SISD gets Superior FIRST rating

A public hearing was held concerning the FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) rating report during the SISD (Sweetwater Independent School District) Board of Trustees' meeting, which took place on Monday evening, October 15 at the Administration Building.A preliminary report was given over the summer, with SISD garnering the highest rating, Superior--an achievement they have earned for the past seven years. The district's score, at 68, comes in well over the passing rate of 52. With no public input heard on the matter, the board then approved the FIRST rating report.In addition, approval was given toward the adjunct faculty agreement with the Nolan County Extension Office, which allows those staff members to assist students in activities in which they will not be counted as absent. Also approved--which deals with the adjunct faculty agreement--was the resolution regarding the extracurricular status of the Nolan County 4-H organization, in which the adjunct faculty will assist the group which is considered as an extracurricular program.The board additionally approved an early release date for Wednesday, December 5, as the district will be hosting the elementary academic UIL meet. As a majority of teachers will be needed to facilitate the event, an early release date was needed to offer ample time to prepare for the event on that day.Furthermore, a change to the local DIA policy--which deals with employee welfare in regards to freedom from discrimination, harassment and retaliation--was approved; the only change noted was the name of the superintendent from Dr. Ronny Beard to Terry Pittman.Two new hires and a resignation were approved as well during the meeting, and while no action was taken, a report on the ESL (English as a Second Language) and migrant students was given. A breakdown was presented of the number of students on each campus, and it was noted that great progress is seen with the work that is done with these students each year.The consent agenda was approved also, which included the minutes of the September 17 meeting, the investment statement and the September 2012 financial statement and bills. Though part of the consent agenda, there were no delinquent tax lot bids to report.In the Superintendent's Report, enrollment was noted at 2,196 as of Tuesday, October 9--an increase of 87 students from the first day of classes. An annual review of tax collection was also reported.An opening school report was additionally presented and discussed among the board, which cited a variety of issues such as students shifting to home-school, the impact of state testing, college and workforce readiness, and discipline and incentives.The condition of the SMS (Sweetwater Middle School) tennis courts was discussed as well, in that the dry weather has led to major cracks that need to be patched and repaired overall. Preliminary costs of the repairs come in at around $250,000.Bids for the tennis court repairs will be obtained soon, but Pittman noted that they are looking at all possibilities for repairs to ensure safety of the students.Another district update discussed was the wireless network for Sweetwater High School. Early quotes estimate a $200,000 cost for the network to be installed, which will be a necessary item by next school year to accommodate the first class that received iPads (next year's freshman class).And as required by AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) rating, SISD will have to undergo a "district snapshot", in which interviews will take place with staff, faculty and parents to take a closer look at the district; results on the snapshot will be given sometime later.Also, in order to ensure that all board members will be in attendance, the mandatory board training will now take place in January, which will be held with the superintendent's evaluation.