ITALY - The Italy ISD board of trustees adopted its 2007-2008 tax rate during its monthly meeting Aug. 20.

The maintenance and operating tax rate was set at $1.04005 and the interest and sinking tax rate was set at $.07100, for a combined tax rate of $1.11105.

The general operating budget was approved at $5,688,847 in expected revenue and $5,685,028 in expenditures. The tax rate does not exceed the effective tax rate, officials said.

Attending his first board meeting, Jimmie Malone thanked board members for their confidence in naming him interim superintendent. He said he has visited with the two principals one-on-one and various other school officials.

“You’ve got a great staff returning,” Malone said. “I look forward to working with everyone.”

He said the district has employed a retired certified speech therapist who will work at the school two full days a week. Although not full time, he indicated that a part time therapist would fill the district’s need.

High school principal Scott Herald presented the board with a student code of conduct that he said includes updates from the Texas Association of School Board that give districts “more teeth.” Herald also passed out a library policy added to this year’s student handbook.

Junior high and high school registration went well this year, he said, noting it was held in the evening rather than during the day.

Business manager Laurice Marshall reported that 107.6 percent of the 2006-2007 revenue has been collected and 85.86 percent of the budget has been expended. End of the year reports will be available at next month’s board meeting, she said.

Jeanette Janek presented the Stafford Elementary Texas Primary Reading Inventory report.

“The state of Texas requires that all students in kindergarten, first and second grades be given the Texas Primary Reading Inventory three times per school year,” Janek said. “This is the ninth year the state has required the TPRI be given.

“The TPRI is designed not only for assessing students’ literacy development, but also to provide teachers with instructional interventions when necessary,” she said. “Once each student’s needs have been identified, the intervention activities guide gives the teacher effective instructional activities appropriate for each student based on individual student needs. Using the results from the TPRI, at-risk students have the Title I and ARI programs to help meet their needs in targeted areas.”

English as Second Language director Cheryl Allen presented her annual update on the program.

In other business, the board approved the renewal of a legal service agreement retainer with Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Schultze and Aldridge. Malone said this was one of the legal firms in the state that handles law relating to special education, which will now be held in the district. The board also renewed a legal service agreement retainer with Schwartz and Eichelbaum, which Malone said is one of the top firms for general law relating to school districts.

The board approved 4-H activities for extracurricular status and an adjunct facility agreement with County Extension agents Mark Arnold, Page Bishop and Rita Hodges. The board also agreed to raise the adult school lunch from $2.50 to $2.75. Malone outlined guidelines for beginning a superintendent search, with the board deciding to meet with two search firms in the next several weeks.

No action was taken after the board reconvened from an executive session. The next scheduled meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18.