Academic, budget concerns topics at MISD board meeting
By RICHARD MARK GLOVER
MARFA – Marfa ISD’s principals said their campuses likely wouldn’t meet the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards for a second year.
“Our scores are not good and we’re going to be in trouble again,” junior/senior Principal Cynthia Wimberly told trustees Monday evening.
At the elementary level in grades 3 – 8, Principal Liana Sawyer told the board that the latest results on reading was 66.41 percent compared to the federal mandate of 83 percent as required by the “No Child Left Behind” grid work instituted by the George W. Bush Administration. Reading for the same group was 81.4 percent, compared to the 87 percent required by the federal standard.
“Our projection is we’re going to miss AYP,” said Sawyer.
“Just because the federal government says we’re not meeting AYP, doesn’t mean good things don’t happen at MISD everyday,” said Robert Halpern, president of the MISD Board of Trustees, adding that he believed test scores do need to improve. “And it’s unfortunate that Texas Gov. Rick Perry doesn’t give Texas public schools the chance to set our own benchmarks” as the Obama administration is allowing. “This one size fits all approach to national education standards is absurd.”
The Obama administration has allowed 26 states to apply for waivers to the AYP standards. Texas hasn’t applied for the waiver. The caveat is that states must submit plans to raise education standards.
Marfa ISD has been deemed by the Texas Education Agency as academically acceptable but its two campuses are academically unacceptable for 2011-2013.
Marfa isn’t alone. In Dallas, 33 schools are now academically unacceptable. In Fort Worth, five of 13 regular high schools are AU. In Premont, Texas a small town about 75 miles southwest of Corpus Christi, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has revoked the district’s accreditation after years of AU ratings. Unless the warrant is appealed, Premont students will be bused to another district for the 2012-2013 school year.
In further MISD news, Victoria Sanchez, MISD’s chief financial officer, held a brief school budget workshop for the board members. Topics included financial solvency, how average daily attendance affects government funding, property tax values and an overview of the state school budget.
“Many school districts are adopting deficit budgets across Texas,” Sanchez said in regards to MISD’s own deficit spending.
In regard to property values, Sanchez commented that “the state felt that our values do not meet market values.” This might suggest that Presidio County properties might be undervalued in terms of taxation.
The board also voted unanimously to pay $10,000 to Calloway Carpets. The company installed carpet for the school in 2009. The bill, according to MISD Superintendent Teloa Swinnea, did not appear for payment until March of this year and Calloway Carpet president Bill Herring, agreed to reduce the invoice from $14,500 to $10,000 for immediate payment. The work was part of the 2007 gymnasium bond issue.
Story filed under: Top Stories