FISD calls for $623 million bond election

During its regular May 28, 2019 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met and in summary: recognized student council members, all-state athletes, reviewed health and safety plans, approved bond election, selected bond counsel, approved contract with Huckabee Architects, slightly increased meal prices, approved loan for chromebooks.

  • Held a 60-minute executive session.
  • Issued Certificates of Election to newly elected board members
    Mr. Greg Pharris, School Board President presented the certificates.
  • Ms. Teer Administered Oath of Office to newly elected board members - Chad Johnson, Becky Dobbs, Christopher Andrews.
  • Re-Elected as Greg Pharris President
  • Re-Elected Chad Johnson as Vice-President
  • Re-Elected Barbara Jo Green as Secretary
  • Forney High School Student Council -
        Mr. Rick Geer, Chief of Student Services asked Ms. Hensley & Mr. Jenkins to speak - Ms. Hensley said the council introduced mental illness awareness week, breast cancer awareness month, adopt-a-highway, toys for Forney Kids, Relay for Life, Heroes Week for veterans, and publishing Toilet Times, distributed to all bathroom stalls.  Texas Assoc. of Student Councils Sweepstakes Award is earned by just 200 schools of the 1400 member schools.
  • North Forney High School Academic All-State Baseball
    Mr. Neal Weaver, Director of Athletics said students must be seniors w/ 92+ grade average. He introduced NFHS: Balen Ebert and Hayden Shipley.
  • Public Comment - none
  • Monthly Financial Report
        Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer said revenue is at 69% estimated, expenses 79%, would expect about 83% this far through year.  Cash on hand $77 million.  Budget hearing June 24; legislature passed spending bill which has significant changes to formulas.
  • Annual Report of the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC)
    Mr. Geer introduced Ms. Stacey Brown who said updated language for middle school level.  Had a very successful health fair.  Working on substance abuse prevention programs, for intermediate level.  Working on tele-health program.  Next year is tri-year review of FFA policy.  She took a moment to "brag on the nurses", who saw 10% increase in clinic visits this year; had 65,000 visits, less than 5% were sent home.  Gave 28,000 medications, performed 3,500 procedures, not including 8,500 diabetes care visits.
  • Safety & Security Update
        Mr. Geer said last year adopted 'I luv you guys' response protocols to update the language across district.  A community safety committee met 4 times during the year.  They added security officers at HS, upgraded entry controls and cameras.  Next year: these items from the committee: anti-bullying app w/ anonymous reporting, will allow 2-way communication if desired.   Will work with SRO to coordinate w/ sheriff office, crime stoppers and suicide hotlines.  Also a threat assessment tool, team will meet weekly to review.  Working on teen mental health first aid program, to help students help others.
        Have hired 3 student support counselors, to work with high-risk students.  Capturing Kids Hearts - all staff will be trained in this program over the summer.  Last January, approved 3 Restorative Coordinators, who apply inclusive procedures as an alternative to punitive discipline.  They are investigating the Life Anew (Restorative Justice) program, will bring it to the board.
  • Approved as one consent item:
    • Budget Amendment
    • School Resource Officer Contract for School Year 2019 - 2020
    • Instructional Materials for K-4 ELAR

  • Approved an Order calling a Bond Election in the amount of $623 million to be held by the Forney Independent School District; making provision for the conduct of a joint election; and resolving other matters incident and related to such election.Watch Video
        Ms. Kim Morisak, Chief of Information and Innovative Services, brought up Dr. Lizzy Asbury who facilitated the Committee meeting.  She "bragged on the community," praising the committee members who were "all about the students." She then introduced Dr. Gillespie, Ms. Green and Ms. Gradt as co-presenters of the recommendation. 
        Dr. Makita Gillespie was a Forney teacher 2008-2014, currently works in admin in Dallas ISD.  She showed the charge the committee operated under.  The committee bonded during the meetings.
        Ms. Kathy Green worked for FISD 30 years, her daughter teaches at Criswell - she spoke about the subjects of the 5 meetings the committee had.  At one point, the committee's wish list totaled almost $1 billion, so they worked it down, to recommended amount $623 million, which was unanimously approved.
        The recommended spending breakdown is:
    • Elementary Capacity: $294 million (Pre-K, 2 elementary, New Johnson, intermediate school)
    • Secondary Capacity: $307 million (middle school, high school expansions, college & career center)
    • District improvements: $16 million (repurpose Johnson, capital improvements)
    • Contingency: $6 million

        Ms. Mary Gradt, soon to be a senior at FHS, said the committee story is student success, their job is to inform citizens.  It was interesting to see what it takes to run a district like Forney.
        Mr. Carroll asked how many members - about 65.  Dr. Terry said the committee was very diverse, thanked them for their work.  He stated staff will keep a close eye on fiscal approach, as long as he's in that chair.

