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IPCISD receives top marks for financials

by Dolores Hamilton
At their regular meeting Monday, Iowa Park school trustees were told that the Iowa Park Consolidated School District had received a perfect score by the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas.

The district’s business manager Sharon Godwin told trustees, “This is our financial report card.” She said this is the 12th year for the report, and all but one year the district has received a superior rating.

The trustees discussed the possibility of getting Erate category 2 funding for technology network and infrastructure upgrades.

“We have an opportunity to get about $255,000 worth of infrastructure upgrades for about $75,000,” said Jodi Schlaud, Curriculum and Instructional Technology Coordinator. “It is the optimal time to do it if we can get the funding through Erate - kind of like a grant.”

Superintendent Steve Moody added, “We have put out a request for proposals just to see what we can get for this amount and what they can do for us.”

Godwin explained how Erate funding works. “Erate is a federal program that has been in place quite a few years, and the purpose of this when it first started was to help school districts in low income areas get access to technology,” she said. “We are eligible for $255,000 worth of equipment that will only cost us $75,000.”

Moody told the trustees he would get more information and costs, and if Erate funding is approved, bring it back to them for approval.

Trustees approved an update to Policy FFC (LOCAL) designating Janet Bowling as the liaison for homeless students. Bowling is the District Service Coordinator/PEIMS.

Cindy Skjelstad, who works with dual credit students at Iowa Park High School and is the liaison with Vernon College, gave an update on students taking dual credit courses this year.

She said there are 80 students enrolled in the classes that include: Composition I and II, British Literature I and II, U.S. History I and II, Government, Economics, Beginning Spanish, Intermediate Spanish, College Algebra, and College Trigonometry.

There is a total of 186 classes being taken. Ten students take one class; 34 students take two classes; and 36 students are taking three classes, giving a total of 587 hours taken.

Out of the IPHS Class of 2013, 28 students are enrolled in a four-year public university; 33 are enrolled in a two-year public college; two are enrolled in an independent college; and 60 are not enrolled in post-secondary education.

Schlaud gave a report on accountability ratings in the district, and the requirements involved. She said each campus gets a rating, and the district exceeded in all of them.

“We did very well in our performance this past year in the accountability standings,” said Moody.

Schlaud told of going to a meeting of mid-size schools to discuss the scores from STAAR testing and get ideas on how to improve them. She said many of the schools have programs in place to help the students. A representative from one of the schools asked Schlaud, “Iowa Park, what are you doing because your scores are awesome?” She replied, “We have good teachers, we let them teach.”

The first reading of Police Update 103 was conducted. Update 103 is the first of two post-legislative updates, and it encompasses changes in law from the 84th Legislative Session that have an immediate effect on school districts.

Moody touched on some of the highlights including open carry of handguns, e-cigarettes, and student attendance.

During the Superintendent’s Report, the trustees agreed that the old tax office located behind Kidwell Elementary should be torn down. Moody said they were getting bids for the demolition.

The baseball/softball scoreboards donated by First Banks have been installed, and the Thanksgiving holidays will be Nov. 25 - 27.

The board adopted a resolution asking Gov. Greg Abbott to consider naming a Texas Commissioner of Education who is “a Texas professional educator with a life-long devotion to putting children first and being a successful proven educational leader, who also has a proven record of: high expectations for all students; commitment to local school control; a first-hand knowledge of effective Texas school practices, laws, policies and procedures; and a record of ‘doing the right thing’ by students, parents, teachers, and schools.”

The resignations of Heather Bohannon, Kidwell Pre-K teacher, and Rena Davis, Kidwell PPCD, were accepted. Rebecca Coombes was hired as a special education aide at Bradford.