FISD prepares for new bond sales, denies parent complaint.

During its regular Dec. 07, 2020 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met to recognize students, FEF, accept a donation, consider district radio system, prepare for new bonds for new schools, frown on employee abandonment, deny Level III parent complaint. (watch official video)

  • U. S. and Texas Flag pledges - Madison Patton, 4th Grade Monolingual Student at Criswell Elementary and Rylan Gray, 4th Grade Dual Language Student at Criswell Elementary
        Ms. Rachel Bonner, Principal at Criswell Elementary said they have two programs at Criswell.  Madison enjoys dancing, likes math, wants to be a teacher, willing to help other students, a contagious smile.  Rylan enjoys drawing, math, wants to be a doctor, works well with others.
  • Accepted the Forney Education Foundation Teacher Grant Donation of $67,998.
        Ms. Kate Keierleber, Executive Director Forney Education Foundation (FEF), provided an update: 15 years ago the FEF was founded to help every student expand their future.  Since 2003, awarded over $2 million.  In 2017 transitioned to dual-credit scholarships, providing more affordable classes by lowering tuition from $300 to $90 per class.  Have awarded $95k in dual credit scholarships.  Since 2008, awarded over $795k in Innovative Teaching Grants.  These grants were created after Mr. Coker suggested the foundation give back to teachers.  2019-2020 totaled $195k in scholarships and grants.  The Adopt-a-Grant program is awarding $68k tonight.
  • Forney Family Award
        Ms. Kristin Zastoupil, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications said recognizing Amy Paz for her actions helping a bus driver who hit his head and became woozy.  Amy Paz used the intercom to relay information to get help.
  • Holiday Card Contest Winners
        Ms. Zastoupil showed a video for the contest winners: grades PK-4:Haley Chastain; grades 5-8: Eva Ochoa; grades 9-12: Gabby Ortiz; overall winner: Jane Salgado.
  • Held a short recess.
  • Monthly Financial Report
        Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer, said YTD revenue is 22% estimated, expenses 33%, in line with previous years.  Food Service: not serving as many meals as pre-COVID, likely will need to supplement that fund.  Revenues at 10%, expenses at 20%; previous years would be at 27 and 29%.  Could be as much as $900k low.  Debt Service funds - compared to prior years (after adjusting for debt refinance) about equal last year.
  • Master Planning Update
        Ms. Kim Morisak, Chief of Information, Innovative and Technology Services, introduced Jeff Fisher with Gallagher who said Rhodes/Jackson moving along well, tornado shelter has been erected.  Griffin also coming along well, some walls poured, roof deck installed, storm shelter walls are complete.  NFHS animal science center essentially complete, moved animals in today.  FHS welding shop mostly complete.  Financial side has no surprises.
        Ms. Morisak said projects are flying along.  Mr. Carroll asked when welding shop be usable - 2nd semester, still waiting on some equipment.  Mr. Raddemacher w/ Huckabee showed fly-through video of Griffin and Johnson, and Willet.  They are designed with town-home-like accents and metal awning.  He presented renderings of the FHS baseball field w/ 1,000 seat stands.  NFHS field-house plans almost ready to release.  They have preliminary plans for a College Career Center, currently named Keith Bell Center.  Ms. Green asked if colors shown would be the colors - Ms. Morisak said yes, existing schools will have their colors matched? Elementaries don't have colors.
  • Custodial & Child Nutrition Pay Increase Report
        Mr. Chase said have had difficult time getting staff, even after adjustments FISD is 93 cents behind, staffing agencies haven't been able to help.  Will increase pay from 10.23 to 11, also giving other staff similar raises.  Will cost about $120k, can mostly cover with staffing vacancies.  Superintendent has authority to approve changes, they are reporting to board as required.  Dr. Terry said they have had difficulty hiring.
  • Public Comment - none.
  • Approved as one consent item:
    • Budget Amendment
    • Purchase of Radios - documents indicate this will be $802k covers hardware upgrades at 4 campuses,bus and police radios, handheld radios for all campuses.  This will allow communications during emergencies.
    • the MOU between FISD Police Department and The City of Forney Police Department
    • Ratify and Reapprove the Delinquent Tax Collection Contingent Fee Contract with Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins and Mott, LLP Pursuant to Tax Code §6.30
    • the Resolution Regarding Review of Local Investment Policy

