PRESS RELEASE


May 19, 2020

Tina Veal-Gooch
Director of Public Relations
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

TISD Board of Trustees Announce Elodia Witterstaetter as Principal of Westlawn Elementary School; Approve Various Waivers, MOU with Head Start, Participation in Health Benefits Program and Hear Second Reading for 2020-21 Budget

Texarkana, TX – For the May 19, 2020 regular meeting of the TISD Board of Trustees, the following items were considered/approved.

*Approval of Naming Elodia Witterstaetter as Westlawn Elementary School Principal. Following the recent resignation of Taryn Givan as Westlawn Elementary School Principal, Elodia Witterstaetter is tapped to move into this key leadership position for TISD.

Witterstaetter began her career in education at Texas Middle School (TMS) as a Clerical Aide in 2003. She advanced to the position of Administrative Assistant for TMS by 2007. Witterstaetter was a member of the first cohort accepted into the TISD Pathway to Teaching Program that helps fund tuition for para-professionals employed by the district to become certified teachers.

In August 2010, she moved into the position of Math Teacher at TMS and in 2014 was chosen to serve as Assistant Principal for Nash Elementary.

Witterstaetter holds a Bachelor of General Studies with a Concentration in Mathematics along with a Master of Education in Educational Administration and Principal Certification in Grades EC-12 from Texas A&M University – Texarkana.

She was named Texas Middle School REACH Teacher of the Year and was selected as the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) Region VIII Assistant Principal of the Year. Witterstaetter is a 2019 Leadership Texarkana graduate, Active Member for the Junior League of Texarkana and holds membership in the Northeast Texas Alliance of Black School Educators and TEPSA.

She is married to Randy Witterstaetter and they have three children - Randall (15), Ryan (14) and Riley (9). They are members of First Baptist Church of Wake Village.

*Consideration/Approval of Proposals for:
Charter Buses for Fall 2020 Travel for Athletics & Band awarded to Champion Coaches for $45,895 and Chuck’s Travel for $25,600;
Full Services Fresh Pizza Delivery for Child Nutrition – Denied;
Vehicles for Transportation Services awarded to Coleman Motors for $44,661.75 and Todd Shores’ McLarty Ford for $65,140;
Yearbook Publisher for Texas High School awarded to Herff Jones;

*Approval of Waiver for Low Attendance Days. Texas Education Agency (TEA) allows school districts to apply for a waiver for low attendance days due to health, weather or safety. When approved, these days will not be counted in the ADA calculation for the district. Various schools experienced low attendance due to flu, bad weather and safety (COVID-19);

*Approval of Waiver for CPR Instruction Requirement. Due to COVID-19 and the closure of schools, TEA allows the district to apply for a waiver for the CPR instruction requirement for graduation. When approved, CPR instruction will not be a requirement for graduation for 2019-20 seniors; Approval of Waiver for Missed School Days. Due to COVID-19 and the closure of schools, TEA allows the district to apply for a missed school days waiver due to safety-related issues. When approved, these days will not have to be made up;

*Approval of Instructional Materials Inventory Requirements. Due to COVID-19 and the closure of schools, TEA allows the district to apply for a waiver from the requirements of the Instructional Materials Inventory process. When approved, a physical inventory of all currently adopted instructional materials will not be required for the 2019-20 school year;

*Approval of State Expedited Waivers. TEA requires that expedited waivers be approved locally and submitted in three-year intervals. Waivers being submitted for the 2020-21 through 2022-23 school years are: Modified Schedule State Assessment Testing Days Waiver, Timeline for Accelerated Instruction Waiver, Teacher Data Portal of the Texas Assessment Management System Waiver and Foreign Exchange Student Waiver;

*Approval of Full Day Pre-Kindergarten Waiver. TEA requires the waiver for Full Day Pre-Kindergarten be approved locally and submitted. Waiver being submitted for the 2019-20 through 2021-22 school years;

*Approval of Budget Amendments for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year. As part of standard reporting during the fiscal year administration, amendments to the originally adopted budget were presented by Fund and Function for the General Fund, Food Service Fund and Debt Service Fund;

*Approval of Memorandum of Understanding between Community Services of Northeast Texas, Inc. Head Start Program and TISD for 2020-21 school year. MOU oversees provision of Head Start comprehensive services at Dunbar Early Education Center to children who are co-enrolled in TISD for at least 1,020 annual hours of planned class operations over the course of at least eight (8) months;

*Approval of Nutrition Contracts between Community Services of Northeast Texas, Inc. Head Start Program and TISD for 2020-21. Contract oversees provision of breakfast and lunch to children participating in the Head Start Program at Dunbar Early Education Center;

*Approval of Participation in the Texas School Health Benefits Program for Alternative Group Health Medical Coverage. As a District of Innovation, TISD is given the opportunity to increase local control of the group health benefits plan to allow the District to be responsive to employee needs. Financial Benefit Services is offering an alternative medial plan called the Texas School Health Benefits Program. It is a regional rated, fully funded, guaranteed cost program for Texas school districts. They will offer a High Deductible Health Plan and a Co-Pay Plan. They also are providing a two-year rate guarantee for premiums to employees. The benefits and premiums are comparable to TRSActiveCare, with benefits being richer in some areas and less in others. The employee premiums are also comparable with some of the premiums being lower and some of the premiums being higher, depending on which plan is chosen and if for employee only or for additional family members;

*Approval of Second Reading of Budget for 2020-21 school year. Projections feature a $496,473 deficit on a $76.2 million budget with expenditures at $76.7 million. Changes are anticipated as the budget process continues. The Third Reading and Final Approval of the budget will be during the June 30, 2020 Board of Trustees meeting.

With the implementation of HB 3, TISD’s total tax rate for 2020-21 will decrease to $1.05 for Maintenance & Operations (M&O) and $.255 for Interest & Sinking Funds (I&S) which is used to repay bonded indebtedness and other debts.

The next meeting for the TISD Board of Trustees will be Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

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