FISD announces new school mascots, approves more employees

During its regular Feb. 08, 2021 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met to recognize students and staff, accept a donation, hold TAPR hearing, pick mascots, consider adding 150 employees, action on aquatic center.

  • Held a 55-minute executive session.
  • U. S. Flag - Adesua Aigbomian, 12th Grade Student at North Forney High School
        Mr. Michael Jung, Principal of North Forney High School, said Adesua is 1st generation Nigerian-American and at top 5% of class, secretary of Black Students Assoc, member of NHS, competes in track & field, has volunteered time, pursuing biology and medical career
  • Texas Pledge - Journei Qualls, 4th Grade Student at Blackburn Elementary
        Ms. Courtney Parker, Principal of Blackburn Elementary, said Journie moved here from Louisiana and has made a big impact on her class, leads by example, she is respectful to others, comforts other students.
  • Approved a $7,870 Donation from a collaborative fundraiser, to Johnson Elementary School, from Johnson PTO
        Ms. Zastoupil presented the donation.
  • Academic All-State
        Mr. Weaver introduced all-state athletic students, who also maintain 90+ grade levels:
    • cross-country: Alia Brink
    • volleyball: Raegan Benda
    • volleyball: Macie Wells
    • football: Zach Brown (not present), Hunter Carroll
    • all-state: Cade Crawford
    • Bailey Dagley
    • Cannon Donlay
    • Layton Glasson
    • Jackson Holland
    • Adam Long
    • Erin Mount
    • Sam Robertson
    • Cedron Webb (double award)
    • NFHS Kameron Allen already at college
    • Carter Sheets

  • Took out of order two items listed after executive session:
    • Approved the employment of professional contract personnel as presented.
    • Approved contract renewal of administrators and other professional contract personnel, as presented.

  • Coach Weaver: through a marathon interview process, found a candidate who "ran with endurance." A mentor of Mr. Weaver said he is "one of the top, most creative, and most outstanding coaches in N. TX." The candidate shares Forney's priorities and values, has experience at several other schools: coach Jeff Fleener.  Coach "O" presented Mr. Fleener and family w/ Flying F neck gaiters.
  • Held a short recess.
  • Coach Weaver said new coach Fleener will be interviewed on their podcast tomorrow.
  • National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Award
        Dr. Judy Webber, Chief of Learner Services, introduced House Rep. Keith Bell, who said it was an honor to be back, especially while in session.  He said the board was outstanding, and thanked them.  He served on Public Education Committee last session, on it again this year.  Governor gives a certificate for winners of the NAMM, which includes 42 states.  Forney has won this award 6 times in a row, and prides itself on fine arts program.  There were 623 districts in the nation, 62 in TX, 25 in DFW.  He then presented the framed certificates to Mr. Luna.
  • Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) Annual Public Hearing
        Dr. Webber said this is a different report to COVID changes.  All schools were 'not rated' as declared state of disaster.  Using available data: Reading scores are higher than last year, 4-6 were better in math, 7-8 took a different test.  Some schools have almost 20% mobility, Johnson has new communities feeding it.
        National data shows a Covid Slide, youngest students had the most drop.  FISD is working to bring up the gap.  Internal data is split between in-person and virtual, see good alignment with both groups.  They will adjust plans for each student. 
        District Grades A-F paused this year, but can still get student data, so may plan for summer school.
        Violence and criminal incidents show "assault of someone other than district staff: 38" and "aggravated assault on someone other than district employee/volunteer: 2." Violence prevention and intervention policies - formed a PD, have guidance counselors, anti-bullying program, internet filters, safety drills, etc.  All campuses take part in drug awareness week. 
        The entire TAPR is available on the website.
        Mr. Carroll asked about interventions - virtual and physical? yes.
        There was no public input.
  • Celebrating a Culture of Excellence Report
        Dr. Webber showed slides of Black History Month events, hall of accomplishments, poetry contests.  Cultural diversity curriculum allows students to choose novels they might relate to.  Dual-language program.  She showed a video from a student. 
        Ms. Marshall spoke about the diversity committee goals and actions: mission statement "we are a district that celebrates diversity and inclusion, not just tolerates it." Dr. Paula Johnson presented to the group during a retreat.  They provide programs about implicit bias.  They want to have a safe, inclusive environment for students.  She detailed goals of the committee, which will have its own section of the website soon.
        Mr. Rick Geer spoke about culture - "what you know about a place without having to be told." About 5 years ago, started plans to hold true to identity and remove barriers to learning.  They found high-performing self-managing classrooms were not easy.  To change behaviors, had to form relationships and provide safety with high expectations.  Found success with common areas, but in the classroom it was difficult.  Partnering w/ Flippen Capturing Kids' Hearts does what they wanted.  100% of staff was trained 2 years ago, and it had major impact.  Some campuses may be nominated for a showcase award.
  • Skipped - College & Career Update
  • Master Planning Update
        Ms. Kim Morisak, Chief of Information, Innovative and Technology Services, introduced Jeff Fisher w/ Gallagher, who said getting Jackson/Rhodes ready to open in the fall, coming along good.  Griffin in similar state, working on storm shelter.
        Ms. Morisak showed renderings of the proposed pool facility, which should break ground in April.
  • Monthly Financial Report
        Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer, said the results for Dec. at 36%, a little low compared to prior years, mostly due to property taxes.  Expenses? 48% similar to prior years.  Food service also behind prior years, offered full free meals during part of year.  About 300k deficit now, likely to end up 200k short.  Debt service - revenues at 19%, low this year.  Expenditures at normal amount.  Mr. Carroll asked if meal delivery will continue for rest of year - Dr. Terry said will be making adjustments as more students come back, to provide safety.
  • Quarterly Investment Report
        Mr. Chase said this was end of Dec, % .1 - .65 rates are low, earned 46k, rates unlikely to change.
  • 2nd Quarter Tax Collection Report
        Mr. Chase said taxing on 5.5 billion, levy was 75.6 mil, collected on 12.  Just got Jan tax report, might be back on track for the year.  Might be due to tax law changes, or people waiting later to pay, as not delinquent until Jan. 31.
  • Public Comment - none
      Approved as one consent item:
      • Approve Budget Amendment
      • Statement of Impact Form(s) from Charter School(s) Could Have a Major Financial Impact on Forney ISD
        • Premier High School