  • Heard CV Local as a first reading
        Mr. Rick Geer, Chief of Human Services, said to speed up awarding construction projects, suggest allowing projects up to $100k be approved by superintendent; values above that must be approved by board.
  • Approved attendance boundary modification plan as presented.
        Ms. Morisak said this is a process over several board meetings, they have made changes and heard public input.  The feeder pattern will no longer.  HS boundaries will be independent of other schools, and remain exactly the same for 2021-22.  Students currently zoned for a HS will not change.  Elementary had small change affecting Crosby and Blackburn due to opening Griffin.  Blackburn zone reduced quite a bit due to growth and housing the Advanced Academics and Fine Arts programs.  Middle school zones have had some small changes, basically the plan 3.  That is also intermediate boundaries. 
        Mr. Geer said if the zones are approved, consider some exceptions previously approved have expired.  Brookville estates will phase out 2021-22.  Suggest accept exceptions until Feb 01 for 2nd-graders who wish to remain at current campus.  This would be subject to space availability, and no transportation will be provided.  Mr. Carroll wanted to verify that plan 1 would run into problems in 2 years - Mr. Geer said yes, the most it allowed was 2 years on S. side schools.  Mr. Carroll asked how allowing 7th graders to remain would avoid overcrowding - they determined if all students decided to do so, would not be an issue.  Dr. Terry said this would also allow students to remain at Brown; available to all 7th graders.
  • Approved purchase of fixtures, furniture and equipment for Rhodes Intermediate, Jackson Middle School and Griffin Elementary
        Mr. Chase said the budgets include purchasing furniture, about 10.5 million, asking for authorization not-to-exceed for 105 million, using co-ops to save money.  Dr. Terry said this is part of budget board already approved, they are just requesting flexibility for delivery problems.
  • Approved an order authorizing the issuance by the Forney Independent School District of its fixed rate unlimited tax school building and/or refunding bonds in one or more series (as designated by purpose and series); levying a continuing direct annual ad valorem tax for the payment of one or more series of bonds; prescribing the form, terms, conditions, and resolving other matters incident and related to the issuance, sale, and delivery of one or more series of bonds, including the approval and distribution of one or more official statements pertaining thereto; authorizing the execution of one or more paying agent/registrar agreements, and purchase contracts each pertaining to a series of bonds; complying with the letter of representations on file with the depository trust company; delegating the authority to certain members of the board of trustees and district staff to approve and execute certain documents relating to the sale of each series of bonds; and providing an effective date
        Mr. Chase said by the prior authorization, already have approval for $161.7 mil, have $71.7 left.  Saw Design for Willet and Johnson tonight, plus HS athletic expansion, career center.  Requesting authorization for $174 mil, not to exceed 6% which is very unlikely.  $30.5 mil are callable in August, would like approval for that if can save 3% savings.  1st sale in Jan/Feb of $106 mil, remainder in August.
  • Approved a resolution relating to rescind the remaining authorization of the issuance of unlimited tax school building bonds from an order approved on May 11, 2020; and providing an effective date
        Mr. Chase stated the $71.3 mil authorized, to avoid having duplicates, need to rescind the order.
  • Held a 67-minute executive session re:
    • Deliberate Regarding Employment of Professional Contract Personnel
    • Consideration and Possible Action Regarding the Pursuit of Sanctions for Educator Abandonment of Contract
    • Consultation with Attorney, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code § 551.071.
    • Conduct Hearing on Level III FNG Parent Complaint and Deliberation Regarding Same, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Codes §551.074, Personnel Matters; §551.082, Student Discipline; and §551.0821, Student Information

  • Approved the employment of professional contract personnel as presented.
  • Re: the pursuit of sanctions for educator abandonment of contract - Approved finding that good cause did not exist for the employee to abandon their contract with FISD, and authorized superintendent to contact the State Board.
  • Denied the Level III FNG parent complaint and requested remedies, and upheld the level II decision.
  • Adjourned at 2120.
Monday, 2020, December 7