April 18, 2014
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Updated Strategic Plan, First Reading of Budget and Graduation Requirements for 2014-15 Approved by TISD Board of Trustees
Texarkana, TX – As part of their year-long strategic planning process, Texarkana Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a new district mission statement, beliefs, parameters and strategic objectives & strategies during their Tuesday, April 15, 2014 regular session.
Working with Cambridge Strategic Services, TISD began meeting with an primary committee members in November. From there, an estimated 150 volunteers and staff formed action teams who met monthly or bi-monthly since January to develop TISD’s short-term and long-term goals for the next five years.
I can’t say enough good things about the unbelievable amount of time, consideration and thought our volunteers and staff put into the development of this strategic plan,” shared Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. “From challenges to aspirations to limitations, these wonderful committee members looked and learned about everything within our district in order to develop a framework which will transform TISD for the future.”
The new mission statement for TISD is to be an innovative learning community, strengthened by its diversity, which provides a superior education in a caring environment that inspires, challenges and engages each student through a wide range of opportunities. From there, the strategic plan consists of three parameters, ten belief statements, four strategic objectives and seven strategies. The action plan, presented by Norton, focuses on the seven strategies and the respective actions needed to accomplish those during the next several years.
“During the next few months, our TISD Administrative Team will review the action plan and determine which efforts they will move forward with for 2014-15 as well as those that will be accomplished in years two through five,” continued Norton. “These steps are vital for the long-term success of TISD and the students we serve. They are challenging but with a systematic approach, I have no doubt that we will deliver on our new mission.”
In other business, the Board of Trustees reviewed the First Reading of the 2014-2015 budget presented by Chief Financial Officer Deidra Reeves.
“Tonight’s reading is the first of three that we will have between now and our final vote in June,” commented Reeves. “I feel firm that the state template of revenues will remain as shown this evening but do anticipate changes in local revenue based upon appraised values that will be received by Bowie County Appraisal District.” Estimated values will be released at the end of April with certified values being released in July.
“Expenditures will also change, to some degree, based upon work that has been done with our campus principals/departments and the prioritization of their anticipated needs,” continued Reeves. “We anticipate those final numbers to be presented during our second reading.”
First Reading projections feature a $111,520 surplus on a $59 million budget with expenditures at $58.8 million. TISD’s total tax rate, which has been the same since 2008, is represented by $1.17 for Maintenance & Operations (M&O) and $.169 for Interest & Sinking Funds (I&S) which is used to repay bonded indebtedness and other debts.
An additional action item approved by the TISD Board of Trustees was the amendment to Policy EIF (Local) on academic achievement for graduation.
With the passage of HB 5 during the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, a new graduation program, the Foundation High School Program, will be in effect beginning 2014-15, replacing the current Minimum, Recommended and Distinguished Achievement High School Programs. The Foundation Program expands the availability of career and technology courses and encourages students to select a personal pathway of study called an endorsement.
The State Foundation Program requires a minimum of 22 credits; however, TISD recommends that an additional 4 credits be required to maintain the district’s current requirement of 26 credits for graduation. The four additional credits may be used in obtaining an endorsement.
According to Lori Ables, Director of Secondary Curriculum /Instruction & Academic Services, “All students entering the 9th grade in 2014 will be required to select an endorsement pathway. Students may choose their pathway based on career interests and post-secondary goals. I would encourage a student and parent to look at what courses the student is interested in taking and then see what endorsement area that leads to.”
Endorsement areas include: Arts & Humanities; Business & Industry; Multidisciplinary Studies; Public Services; Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM). Every Texas school district is required to offer at least one option under one endorsement area. “TISD has prepared extremely well for this new change in the graduation program, and we are able to offer seventeen options under all five endorsement areas,” stated Ables.