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Posts published in April 2008

TEA to NF: “No money for hires”

NORTH FOREST– State representatives and board trustees continued to clash at last Monday night’s regular NFISD board meeting. The issue was primarily the financial condition of the district, but it was manifested in two actions: the board voted to rehire the former chief of police, Tyrone Walker, and staff member Edward Durant; and the second issue was changing the days of the month when employees are paid.
Many audience members, some of them employees, protested vehemently that changing the pay dates on short notice would create a hardship that might result in credit problems and evictions. The motion being considered, was to change pay dates from the 5th and 20th of the months, to the 15th and last workday of the month, starting in May. After listening to the objections, the board indicated that they thought they might not change these dates, at least until much later. But TEA representative Ron Powell told them in must be done, because the district had no money available to meet payroll, and an alternative might be to issue worthless checks. Finally a compromise was reached, that the first paycheck in May can still be issued on May 5th.
On the issue of rehiring and reinstating two employees, Walker and Durant, Rowell and Boening issued a similar ruling. Citing authority to overrule the local school board, as stated in the Texas Education Code Section 39.135 (c)(2), they said that the board vote to hire the two employees was “revoked and overturned.”
When pressed for the reason for this action by Trustee Allen Provost, Rowell said that it was a financial decision, not a personnel decision, and that the board simply cannot hire anyone at this time because “You’re Broke. There’s no money in the bank for pay day. You need every penny that we will send you on April 25th (to meet existing payroll).”
TAKS Results Good

Not all the news was bad at the meeting, however. Dr. Sharp and mr. Louis reported that TAKS test results at the elementary and middle school levels had shown vast improvement, with Reading tests at 5th grade showing an overall 72% passing and 3rd grade 80%. At middle school, overall Reading tests at 8th grade were at 82% passing, and Math at 65%. The passing level must be above 50%.
Questioned by Trustee about improving high school graduation rates, they said that resources available to improve the rate include tutors, Saturday classes, specific student packages, and on-line TAKS study guides.
Copper Theft problem
Facilities head Paul Johnson reported to the board that 5 chillers at three schools had been vandalized, and all the copper wiring and piping was gone. The schools are Learning Academy, Fonwood Elementary, and Kirby Middle school. Johnson reported that an estimate of repairs and replacement had been made by Johnson Controls, for $75,000. He noted that the insurance had a deductible of $100,000.