Auditor Keith Neffendorf gave good marks to the BISD in his report to trustees at their December 13 meeting, calling it “a good clean audit.” He reported a general fund balance of $2,656,000 and net assets of over $10 million as of August 31, 2010. However, he cautioned trustees that last year’s deficit of $507K and the necessity of using reserve funds could “eat away” at the fund balance, and that it could be gone in five years with the present trend in the economy. He also reminded trustees of the state fund deficit, which will be reflected in school funding. Taxpayers currently contribute about 63 percent of the district budget. He thanked Financial Officer Kay Fraser and Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford for their help in the preparation of the audit. Of Fraser he said, “She does a wonderful job.”
Fraser presented an annual review of the district’s investment policy, informing trustees that the district invests 60 percent of funds in investment pools and 40 percent in CD’s. The ratio may be reversed, she explained, because CD’s currently have a better return. She praised Blanco National Bank for their assistance, saying the district has “an outstanding fund contract” with them.
In his report, Dr. Ford updated trustees on a November 22 meeting with the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, at which they discussed the recent bond issue and the reasons citizens supported or opposed it. They agreed to recommend a May bond packet, the details of which will be determined later. The committee will meet again in January. Trustee Matt Herden reported that committee members said they would welcome input from trustees in the decision-making process. Dr. Ford also reported that BISD has met its Highly-Qualified Teacher Requirements, mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, with a 100 percent score. “We feel very good,” said Dr. Ford. “It takes a lot of work to get to this point.”
Members of Blanco High School’s Leo Club were spotlighted at the meeting, with principal Dustin Barton giving a slide show presentation of their service activities, including clean-up of Panther Stadium after each football game, hanging holiday lights at Bindseil Park, helping with the annual toy collection for needy children, and helping at the Thundering Paws Animal Rescue in Dripping Springs. The 67-member club has given 300 community-service hours from September to December 2010. Sponsor Kim Thompson, officers Grant Weaver, Alicia Immel, Abbey Weaver (not present), and Braxton Guin, as well as members Morgan LeBlanc and Alexis Leonard, accepted certificates of appreciation from Dr. Ford on behalf of the trustees.
Also spotlighted were the BES interventionists Sean Kipps, Dana Mooney, and Pam Nabors. Principal Sue Ann Reininger enumerated the contributions of this group, including administration of various assessments, coaching for TAKS testing, analyzing data, and providing inclusion support. They also perform invaluable after-school duties. Dr. Ford thanked them for their hard work and presented them with certificates of appreciation.
Director of Technology Tom Cozzi updated trustees on “everyday stuff we do” to keep students and faculty in touch with the larger world of information. He applauded technology support staff Debbie Caudell, Ben Wheeler, Debra Faurie, and Collin Gaskamp, whom he called “frontline people” in utilizing the district’s 467 computers, 90 of which have been added in the last two years.
In other business, trustees approved the purchase of a new 77-passenger school bus at a cost of $81,922. In answer to a question about seatbelts, Dr. Ford said there will not be any since they have not been mandated by the state. The bus also will not have air-conditioning. Dr. Ford explained that the district purchases a bus each year as part of a 20-year cycle that keeps the bus fleet maintained and updated. Trustees also approved the sale of surplus property no longer needed by the ag department through a bid process.
A summary of board member training was presented, with members having completed the following hours: Matt Herden, 3; MaryAnn Weaver, 26.25; Bernie San Miguel, 16.5; Charles Riley, 13.25; Troy Immel, 28.25; Kirk Felps, 10.25; and Darrel Wagner, 3. Members have until May 2011 to complete training for the year.
Finally, trustees approved a budget amendment to release Title I, Part A, Title I Migrant, and Title II Part A grants to full entitlement. After executive session, trustees approved the hiring of Nickole Yarter to teach eighth-grade math.