Conroe ISD board of trustees considers Senior Priority Pass Program, STAAR scores

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Community members older than 60 will be able to go to Conroe ISD events for free, according to the CISD board of trustees.

At its July 16 meeting, the CISD board approved a report from Director of Communications Sarah Blakelock on a Senior Priority Pass Program. Blakelock said the program will provide free admission to citizens 60 years or older who live within the CISD boundaries to any CISD athletic event or fine art performance, excluding playoffs and fundraisers.

“We’re happy to show our appreciation to that portion of our community,” Blakelock said.

Blakelock said the program will go into effect for the 2019-20 school year Aug. 19. To become a member of the program, residents must visit the communications department at 3205 W. Davis, Conroe, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. with a photo ID for proof of residency.

Trustee Scott Kidd asked if individuals with caregivers could get an additional seat for their caregivers. Blakelock said that would be possible. Trustee Ray Sanders complimented Blakelock on the program.

“If I’m 60 years old and I don’t have any children in the district anymore, it’s not about having just students in the district; it’s about going out and enjoying the community in general, and I think it’s a great opportunity,” Sanders said.

Although the trustees discussed the preliminary 2019-20 budget for the majority of the meeting, several other items were debated. Deputy Superintendent Chris Hines and Debbie Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary education, presented the preliminary State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, results.

“When the state goes up in one area, we tend to typically go up as well. If the state goes down in one area from one year to the next, we typically follow that pattern,” Phillips said.

In every score, CISD performed better than the state. Phillips said the final scores will be presented in August. She said the way STAAR evaluates student success is “very complicated.”

Chief Financial Officer Darren Rice also recommended the board transfer $17.15 million from the general unassigned fund to the debt service fund and $20 million from the general unassigned fund to the capital maintenance fund.

Rice said of the debt service transfer, $7.1 million is to pay owed fees to the debt service, and $10 million is the annual payment to the debt service fund to keep the tax rate low. Rice said the $20 million to the capital maintenance fund is meant to seed the fund and to purchase two future school sites.

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Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now covers the Conroe Independent School District, Montgomery City Council and transportation.
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