RED OAK — The first session of the new school year for the Red Oak ISD Board of Trustees was more informative than most. Board members did, however, address several TASB recommendations, updated hazardous bus routes and prohibited students from carrying skateboards or long boards to school.

During the meeting held Monday, Aug. 28 in the ROISD Board Room, Red Oak ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Goddard also informed the board that the district began week two of classes with 5,736 enrolled students. He also noted the 7th-grade class is the largest with 479 students, though the freshman class is currently two students behind (477).

The first-year superintendent also had the honor of recognizing Rob Myers, first-year director of the Red Oak High School Fine Arts Department, for the program receiving “Best Community for Music Education” by the National Association for Music Merchants. Goddard explained that only four percent of schools in the nation receive the recognition. The award encompasses all things music, which helps to fulfill the ROISD graduate profile for a well-rounded student, he noted.

A pair of presentations by Kevin Freels, ROISD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, resulted in two agenda items being passed unanimously.

The first vote came after Freels introduced updates to the student code of conduct for the 2017-18 school year. Though most changes were new requirements issued by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the board did agree to one local addition: prohibiting students from carrying or possessing skateboards, long boards or hover board on any campus or district vehicle.

Freels explained the boards were becoming problematic, especially on school buses, and could lead to injury.

The handbook can be found on the district’s website or parents can request a paper copy.

Freels then presented information and a recommendation to the board related to the ROISD hazardous bus route lists. Those routes included on the list are inside of the two-mile radius of a campus that would otherwise require students or parents to find transportation to school. These routes have been deemed as hazardous or unsafe for students to walk by the board.

“With these additional [streets] are we going to have to add another bus route,” Red Oak Trustee Dr. Mark Stanfill asked.

“Right now, because of their location, no,” Feels affirmed. “[…] Next year, we may have to add new routes or lengthen routes. It’s inevitable.”

Goddard noted “you can only lengthen a route so long” and that the district would begin to look at additional buses after the number of students utilizing bus transportation starts to settle.

Freels also noted he would present numbers on potentially adding to the ROISD bus fleet during the September or October meeting. He also stated the high school bus route was completed at 5:10 p.m. Monday.

The new streets included on the hazardous list are on bus route No. 8, have students attending Red Oak elementary schools or ROHS, and are located in the Hickory Creek, Coyote Ridge and Woods of Red Oak subdivisions.

UPDATE FROM AUSTIN

Goddard updated the board on the latest news from the Texas State Capitol, more specifically House Bills 21 and 22. He began by stating, “I’m going to try and be as positive as I can.”

“We get no help,” he added, as he explained Red Oak ISD would likely not benefit from any of the additional money set-aside during the 85th Texas Legislature. Goddard also stated as property values rise across Texas, the state funding to those districts decreases.

Remaining on the topic of funding, Goddard agreed that the $212 million added to the teacher retirement program “saved the system,” but, due to high premiums, it “is still broken.”

“Most districts will not see additional state funding,” Goddard added.

House Bill 22 relates to public school accountability, such as the A-F accountability system.

Goddard reminded the district’s principals who were present that they are preparing students to graduate with more than a high GPA. Instead, educators should mold students in line with the ROISD “four talons,” as well as with the ability to “fail forward” and be prepared for life after graduation. He added they will accept the accountability grade given but thinks the district is in a good position to excel.

In other business, the trustees unanimously approved:

All four items under the consent agenda An annual agreement with Texas Political Subdivisions for liability and auto insurance coverage for the 2017-18 year at the cost of $78,704 Updates to the TASB (LOCAL) policies The T-TESS appraiser list for the 2017-18 school year for each campus *Disclosure: Red Oak ISD and its board of trustees presented Travis Smith, of the Waxahachie Daily Light, and Melanie Petersen, of the Red Oak Record, with the TASB Media Honor Roll award during Monday’s meeting.