  • Approved appointing Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle, P.C. as co-bond counsel to the district; delegating authority to the Superintendent of schools to execute necessary engagement agreements therewith; and other matters in connection therewith.
        Mr. Chase said the previous bond firm split, it's important to have bond counsel.  Current general counsel Walsh Gallegos has a section for bond elections, but not tax counsel, for which they will use Norton Rose.  Mr. Johnson verified no costs would be incurred for bond counsel until bonds are issued.
  • A Resolution relating to establishing the Forney Independent School District's intention to reimburse itself for the prior lawful expenditure of funds for capital items.
        Mr. Chase explained this was done for previous $20 million bonds.  There will be preliminary costs for a bond election, if approved.
  • Approved an AIA contract with Huckabee Architects
        Mr. Chase said with bond now called, need to renew language, adding language for reasonable fees if proposed bonds aren't approved, terms and fees are the same.
  • Approved 2019-2020 lunch prices
        Mr. Chase said have done this 3+ years, due to federal subsidies must meet certain guidelines.  What is presented shows around $3, increase is capped at 10 cents.  If don't do it, will have to transfer the difference (about $27k) from general fund, about $17 per student per year.  Price of breakfast hasn't changed in years, at 1.35, should be about 1.50 which surrounding schools have.  He recommends 3.00 at high and middle, 2.90 at elementary and 1.50 breakfast.
  • Approved an order by the Board of Trustees of the Forney Independent School District authorizing the issuance of Obligations designated as "Forney Independent School District Public Property Finance Contractual Obligations, Series 2019" in an amount not to exceed $1,322,000; levying an annual ad valorem tax, within the limitations prescribed by law, for the payment of the contractual obligations; prescribing the form, terms, conditions, and resolving other matters incident and related to the issuance, sale, and delivery of the contractual obligations; authorizing the execution of a paying agent/registrar agreement and a purchase and investment letter; complying with the requirements imposed by the letter of representations previously executed with the depository trust company; and providing an effective date
        Mr. Chase said this was discussed in December meeting, this is to fund the chromebooks.  Will pay about $700k and borrow the $1.3 million.  Mr. Merritt (financial advisor) showed the bid chart, stating all bonds have been sold.  5 banks submitted bids, he recommends First National Bank of Texas and Amegy; Amegy would be cheaper if pay it off 6 months early, which he doesn't expect will happen.  Mr. Carroll asked Mr. Chase, who said having it as a line item is preferable, isn't much interest, recommends First National for the 3 year term.  Dr. Terry also preferred known items in the budget, and First National Bank Texas loan.
  • Approved granting the Superintendent authority to negotiate an electricity procurement contract at 4.5 cents maximum for up to 9 years.
        Mr. Chase said current 4 year contract expires in May, with Gexa energy.  also buy from Farmers and Trinity Valley, which are not deregulated.  Annually spend $2 million on electricity.  If use a co-op, have predefined terms, but not rates.  Rates change daily, is better to allow superintendent to negotiate the rate.  3.9 - 5.1 are current quotes, depending on contract length (up to 9 years).  Currently paying 5.2, so any of these will be cheaper.  Recommends allowing negotiation not to exceed 4.5c for up to 9 years.  Mr. Regan asked if there were other fees - Chase said trans & use charge is not negotiable, actual charge is closer to 10 cents.  There could be peak demand charges.  Mr. Carroll how have done with the current 5 year plan - Mr. Chase said prices lower now than then, a 12 month contract might be lower, but if can get long contract under 4 cents, hard to imagine could go lower.
  • Approved Ratification of employment of professional contract personnel as discussed in Closed Session.
  • Adjourned at 2034
Tuesday, 2019, May 28