The Carroll School Board heard a presentation by Robb Welch, Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services, on the district’s most recent financial rating at the October 22 meeting.
The financial accountability rating is based on 2010-2011 data including indicators related to CISD’s fund balance, tax collections, debt ratios, administrative cost ratios, staffing ratios, investment earnings, cash flow and more.
The district has consistently earned the highest rating of Superior Achievement since the state of Texas implemented the financial accountability system.
In other business, Trustees postponed action on declaring district-owned property at 3051 Dove Road, Grapevine, TX 76051, as surplus. The Board is expected to put the property up for sale after the Administration Center moves to the newly renovated, old Carroll Middle School building. The work on the new Administration Center is slated for completion in December. Trustees will consider this agenda item at a later date.
The School Board asked for Administrative clarifications on a significant number of policy changes as part of a comprehensive 2012 Policy Audit that began last spring. Dr. Derek Citty, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, will work with the Texas Association of School Boards Policy Division to answers questions posed by the Trustees.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, including Sept. 24, 2012 Meeting Minutes, an Emergency Evacuation Agreement between Gateway Church and Carroll Middle School, a utility easement request related to CISD’s fiber optic network, and three donations: $7,673.27 by the Dawson Middle School PTO for items on the Departmental Wish List; $42,833.56 by the Carroll Athletic Booster Club for athletic programs, travel and training; and $87,735.72 from the Carroll Education Foundation to fund innovative teacher grants during the 2012-2013 school year.
Representative Vicki Truitt (R-Keller) is organizing a town hall meeting in Carroll ISD to engage with local residents, educators, parents and students to discuss challenges with the public school finance system. The meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 14 in the cafeteria of Carroll High School, 800 White Chapel Boulevard in Southlake.
This spring, Legislative leaders from around the state were appointed to a special committee that will study the state’s school finance system and recommend changes to the 2013 Texas Legislature. Representative Truitt, a seven-term legislator from Tarrant County representing the people of Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, Westlake and parts of Trophy Club and Fort Worth, was selected to serve on the committee.
The creation of the Joint Interim Committee to Study the Public School Finance System was authorized by lawmakers during a Special Session of the Texas Legislature last summer. If you are unable to attend the Town Hall, presentation material will be available at http://www.vickitruitt.com.
“I’ll be able to play a key role as the state seeks a better way to fund public education and devises a better formula through which state funding is disbursed for public education,” said Representative Truitt. “The purpose of this town hall meeting is to understand my consituents’ concerns and ensure that the voices and opinions of the people from the 98th District will be heard in Austin.”
Carroll school officials are urging parents, employees and students to attend this Town Hall meeting so their opinions about public school funding can be heard. CISD is just one of hundreds of public school districts who have joined lawsuits against the state of Texas for what many have described as a failed school finance system. Carroll ISD lost $8 million in state funding over a two-year period and has had to cut positions, institute fees and look for alternative ways to help fund daily operations.
Representative Truitt was instrumental in the last Legislative session in helping get a bill passed that allowed school districts who do not receive transportation funding from the state to charge fees to keep that service in place. Just last month CISD Trustees reluctantly instituted a $250 bus rider fee for all riders except those special education students who receive free transportation.
The Board did add a $500 family cap to help lessen the burden on Dragon families, but they say the fee is an alternative to having to cut transportation altogether. The district spends $2.1 million transporting students to and from school and to field trips and extracurricular competitions. Officials say the $250 per rider fee won’t cover the costs, but will help offset expenses so that the effect on the classroom can be avoided.
To learn more about Carroll ISD’s budget, visit the district’s school finance website at www.carrollbudget.com.
Carroll School Board members voted unanimously January 9 to join 80 other public school districts in supporting a lawsuit brought against the state of Texas by members of the Texas School Coalition. Represented by the law firm of Haynes & Boone, the districts plan to sue the state for failing to adequately fund public education while accountability standards and expectations have increased and because the current system relies on a state property tax formula that prevents local districts from having the control to generate money for enrichment.
The lawsuit is one of four different school finance cases in Texas, but Trustees say they feel it most closely supports Carroll ISD’s interests in the finance matter. Most of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Chapter 41 or Robin Hood districts. Carroll joins Plano, Frisco, Grapevine-Colleyville, Northwest, Highland Park and Richardson ISD locally. The district’s cost for the suit will be $1 per Weighted Average Daily Attendance per year (less than $8,000).
The Texas Constitution requires that the state provide efficient and adequate funding for public schools. It also says that school districts must have the ability to choose how they spend the money they bring in from property taxes. Legal experts anticipate the case making it all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. Some believe the four lawsuits will eventually be consolidated into one case against the state, according to attorney John Turner of Haynes & Boone.