January Briefing: New TAG Schools, Public School Finance, and more!

Justin Henry Public School Finance DISD.jpg

WHAT IS A BOARD BRIEFING?

At a board briefing, our Dallas ISD School Board discusses items they will need to vote on in upcoming meetings. They also hear reports from the Superintendent & the Dallas ISD Administration on ways in which the district is meeting student needs. Below is a summary of the 8-hour briefing on November 29, 2018.

WHAT DID THE BOARD DISCUSS AT THE DECEMBER BRIEFING?

#1 Public School Finance (link to document)

Admin Presentation:

The Texas Public School Finance Commission members unanimously agreed on 34 recommendations for the legislature. This unanimous agreement does not mean the legislature will necessarily approve all 34 recommendations. Their report does not have specific funds tied to each recommendations at this point in time.

Recommendations include:

  • balance between state and local share of school funding (currently the state funds about 32% of public schools and local taxpayers fund 62% of the school district’s budget)

  • investing in low-income or underperforming student groups

  • reducing the growth rate of property taxes and relying on recapture

  • encouraging data-informed practice

  • operate with outcomes-based funding

Under recommendations, the savings to the state would include:

  • eliminating Chapter 41

  • eliminating Gifted & Talented funding weights

  • eliminating high school allotment

  • eliminating guaranteed per capita available school funding for Chapter 41

New Costs to State:

  • increase funding based on poverty

  • provide transportation based on mileage

  • provide 3rd grade reading allotment

  • provide 3rd grade reading outcomes funding

  • expand career & technical allotment to grades 6-8

  • full day PreK attendance

  • children of educators eligible for PreK

  • college, career, and military readiness funding

Dallas ISD Consultant recommends that the DISD School Board take a position on which recommendations to advocate.

School Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Marshall: Need a game plan for taking action. Would like more detail for each recommendation.

  • Trustee Henry: Don’t want to wait, there’s nothing more pressing for a school board member than what happens with public school finance.

#2 Campus Partnerships

Admin Presentation:

The District may establish partnerships for schools that would result in an additional $1,800 per student, aimed at supporting the partner’s specific expertise and supports at one DISD campus. Based on a rigorous application process that is considerate of the district’s needs, partners can be non-profits, governmental entities, or institutions of higher education. If the board approves the application, the district - in partnership with the applicant - would evaluate a performance contract used to establish the terms of the partnership, including:

  • expectations for academic performance

  • short-term financial performance

  • long0term financial stability

  • operational and governance performance

Superintendent Hinojosa stated that the current policy would not include partnerships with charter schools.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Foreman: How will funds be distributed? Funding goes directly to schools and the performance contract would determine how the money would be used. Does Dallas ISD continue to supply technology, sports, field trips, etc.? Yes. Can Dallas ISD use the internal audit? Yes, we would recommend that.

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Want to ensure there is intention to make partnerships with organizations that have experience improving student outcomes. Want safeguards for including community members, educators, and families in the process early on.

  • Trustee Marshall: Would want there to be a vote on each partnership agreement for each campus - not across more than one school campus. And, can you give an example of a different in the day of an employee at a partner campus vs. a non-partner campus? Example - school calendar could look a bit different.

#3 Student Outcome Goal 4 (link to document)

Admin Presentation:

The administration presented progress towards meeting district goal 4, which states: “Student extracurricular or co-curricular participation will increase from 59% to 78% by 2021-2022.

Overall, the district is on track towards meeting this goal. Breakdown by grade level:

  • Elementary school participation is at 79.2%; its goal is to reach 82% by 2021-2022.

  • Middle school participation is at 75.8%; its goal is to reach 76.6% by 2021-2022.

  • High school participation is at 68.4%; its goal is to reach 71.6% by 2021-2022.

No board discussion.

#4 Athletic Opportunities for Students (link to document)

Admin Presentation:

The administration shared information regarding its offerings for students. At high schools, boys and girls each have 10 options for sports. In middle schools, boys and girls each have 6 options for sports. Currently, the administration is working to better utilize UIL-allowed athletic periods, fill all available coaching slots with qualified teachers & coaches, improve summer strength and conditioning programs, and identify funds to begin training 3rd-6th grade students.

Next steps will be to standardize athletics as a part of the master schedule students have.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Foreman and Micciche: Nurturing the whole child is important; sports gives students another way to learn.

