August 18, 2020

Todd Marshall
Director of Communications,
Marketing and Development
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

MOU's, Policy Amendments, Waivers, Adoption of Tax Rate...Topics for August Regular Session

Texarkana, TX – During their August 18, 2020 regular session, Texarkana Independent School District Board of Trustees reviewed and/or approved the following:

*Approved Cooperative Purchasing Fees. Section 44.0331 of the Texas Education Code requires the annual reporting of any contract related fee or management fee related to purchases made through any cooperative purchasing agreement. Trustees reviewed and approved the report for the period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020;

*Approved T-TESS Appraiser List for 2020-21. TISD chooses to use the Texas Education Agency’s Commissioner’s recommended teacher appraisal system, the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), which was developed in accordance with Texas Education Code 21.351. In doing so, TISD annually adopts a list of approved appraisers within the district who are certified through a uniform appraiser training prior to conducting teacher appraisals. A listing of 59 trained appraisers were reviewed and approved;

*Approved Memorandum of Understanding between TISD and Texarkana College for College Prep Mathematics and English Courses. As part of HB5, Texarkana College offers courses in Mathematics and English for high school students who are unsuccessful on the TSI, ACT or SAT exam. Students who are successful in these courses will fulfill the requirements for entrance exam requirements in place of the TSI, ACT or SAT exams which will eliminate them from taking remedial courses during their freshman year of college;

*Approved Memorandum of Understanding between TISD and Texas A&M University – Texarkana for a Learning Centered Partnership. This MOU with TAMU-T’s Educator Preparation Program will provide clinical teachers with professional instructional coaching to supervise the work and activities of clinical teachers and engage in co-teaching models throughout the clinic teaching placement period;

*Approved Amendment to EIC (Local) Policy. Approval of policy will allow for the exclusion of the 2019-20 spring semester grades when calculating final class rank for students in the graduating classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023;

*Approval of Resolution of the Board Regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Extension of Leave during Precautionary Exclusion. Employees are eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) if required to self-quarantine by a federal, state or local order; when advised by a healthcare provider; or when experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnoses. While a district telling an employee to stay away from the worksite is not considered a local order, the District is proposing to allow the EPSL to be used in the instance of an employee being instructed by the district to quarantine. Employees will also be eligible to use accrued leave.

EPSL is limited to a total of two weeks (10 days) between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. An employee subject to multiple incidents requiring self-quarantine is limited to 10 days for the first exposure. After the first quarantine, the employee would be required to access accrued leave or be placed on unpaid leave;

*Approval of Resolution of the Board Regarding Delegation to Acting Superintendent for Waivers. Resolution gives the Acting Superintendent the authority to pursue any necessary and available waivers from TEA without further action of the Board. In the event other waivers are needed, the Acting Superintendent is also authorized to submit other waiver requests in accordance with guidance from national, state or local authorities or agencies;

*Approval of Remote Homebound Instruction. Due to the uncertainty related to the COVID-19 virus, the District requests to waive the requirement that a homebound teacher serve a student in person at the home or hospital bedside. This waiver would allow homebound instruction to be delivered remotely when a specific need arises that the student cannot be served in person;

*Approval of the Dual Credit/Articulation Agreement between Texarkana College and TISD’s eSchool Prep Online School. The MOU will provide eligible high school students of TISD’s eSchool Prep Online School the opportunity to enroll in and complete authorized dual credit college courses at approved sites, which enable successful students the opportunity to earn both high school and college credit;

*Approved Adoption of Tax Rate for 2020-2021 and Certified Values. TISD’s tax rate for 2020-21 will be reduced from $1.3233 to $1.3097 as per the second round of Texas House Bill 3. The new rate will be represented by $1.0547 for Maintenance & Operations (M&O) and $0.255 for Interest & Sinking Funds (I&S) which is used to repay bonded indebtedness and other debts. Certified appraised values via Bowie Central Appraisal District were at $2,183,724,946;

*Approval of Resolution Relating to Emergency Modifications to Policies, Closure of District Schools, Hiring and Contract Renewal Authority and the Expenditure of Public Funds during the Governor-Declared State of Disaster to Mitigate Affects of COVID-19. Through the approval of this resolution, TISD requests that the Board of Trustees delegate any and all authority to the Acting Superintendent during the period of declared global pandemic and statewide disaster in order to make decisions that will be in the best interests of the district and its students, parents and employees;

*Approval of Endorsement for TASB Board of Directors – Region VIII. Following the receipt of information on three nominees seeking endorsement to be nominated for a position on the TASB Board of Directions, the TISD Board of Trustees approved the nomination of Thomas Darden from Cooper ISD;

*Reviewed Student Handbook for 2020-21. The handbook has been revised for the 2020-21 school year following the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) model handbook recommendations. Major updates were:

Student Education Technology and Acceptable Use Practices. TISD complies with Federal regulations regarding Internet filtering in order to limit user access to inappropriate content. Proper behavior, as it relates to the use of computers is no different than proper behavior in all other aspects of TISD activities. The Acceptable Use Policy clarifies student expectations as they apply to computer and network usage and is consistent with District policy as well as guidelines at the local, state and national levels. Any user who does not comply with policies and procedures may face appropriate disciplinary actions. Users should not have any expectation of privacy when using District technology resources.

Counseling. TISD provides a comprehensive counseling program at all of its schools in accordance with Texas Education Agency (TEA) and The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs, 5th edition. School counseling programs offer a variety of services, divided into four areas: guidance curriculum, response services, individual planning and system support.

Mental Health Support. TISD has implemented programs to address various mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse concerns. Additionally, a Crisis Intervention Team has been developed and trained in research based effective student success programs. For those students who are hospitalized or placed in residential treatment for mental health condition or substance abuse, TISD has a Response Protocol for Suicidal, Substance Abuse/Mental Health Hospitalization Re-Entry process in which families and students can work through with the District mental health liaison.

*Approval of eSchool Prep 2020-21 Student Handbook. The student handbook for TISD’s online school will be the same for TISD Code of Conduct approved for all TISD schools.

The next meeting for the TISD Board of Trustees will be Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

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