WISD board to mull budget priorities

Trustees will hold May 3 workshop at superintendent’s request to look at options

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
The Waxahachie Independent School District Administration Building at 411 North Gibson Street.

The Waxahachie Independent School District board of trustees considered for the first time budgeting priorities for the 2021-2022 school year with an eye on budgets farther into the future during its regular monthly meeting on Monday night.

Superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain said the school district has a large number of worthy areas, but budget realities will force the board to prioritize items. For example, a desire for smaller class sizes takes money from something else, Cain said.

Cain presented a list of budget items for the board to prioritize and asked the board to give feedback.

“There is not one thing on this list that doesn’t have merit,” Cain said. “I would love to fund everything … but I suspect we’re going to have to make some hard choices.”

Board president Dusty Autrey suggested a board workshop on Monday, May 3 to discuss the setting of board budget priorities, and Cain agreed to that date.

Trustee Debbie Timmermann recommended taking a look at the Texas Association of School Boards salary report to get an idea of projected salary expenses. Trustee Melissa Starnater also proposed getting input from principals and staff, and Cain agreed to get that done after the school year ends for students while teachers are still in service.

Cain said it may take multiple meetings to prioritize all the items.

“We have a large budget, but everything is so expensive,” Cain said. “We want to lay out our budget with the board’s priorities. This would be a good time to do that moving into this big growth area.”

All board members were present.

Other items

• A number of public speakers addressed the board. One speaker asked the district to remove the mask mandate; another speaker urged the establishment of a diversity program in WISD; another speaker urged the district to keep Global High School as it is; and a fourth speaker spoke in support of the bond.

• The board approved the stipend schedule for the 2021-2022 school year and professional contracts.

• Members of the Waxahachie High School boys’ basketball team were recognized for their achievements, including a 22-3 record, the District 11-6A championship, the No. 1 ranking in Class 6A for much of the season and a berth in the region finals. Also recognized were WHS head girls’ soccer coach Jason Venable for his 500th career victory and WHS head boys’ soccer coach Seth Riley for his 100th career win.

• Athletic director Greg Reed announced that the Indians have been named as one of the top 100 football teams of all time by the University Interscholastic League as part of the UIL’s 100th anniversary celebration.

• Marvin Elementary teacher Lynsey Green, Little Chiefs Academy aide Robin Parton and departing WISD police officer Eric Kyle were recognized.

• Board president Autrey gave a report on continuing education of board members.

• District chief financial officer Ryan Kahlden and assistant superintendent of secondary learning Dr. David Averett reported on a principal residency grant that has been awarded by the Texas Education Agency. Kahlden said the grant will help the district fund up to three future leaders who will be needed in the future as the district grows. Averett said 13 teachers expressed interest in the program and three finalists have been named.

• The projected staff schedule for late May after students go home for the summer was presented. Averett said there is no plan to limit attendance at Lumpkins Stadium for graduation for both WHS and Global High, and masks will be encouraged but not required.

• The consent agenda was approved consisting of approval of previous minutes, acceptance of reports, a proposed board meeting schedule, a third extension of a depository contract with First Financial Bank, two resolutions to purchase two separate parcels with a combined 1.914 acres of real property on Solon Road, approval of a prekindergarten system from Benchmark Education for an 8-year adoption in the amount of $123,000, and a $1,000 annual retainer for legal services with Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Kyle & Robinson, P.C.

• Three items were pulled from the consent agenda and approved separately after Kahlden gave a presentation on each. They were purchase orders for classroom furniture at Northside and Dunaway Elementaries not to exceed just over $215,000; for replacement of flooring at Shackelford Elementary and asbestos abatement at Northside Elementary not to exceed just over $415,000; and replacement of roofing systems at the support services hangar and the old Credit Union/fieldhouse building not to exceed $87,125.