September 22, 2016
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Continued Steps Toward Becoming a District of Innovation, Property Acquisition, Class Size Waivers and Program Renaming Topics for TISD Board of Trustees September Session
Texarkana, TX – Texarkana Independent School District Board of Trustees continued their process of designating TISD as a “District of Innovation” during their September 20, 2016 regular session. Trustees also approved acquisition of property, maximum class size waiver and the renaming of the Bowie-Cass Adult Education Cooperative.
As part of the steps to designating a school district as a “District of Innovation,” TISD Board of Trustees approved the Resolution to begin the process during the August 2016 regular session. Steps approved during this evening’s regular session were the holding of a Public Hearing and the committee appointment to develop a local innovation plan.
The District of Innovation concept was passed by the 84th Legislative Session in HB 1842 in 2015 and gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. School districts in Texas may now seek designation to allow the district to access exemption from certain requirements of state law. Innovation plans are more about local school district control. To date only 31 districts in Texas are going through the process. TISD is expected to submit their local plan and present to the Education Commission by mid-October.
In other business, Trustees approved the acquisition of donated property at 926 Bowie Street pending an environmental study. The property, which is on the southwest side of Tiger Stadium, is being donated by B.W. LeFan. If the environmental study proves no issues exist, the property will be accepted and used as a storage area for athletics and the stadium.
Also approved was the maximum class size exception waiver for Highland Park Elementary, Morriss Elementary and Nash Elementary.
At the beginning of the school year, each school district in Texas is required to review its class size enrollment to determine whether its class size for grades kindergarten through fourth meets the requirements of Texas Education Code 25.112. If the survey indicates any class exceeding a 22:1 student to teacher ratio, the district must submit a class size waiver and compliance plan.
“The class size waivers for our three schools are a direct result of increased enrollment throughout the district,” said Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. “As a district, we try to keep with a general rule of no more than 24:1 student to teacher ratio and in some cases will add in a classroom aide to assist those teachers with larger classes.”
In final business, Trustees approved the changing of the name of Bowie-County Adult Education Cooperative to Texarkana ISD Adult Education & Literacy.
The Bowie-Cass Adult Education Cooperative has over a forty-year history of helping adults receive basic and workplace skills through preparation for the General Education Diploma (GED) and entry skills for college. The program has now been moved under the Texas Workforce Commission instead of the Texas Education Agency. Texarkana ISD has served and will continue to serve as the fiscal agent for the funding grant.