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The SISD (Sweetwater Independent School District) Board of Directors held a regular meeting on Monday evening, Sept. 19, 2011 at the Administration Building.
A public hearing took place concerning the FIRST Rating report, though no one was in attendance to offer input. A brief overview on the report was given by SISD Business Manager Nathan Elhert, citing specific indicators within the report that regarded the district.
The passing score in FIRST is a 56; the school district earned a 72, thus resulting in a Superior rating. While standards will continue to rise in upcoming years, the district does still expect to fare well.
A variety of action items were presented as well, such as an increase in the mileage reimbursement rate. The new rate now stands at 45 cents a mile--or, should it be lower, the rate set by the State Comptroller. The new rate will be in effect starting on Oct. 1, and the board approved the increase.
In addition, an early release date was approved for Nov. 21. On this day, the academic UIL meet for surrounding elementary students will be hosted by SIS (Sweetwater Intermediate School), in which an early release will allow the campus to prepare for the competition.
Furthermore, the board discussed a location release for a TV station filming crew. Sweetwater resident and Jaycee Riley Sawyers has been featured in the Animal Planet show "Rattlesnake Republic," in which the show follows Mr. Sawyers around in preparation for the World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up.
"Rattlesnake Republic" also follows Mr. Sawyers' personal life, and as a fan of the Sweetwater Mustangs he attends the Friday night football games. The show hopes to capture him at the Mustang Bowl, and approval was given on the location release for the crew to film at the Bowl.
Also, the delinquent tax lot bids were considered, but were rejected as none of bids met the minimum requirements. Only one professional personnel change was noted as well, which was approved by the board.
The consent agenda was also approved, which included the minutes from the August 15 and August 30 meetings, the investment statement and the financial statements and bills from August 2011.
One issue which was tabled at the meeting, however, was a resolution related to potential school finance litigation. An upcoming lawsuit deals with schools that each have different funding per student with the hope that, as a result, the suit will get all districts closer in contrast to the current wide range in student funding.
Three options were presented by the district's legal team (involvement, involvement with financial support, or no involvement), but before making a decision the board opted to learn more about the matter, thus tabling the item to a later meeting.
In the Superintendent's Report, an enrollment report was offered by SISD Assistant Superintendent Kathy Smartt, and she noted that the numbers were better than expected. Though 29 less students are enrolled from this time last year, 69 more students have been added to SISD since the start of the school year.
Mr. Elhert also presented the tax collection numbers which now stand at $6,813,343.13, or at 103.85%. The numbers were taken at the end of August 2011. He also informed the board that the purchase of the vacant lot on Musgrove Street has been completed. However, a new process begins on how to utilize the lot, which may possibly be used for parking.
SISD Superintendent Terry Pittman also gave a brief report on a grant the district applied for regarding air conditioning. The grant was completed and through a points scale, the district was the second-highest seen by the company overseeing the project, McKinstry.
Any units over a decade old qualify for replacement, which result in a majority of units to be replaced. The process continues with more results regarding rebates to be determined in October, but the air conditioning replacements could lead to a savings of $1.1 million for the district.