Schools receive good audit, performance rating
by Dolores Hamilton
In Thursday night’s school board meeting a public hearing was held for the 2015-2016 Texas Academic Performance Report, which is the academic report card for school districts. The Iowa Park CISD school district received the accountability rating of “Met Standard.”
Jodi Schlaud explained the report in which a majority of the Iowa Park scores are ahead of the region and state. “All these great scores are an indication of the great job our administrators, teachers and students do here,” said Superintendent Steve Moody.
Mike Edgin, with the firm of Edgin, Parkman, Fleming & Fleming, presented a favorable audit report and said, “The district has a very strong financial position.”
Trustees reviewed the proposed state accountability rating system. In 2015 the Texas Legislature passed HB 2804, changing the school accountability system so that every campus and district receives one of five ratings from A - F in four “domain” areas.
The official ratings won’t start until 2018, but the bill called for “mock” ratings to be released in January of this year, based primarily on results of the STAAR test.
Iowa Park’s scores were good compared to statewide scores. But Iowa Park along with many other school districts feel the grades are politically driven in the push for vouchers and private schools.
After completing the review, the board members approved a resolution asking the Texas Legislature “to repeal the rating system utilizing A through F grades for schools and districts and develop a community-based accountability system that empowers school districts to design their own internal systems of assessment and accountability that, while meeting general state standards, allows districts to innovate and customize curriculum and instruction to meet the needs and interests of each student and their communities.”
In other business, trustees approved a resolution to initiate a District of Innovation, and a public hearing was held to discuss developing an innovation plan.
The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, and allows traditional independent school districts to access most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. “It is giving local control back to local school districts, back to the local schools,” Moody told the trustees.
There are 10 potential areas of innovation: Site-based decision making processes; Uniform school start date; Minimum minutes of instruction; Class size and student/teacher ratio; The 90 percent attendance rule; Student discipline provisions; Teacher certification; Teacher contracts; Teacher benefits; and Teacher appraisal system.
An advisory committee was appointed by the board to develop the plan, and will have its first meeting on Jan. 25.
During his report, Moody said he had received a letter from Rocky Ridge Affordable Housing saying they are submitting an application to the state for a housing project, “Hawk Senior Village,” to be located in Iowa Park. The letter was for information only.
Moody also said that enrollment numbers are holding up with 1845 students enrolled at the present time.
Following a closed meeting for the evaluation of the superintendent, Moody’s contract was extended another year, 2017 - 2019, on a three-year contract.
In addition, the board hired Kristopher Tucker as a crossing guard and aide at Kidwell Elementary, and Sean Jackson was hired as special education aide at the middle school. They accepted the resignation of Desiree Hardman, an aide at the middle school.
During the open forum portion of the meeting, Randall Barker asked the board if they would establish an advisory committee to see if there is an interest in having soccer at the schools.
Jered Stevens was recognized as a Rotary Student of the Month.