      • the Educator Appraisal Waiver
      • Electrical Easement for Griffin Elementary
      • Wide Area Network (WAN) Service Contract

    • Approved school mascots for Jackson Middle School, Rhodes Intermediate School and Griffin elementary school
          Ms. Kristin Zastoupil, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, said responses to email surveys were Griffin Grizzlies, Rhodes Raptors, Jackson Jaguars.
    • Approved the MOU for the Aquatic Center.
          Ms. Morisak said FISD divers going to state, doing great.  Metro Aquatics will manage the center, could have water aerobics for the public.  Dr. Terry said excited about partnership, having kids swim in a Forney pool, and having zero operational costs.
    • Approved construction bids
          Ms. Morisak brought up Jeff Fisher, who detailed (bond) package 4 for Jackson/Rhodes for sidewalks, fencing, landscaping.  Bids are $1.8 million, $156k under budget. 
          New project bids for Johnson, Willett, NFHS and FHS athletics.  Elementary schools $850k under budget, athletics $75k under (included several alternates, such as bleacher covers).  Dr. Terry appreciates the board allowing flexibility on these items.
    • Approved an order calling a school board election for positions 3 and 4 for May 1, 2021
          Dr. Justin Terry, Superintendent of Schools,
    • Approved contract with Kaufman County for election services for the May 1, 2021 School Board election
          Dr. Terry said county has done a good job, recommend continuing.
    • Approved the use of an electronic voting system only for both early voting and election day voting
          Dr. Terry stated they worked with county, recommend electronic only.
    • Approved the 2021-2022 full-time equivalent (FTE) position additions
          Mr. Chase said adding 150 people to budget; in past years have been ratio based, this year have a challenge with opening new schools.  Demographers says will be over 1100 students added.  Starts are at highest level seen so far.  Estimate cost $9.2 million, 13 food service staff won't affect general budget.  If state doesn't cut funds, will get 1k / student for first year.  He feels good can cover these positions.
          Dr. Terry said will bring an update to the board, these numbers are just due to growth.  Depending on legislature, may have to return for more funds.
    • Did not hold an executive session re:
      • Employment of Professional Contract Personnel, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §551.074
      • Contract Renewal of Administrators and Other Professional Contract Personnel, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §551.074, Personnel Matters
      • Consultation with Attorney, Pursuant to Tex. Gov't Code §551.071

    • Adjourned at 2044.
Monday, 2021, February 8