The Waxahachie Board of Trustees heard several informational items during their regular session Monday night, ranging from a $100,000 device-lending program, updates on the renovations on the curriculum department at Coleman Junior High and steps taken to pin down a location for the agriscience facility.
Ryan Khalden, assistant superintendent for business and finance, discussed the $100,000 Technology Lending Grant provided by the Texas Education Agency. This program provides a device and mobile hotspot for students with a low socio-economical status who may not have devices or access to the internet when away from school.
The district can purchase 190 Google Chromebooks and hotspots with the $100,000, according to Khalden, who also noted he is exploring local funds to round out the number of devices to 200.
“We are anticipating local funds kicking in about $4,000 — that would potentially be out of the technology budget, but that’s not firm at this point," he said. "We will see if technology can support that, if not we may look at a future request going forward.”
The device-lending program will operate out of the Waxahachie High School Benton and Wanda Cain Library. The district will advertise the opportunity later this month, plans to provide applications to students in October and devices can be checked out by November.
Staff within the instructional technology department, including Debbie Needham, instructional technology coordinator; Ashley Cieri, digital learning coordinator; and Jeff Robinson, the technology director, were all pertinent in writing the grant. Shelle Blaylock, Assistant Superintendent of Leadership and Academics, and Khalden advised the process and will be responsible for following up with TEA.
The instructional technology department applied for the kick-off program before spring break and received final approval in August.
FINANCIALLY SOUND — AGAIN
To start the meeting, Khalden presented the annual Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas rating and report from the TEA.
Waxahachie ISD received an “A” in the FIRST rating, meeting 15 indicator codes with 92 out of 100. This translates to a “superior” rating. This year the rating scale changed to where a 90 receives a “superior” rating, whereas, in years past, a 70 would be classified as “superior.”
“We complied with all five of the yes/no requirements, the maximum points of each of the 10 categories — this year we earned 100 out of a possible 100 points and as a district we received a ‘superior’ achievement that the state had put before us," Khalden summarized. That’s 15 years of ‘superior’ achievement."
A packet detailing the 15 indicators and the 2016-17 superintendent and school board disbursements was provided to anyone in the audience and is available the district website on the superintendent’s page.
FACILITIES AND CONSTRUCTION
Khalden also presented an update on the construction projects in the curriculum department at the Coleman Junior High campus and the high school project.
The district is currently in the closeout stage with the old high school. The heart of the renovation work at the former CTE behind Coleman is open along with High School of Choice, which was completed before the start of school.
Khalden did divert some resources out of curriculum to get the School of Choice and Challenge Academy running in time for the first day of school. This area is receiving another coat of paint and is being waxed.
The completion date for the curriculum department at Coleman was pushed back to November.
Trustee Clay Schoolfield gave an update on the location of the agriscience building. The City of Waxahachie, contractors, land planners and district administrators met and discussed optimum locations on the new high school campus to create a good and safe environment for the 500 kids in the FFA program.
“I think where we are right now with the preliminary site that we are with right now minimizes any costs,” Autrey said. He added that the board hopes to present a more conceptual design of the entire site that includes a plan for the agriscience at the next board meeting.
The regular meeting closed at 7:43 p.m. and entered closed session. The board later reconvened at 9:03 p.m. and passed the personnel report that included employment, retirements, resignations, position changes and naming of campus principals and assistant principals.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450