#5 Multi-tiered systems of support (link to document)

Admin Presentation:

The administration presented a new system, used to be Response to Intervention, which is based on 3 pillars of support: academics, language, and engagement. Findings from a Special Education report by Dr. Collier showed 3 trends to which the district is responding:

  • Staff viewed interventions as a compliance-based process. Now, DISD has built in professional development and new curriculum to focus efforts on good, first instruction when students are learning a concept for the first time. The is ‘Tier 1 Instruction.’

  • Teachers felt intervention system was complicated. Now, DISD will use a different management system called ‘Power School’ which has already led to fewer teachers reaching out with troubleshooting.

  • Parents and teachers were confused on pre-referral supports. Now, DISD has monthly meetings to review data and clarify the intervention process for all relevant parties.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Foreman: How have teachers weighed in? Teachers and counselors shared input through Planning Committee Sessions and through curriculum feedback survey. In addition, each campus has a representative for this system.

  • Trustee Pinkerton: How many students have we identified as needing support? 13,000 students.

  • Trustee Flores: Does this support allow us to identify student needs earlier? Screening process should help.

#6 Long-range master plan for technology phase 1 implementation (link to document)

Dallas ISD technology implementation long-range master plan.png

Admin Presentation:

This presentation was designed to bring context to upcoming contracts as the district team rolls out its 3-year technology implementation plan.

The district has already completed a Wi-fi assessment, digital curriculum, implementation of Power School student information system, and delivered professional development to use technology tools and infrastructure effectively.

The district is in the midst of deploying devices to campuses, updating IT policies & procedures, and approving contracts for additional planning.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Foreman: Is there a plan to replace devices over time? Yes, built out a 10 year plan.

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Is the money for these efforts from the 2015 bond? Primarily but not exclusively. Would like to know how much more money is needed for the remainder of the implementation plan.

  • Trustee Blackburn: How does the one-to-one device ratio work? Core classrooms will receive a set of devices so that each student in the classroom has access to a device. This means that as students rotate through their class schedule and visit core classes, they will have access to a device.

#7 Mills & Twain - talented and gifted schools proposal (link to document)

Admin Presentation:

There is not a TAG facility in Districts 5 or 6 in Southern Dallas. Providing talented & gifted programming would aim to provide equitable opportunities for students living in these districts.

First proposal is to have a Grades 1-8 TAG at Mills. In Fall of 2019, Mills would start with grades 1-6. Students who are currently at Mills and do not qualify for the TAG would have the benefit of staying on the campus. Moving forward, any student currently zoned to attend Mills would now be rezoned to attend Cedar Crest.

Second proposal is to have a Grades 1-5 TAG at Mark Twain. Same as Mills, students who are currently at Twain and do not qualify for the TAG would have the benefit of staying on the campus. Moving forward, any student currently zoned to attend Mark Twain would be rezoned to either Carpenter or Turner.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Foreman: Thank you!

  • Trustee Marshall: Great news. Why grades 1-5 at Twain? Space and it is a model that other districts have seen to be successful.

  • Trustee Blackburn: Concerned about transportation of students who would have to walk. Please make sure the routes are safe or transportation is accessible.

  • Trustee Henry: Want to make sure that the new TAGs in the Southern sector don’t take away from resolving the underrepresentation of student groups or other issues that need attention in existing TAG’s across the district.

#8 Self evaluation, board evaluation, & board policy (link to document)

Presentation from Trustee Foreman:

Trustee Foreman led this presentation with 3 key questions -

  1. Is the board president within their right to appoint themselves to the audit committee?

  2. Is the board president within their right to select an attorney for legal matters without consulting the board?

  3. Is the board president within their right to deny a trustee access to counsel?

The board lawyer was not available but the district lawyer answered that from what is available to her in policy, the board president is within their right on all of the items stated above.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Want to make sure there is a system of checks & balances.

#9 Recruitment incentives (link to document)

Admin Presentation:

There was not a presentation from the administration; however, the powerpoint slides were posted describing the intent of the recruitment incentives. These incentives are aimed at attracting candidates to secondary math, secondary science, career & technology, special education, and elementary bilingual.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Marshall: Every year I worry and share the feedback that we should be increasing overall salaries for teachers who are teaching in these high-need courses rather than using a recruitment incentive that could very well result in the teacher leaving after they receive the incentive.

  • Trustee Foreman: Want to see which teachers we retain from this incentive program.

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For full video clips of board discussion or for a closer review of each agenda item. please visit the Board Docs site with all public materials.

Questions/Comments about this summary? Email info@dallaskidsfirst.org.