a Student Achievement Improvement Plan for the current school year outlining the steps that are being taken to help increase the student performance. Also presented during a public hearing Monday night was the district’s First Rating Report on school finances. Business Manager Kevin Parrish noted that the TEA report was based on the district’s finances for the 2009 fiscal year, which ended on Aug. 31, 2009. Once again, the district earned the state’s highest rating, “superior.” Parrish noted that the local school system scored 78 our of 80 points on the review. Points were lost because the district fell short of a 98 percent collection rate on its tax collections that year. A point also was lost because the “interest earnings” on the school’s monetary deposits fell short of the $20 per student level sought by the state. “As most of you know, interest earnings have tanked in the last few years so we didn’t quite reach the $20 per student mark. Our earnings that year were $19.47 per students, so we were fairly close,” he said. Other business During Monday’s meeting, the school board: • Accepted a revised bid of $50,186.73 for the installation of new, electrically controlled bleachers in the Trinity High School gymnasium. This represented about a $15,000 savings from an earlier bid, which was renegotiated with Specialty Supply Co. by Parrish. The old bleachers will be removed and the new ones installed during the week of Dec. 6-10. One home basketball game scheduled that week has been changed to an away game and high school students will practice in the Trinity Middle School gym while work is underway. • Authorized Plymale to purchase a new 77-passenger bus at a cost of $88,590. The bus will be delivered in late January or early February, • Voted to hire Ryan Causey as a middle school instructional technology specialist. • Voted to change the November school board meeting date from Monday, Nov. 22 to Monday, Nov. 29 due to the Thanksgiving holiday. • Renewed an agreement that will allow the Trinity County Appraisal District to collect school district taxes.