The 2023-24 Kerrville Independent School District Calendar topped the agenda for trustees Monday night at the Board of Trustees regular meeting, with one citizen speaking on behalf of the local camp industry asking for consideration regarding the district’s proposed Aug. 14 start date.
Trustees also heard an update on items currently being considered by the State of Texas legislature.
During the Open Forum portion of the agenda, Britt Eastland, of Camp Mystic, asked trustees to reconsider the proposed Aug. 14 start date for the next school year, saying the camp industry has been negatively affected by the change in school calendars. KISD is able to adjust start dates after being approved as a Texas Education Agency District of Innovation.
“Im here kind of representing some of the area camps and local businesses here in town,” Eastland said. “I saw that the school calendar and District of Innovation renewal is on the agenda. The main request I have is that you consider going back to your original plan you had in place in 2018 when you became a District of Innovation.”
That plan stated that the earliest start date for a school year could not be any earlier than the third week in August, which this year would be Aug. 21.
Eastland explained that the original plan was a result of collaboration between the school district and the camp industry.
Calendar changes, however, were necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, to allow for remediation for students who had fallen behind.
Eastland reminded trustees that the school year for all Texas schools used to be just prior to Labor Day for the start and Memorial Day for completion, which allowed for a full summer for the camp industry.
“As you know, that’s what we rely on, where our revenue comes from, is kids being able to come to camp,” Eastland said.
He pointed out that there are 25 summer camps that operate within Kerr County and that not only campers are needed, but also high school and college students who serve as staff.
Since trustees cannot comment during the Open Forum portion of the agenda, Dr. David Sprouse was told he could not ask a question of Eastland. Board President Rolinda Schmidt invited Eastland to stay and suggested the items whe was commenting on be moved up on the agenda, so that Eastland could participate in the discussion.
Once the 2023-24 School Calendar was up for discussion, Sprouse asked Assistant Superintendent Wade Ivy if an option would be moving back both the start date of Aug. 14 and the last day of school, which was proposed to be May 24.
What ensued was a complicated discussion that revealed that it is not only the total days in school that have been planned out, but also the individual semesters. Therefore, moving back start date would then force an additional week in the second six weeks semester, which was already heavily weighted. It would also provide for a limited Christmas break.
The process of creating a the KISD calendar, Ivy said, is facilitated by a the district’s Faculty Community Advisory Committee, whose members labor over the details tirelessly to fulfill all required, necessary, and desired accommodations for officials, teachers, staff and students.
Ultimately, in support of the FCAC, trustees approved the 2023-24 KISD Calendar and approved District of Innovation renewal.
Schmidt thanked Eastland and suggested that he be included in the FCAC for next to ensure consideration of the camp industry in the 2024-25 KISD Calendar.
Interim Superintendent Jarrett Jachade explained to trustees that the 88th Texas Legislature Session is now underway, saying that education appears to be a priority, highlighting compensation and benefits; school safety, and addressing learning loss due to COVID-19, as topics that are being discussed.
Jachade said bills have already been introduced in both the Texas House and Texas Senate proposing that the method by which public schools are funded be changed from average daily attendance to overall district enrollment.
“We are one of only three or four states that still do attendance-based funding,” Jachade said. “Most states have moved to enrollment-based funding, because it doesn’t matter how many students show up, you have to be fully-staffed in our transportation department, in our classrooms.”
Jachade said he is not sure “how much traction this will get.”
“Commissioner (Mike) Morath has come out and said he is somewhat against enrollment-based funding, because he feels like districts will not feel accountable for getting students to come (to school),” Jachade said.
He told trustees budgeting for next year will depend greatly on the outcome of this legislative session.
He also pointed out that state officials are discussing increases in school funding, saying that while inflation has driven up the cost of food, supplies and fuel significantly, state funding has remained the same for the past four years.
The KISD Board recognized the following during its regular meeting:
• Tivy High School JROTC Program for exceptional review;
• Tivy High School All-District selections Jackson Johnston, Jake Layton, Logan Edmonds, Luke Johnston and Kale Lackey;
• KISD teacher Amanda Lord was recognized for earning National Board Certification.
• In recognition of National School Board Recognition Month, KISD Board of Trustees were treated to a performance by Hal Peterson Middle School Orchestra members and presented with gifts from students.
• Trustees approved an expenditure of $197,600 to provide a canopy over the open area at Tom Daniels Elementary between the main school building and the annex behind it.
Jachade explained that these funds will be paid for through proceeds of the 2018 Bond Election.
• A budget amendment to move $2.9 million out of the uncommitted fund for capital projects was approved to complete renovations and improvements to campuses that were identified during the 2018 Bond Election process, but were not included in the bond. The funds used will be from proceeds of the sale of the former Hal Petrson Middle School.
With one vote, trustees unanimously approved the following items under the consent agenda:
• Regular board meeting minutes from Dec. 12;
• Special board meeting minutes from Jan. 2;
• Special board meeting minutes from Jan. 10;
• Called the Board of Trustees Election for May 6;
• Upcoming events calendar.
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