School board learns district’s accountability rating

Image: Plans for proposed youth complex through “A Call to Souls Outreach, Inc.”

Plans for proposed youth complex through “A Call to Souls Outreach, Inc.” (Alysa Kirton)

The Italy School Board of Trustees heard from the school’s principals concerning the Texas Education Agency’s 2013 Accountability Summary at its monthly meeting held Monday evening in the school cafeteria.

Both campuses “met standard” on student achievement, student progress and closing performance gaps, according to the TEA. The high school also met the standard on post-secondary readiness. Stafford Elementary earned a distinction rating by ranking in the top 25 percent of student progress.

The high school met 32 of 33 indicators – 21 out of 22 for performance rates, 10 out of 10 for participation rates and 1 out of 1 for graduation rates. The elementary school scored 100%, earning 10 of 10 on performance rates and 8 of 8 on participation rates.

In other business, the trustees unanimously approved the purchase of a two-wheel drive ¾ ton Dodge pickup for the agriculture department. Blake Godwin, teacher, presented trustees with several options. Following a lengthy discussion, they opted for the two-wheel drive over a four-wheel drive at a cost of $38,995.

Jonathan Nash, Stafford principal, told school board members that school will start at 7:45 a.m. with the tardy bell ringing at 7:55 a.m. and the day will end at 3:10 p.m. Lee Joffre, junior high/high school principal, said school starts at 7:55 a.m. on his campus with classes ending at 3 p.m.

Nash also reported that the elementary school received a $1,000 grant from the United Way of Ellis County to be used for school supplies.

Trustees approved the consent agenda consisting of the minutes from prior meetings, the utility report, transportation report, July check payment register, the monthly financial statement, tax collections, monthly investment and cash position.

The trustees also approved an employee handbook and a campus code of conduct. Barry Bassett, superintendent, said there were no major changes in the booklets.

They also approved the appraisal calendar for 2013-2014 with the principals named primary appraisers for their campuses. Joffre was named secondary appraiser for the elementary school and Nash was named secondary appraiser for the high school.

The trustees unanimously committed a portion of the fund balance — $130,000 — toward capital projects, $1,275,000 toward long term debt service and a portion to capital equipment. Natasha Blackburn, business manager, said that leaves $1.8 million of the fund balance uncommitted.

The district also approved instructional material allotment, TEKS certification for the upcoming year and Update 97 from the Texas School Board of Education.

Prior to adjournment, James Johnson, an Italy High School graduate, presented trustees with a proposal for a youth center to be located on 34.5 acres off Dilworth Street. Johnson, president of “A Call to Soul’s Outreach, Inc.” said he can purchase the property for $250,000, a discounted rate since it is for Italy youth.

Johnson, the father of IHS track star Kortnei Johnson, plans to name the complex after his daughter. It will feature a swimming pool, a football field with running track, classrooms, offices and locker rooms.

He said preliminary costs are at $10.2 million. He said he will reach out to everyone that ever graduated from Italy High School as well as public and philanthropic grants.