August 28, 2017 Board Meeting Summary

FFA Students Earn Lone Star Degrees

Allen High School senior Nicholas Ehlers won FFA state recognition for his Star Chapter supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program at the recent state convention held in Corpus Christi 

Eight other FFA students also received their Lone Star Degree, the highest state degree, from the organization. They are: Briston Garner, Kaitlyn Martin, Chelsea Dahlgren, Koby Lindsey, Savanna Walker, Morgan Koiner and Morgan Applewhite.

Those receiving the Lone Star Degree must have been an active FFA member for at least two years, completed at least four semesters of agricultural science at or above the ninth-grade level, maintained a SAE program, invested significant time and money in their SAE, demonstrated leadership skills and proved a commitment to the FFA through involvement at the chapter level and above.

TMEA Honors Ereckson Middle School Symphony Orchestra

The Ereckson Middle School Symphony Orchestra won the Texas Music Educators Association MS Honor Full Orchestra Competition for 2017-2018. This is the first time that a TMEA honor band or honor orchestra has come from Allen ISD.

Directors for this ensemble include: Joanna DeVoto, DJ Vaccarezza, Hannah Hong, Chuck Pennington, and Matt McGann. As TMEA Middle School Honor Full Orchestra, the group will perform a concert for the membership of the TMEA at their annual convention in San Antonio in February. The Ereckson Middle School Symphony Orchestra (full orchestra) combines strings from the orchestra and winds and percussion from the band.  This group has placed in the finals of TMEA competition the last two years.

Orchestras entering this competition must submit a recording of a live, unedited concert to TMEA.  A judging panel listens to all of the submissions and selects the top 6-8 groups. A second panel of judges listens to the finalist’s recordings and ranks them again naming a winner.

TASB Media Honor Roll

Allen American reporter, Garrett Cook, has been named to the 2017 Media Honor Roll by the Texas Association of School Boards. More than 400 media representatives from Texas newspapers, radio and television stations, and online publications were honored by TASB.

These reporters are appreciated for their fair and accurate approach to sharing both the challenge facing our schools and the successes achieved by local teachers and students.  Their work aids local communities in focusing on the goal of providing the best public schools we can for every child

Construction Update

Assistant Superintendent for Operations Daniel Pitcock and Executive Director of Facilities Brandon Boyter presented a construction update with photos on numerous projects planned and underway across Allen ISD. 

The Bolin Elementary renovation and the new Jenny Preston Elementary were both completed and opened on August 17 for Meet the Teacher Night.

The high school competition gymnasium and the auxiliary gymnasium renovations have been completed, and work on the student commons outside the gymnasium entrance is expected to be completed soon. The JROTC classroom space between the main and new auxiliary gymnasiums is complete and the new multipurpose practice and performance space in the Fine Arts wing is also completed. The AHS cafeteria was also renovated and has new ceiling panels, lighting and floor tile to increase light and lower maintenance costs.

Also this summer, technology refresh projects were completed at Ereckson Middle School, Olson Elementary School and Cheatham Elementary School

The new Lowery Freshman Center remains under construction and is on schedule for an August 2018 opening. The STEAM Center construction has been underway since this summer and is still on schedule for a late winter 2018 opening.

Legislative Update

Chief Governmental Relations Officer Dr. Maroba Zoeller reported on the Texas Legislature’s 30-day special session which adjourned Aug. 15. Education related bills in the 85th Legislative Session include House Bill 21, which will provide an additional $351 million for public education, but with little of that expected to support urban or suburban school districts. $150 million will help rural school districts that will lose Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction, and $120 million is designated for charter schools and school districts to share on new construction projects.

Before adjournment, the House established a State Education Study Commission to support a two-year study to create a plan for a long-term redesign of the state’s school funding system. The 15-person commission will include legislators, teachers and school board members, and will be appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and House Speaker. The Commission is expected to prepare a report with specific changes by the end of 2018 for the next Legislature to review and act upon in 2019.

Board Approves Tax Roll Resolution and Sets Tax Rate

The Board approved the Tax Roll Resolution adopting the appraisal roll totaling $12,603,731,141 with the amount of tax levy due totaling $193,767,144.  The Appraisal Roll is prepared by the Collin Central Appraisal District (CCAD) and presented to the district by July 25th. The CCAD also provides the appraisal roll to the Collin County Tax Assessor/Collector. The County Tax Assessor/Collector applies the tax rate to the appraised values, creating the tax roll. 

The Board also officially set the 2017 Tax Rate of $1.57 designated as follows: $1.14 for Maintenance and Operations and $0.43 for Debt Service; which is effectively a 6.7 percent increase in the tax rate.  The rate was lowered from $1.59 in 2016-2017 to $1.57 in 2017-2018.

Board Approves School Bus Purchase

The School Board approved the request of the administration to purchase twelve 84-passenger transit busses for $1,520,004 and two 54-passenger special needs busses with lifts for $212,902, all from Long Horn Bus Sales. This request is the final of the five-year planned purchases by the Operations Department to add new buses to aid increased student ridership, to replace older busses and support programming. Prior to the 2015 bond election, the Board approved the removal of $3.2 million for a bus purchase plan from the bond and assigned these purchases to utilize existing fund balance. To date, $1,420,870 of those funds have been utilized for purchases in 2015 and 2016.

Administrative staff recommended using the remaining assigned funds for new buses within the General Fund Balance to cover the cost. The Board also approved a budget amendment to add this amount to the 2017-2018 transportation budget.

Board Approves District Microsoft License Agreement

The School Board approved the purchase of the Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) volume licensing agreement with SHI Governmental Solutions for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The district is on an annual subscription with Microsoft to license their software, operating systems, databases, and applications for operational and instructional use by staff and students district-wide. Microsoft utilizes SHI Government Solutions to administer and resale this (EES) volume license agreement via the Texas DIR state contract DIR-SDD-2503. Total expenditure for the upcoming 2017-18 fiscal year is $172,537.74 and is included in the 2017-18 Technology budget within the General Fund.

Next Board Meeting

The next regular meeting of the Allen ISD Board of Trustees will be held Sept. 25, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Allen City Hall.