Safety and security projects could be funded through 2019 bond
Discussion on a potential 2019 bond continued at Tuesday’s Eanes ISD board of trustees meeting, where talk focused on the category of safety and security districtwide.
A breakdown of items bond funds could be used for and how they could be prioritized was reviewed. Possible safety and security projects totaled a cost of $6.97 million and were divided into three categories.
Category one: project that is an immediate priority and will be funded from maintenance and operations, or M&O, tax rate if not in bond
- Add perimeter fencing and barriers: $1.04 million
- Upgrade emergency medical equipment, primarily automated external defibrillators, or AEDs: $35,000
- Facility safety and security improvements: $500,000
- Add/update pedestrian access: $291,000
- Add/update security cameras, access control and emergency communications systems: $1.95 million
Category two: Highly likely that a need will surface in the next few years that will require M&O funding
- Enhance cyber security infrastructure: $819,000
Category three: Campus and district operations can continue in the immediate future, but inclusion would improve or enhance student programs or provide other benefits to the district
- Update wayfinding/signage: $1.19 million
- Digital standardized campus marquees: $1.14 million
Components of the potential bond will continue to be discussed at upcoming bond advisory committee, or BAC, and board of trustees, or BOT, meetings:
Sept. 18: BAC discussion on safety and security
Sept. 25: BOT discussion on safety and security
Oct. 16: BAC discussion on energy efficiency and conservation
Oct. 23: BOT discussion on energy efficiency and conservation
Nov. 13: BAC discussion on facilities
Nov. 27: BOT discussion on facilities
Dec 4: BAC discussion on student programs and support
Dec. 11: BOT discussion on student programs and support
Jan. 8: Final BAC meeting to summarize
Jan. 15: BOT meeting
Jan. 29: BOT call bond election
May 4: election day
Final 2015 bond funds addressed
Trustees also accepted the recommendation of the bond oversight committee to earmark remaining unallocated 2015 bond funds.
Because the available funds were significantly less than with the 2011 bond–$175,000 versus $2.5 million–the bond oversight committee agreed the funds would be best utilized in addressing smaller projects that might come up rather than in a single project, board documents said.
The committee said projects involving safety and security, energy efficiency and conservation, student programs and support, and facilities should be prioritized.
Current enrollment numbers reviewed
An enrollment update was presented to the board. The report included official 2017-18 enrollments and projections for 2018-19 as well as actual total students for the current year as of Sept. 21. Click to enlarge:
Special education initiatives proposed to improve department
The district is looking to strengthen its special education department through two initiatives, presented to the board for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.
The first initiative would focus on present practices and recommendations for the future through the formation of a community-building group on inclusive culture.
The group would study and identify current practices around inclusion in the areas of disability awareness for schools and the community, academics, extracurricular activities and parental involvement, Associate Superintendent Todd Washburn and Executive Director of Special Education Molly May said to the board.
The group would also study other districts’ practices in those areas and identify potential recommendations for the future.
The proposed 33-member group would consist of parents, teachers and administrators. Three student focus groups composed of both general and special education students would also be asked to provide feedback. Board members agreed the meetings should be open to the public so everyone has an opportunity for input.
Applications would be available to all current parents and teachers in the district. They would be reviewed and selected by a committee consisting of two school board members (Colleen Jones and John Havenstrite), two parents from the special education working group, one campus administrator and the executive director of special education.
The group would meet four to six times October to April, and its potential recommendations would be reviewed and vetted by the executive administrative team and shared with the school board for consideration in May.
The second initiative would conduct a program evaluation, or audit, of the special education department using an outside consulting group.
The Eanes special education department consists of more than 200 staff members serving about 700 students.
The focus of the audit would be to look at past and current practices in the department and to identify areas of strength and improvement.
The district is currently talking to a few outside vendors to discuss the scope of the project and obtain quotes, May said.