RRISD board evaluates committee that reviews sex ed changes

The Round Rock ISD board of trustees discussed the future structure of the Student Health Advisory Council at its Dec. 13 meeting but made no decisions about the size, term limits or who appoints the officers.

SHAC is responsible for making recommendations to the board regarding student health, including sex education and nutrition, according to Texas Education Code Section 28.004. The board must consider these recommendations before making changes to the district's health education curriculum or instruction, according to the code. Sex education curriculum changes were pulled from the Nov. 15 agenda when it was discovered council members were not appointed by the board, which is a requirement, according to the state code.

"I think I can speak on behalf of the board that we are disappointed that this committee did not live up to the standards of the district," RRISD board President Catherine Hanna said. "The district usually runs things very well. We're disappointed in that, but what we would really like to focus on tonight ... is figuring out what we need to do, and let's get this important committee back up, and compliant, and running."

The administration and Superintendent Jess Chvez recommended to the board there be 15 members on the SHAC, with at least 10 parents and five representatives from various groups, including public school teachers, district students, health care professionals and law enforcement. The board agreed the council should have more than 10 members in order to represent a diverse group.

Community members also gave their thoughts on how the council should be formed. Renate Sims, a parent of four children in the district, said she also felt that diversity should be represented on the council and that members who served on the previous SHAC should not serve on the new council. Trustee Chad Chadwell said he does not agree that previous members should be excluded from the new council.

"One of the things that I would I really like this board to consider, and I have requested, is a post-mortem," trustee Terri Romere said. "It is imperative that before decisions are made that we know what went wrong."

No sex education changes will be made to this year's curriculum, and should any be made in the future, parents will have the option to opt their children out, Chvez said.

In other news

The board also approved a motion to investigate a 100-acre property in northeast Round Rock for a potential new high school. Funds for the high school would be provided from leftover bond money, Romere said.

A 2013 bond study was discussed. A proposed bond election in 2013 would help pay for facilities updates for the district, including the building of a new middle school. Another future bond was also discussed, which would provide funds for Round Rock High School Phase IV and more. Chvez said he feels the board must unanimously approve a bond election in order for it to be successful.

The board of trustees named Robbin Gesch as the district's assistant superintendent of instructional support.

The Success High School charrette design process was completed Dec. 6. The school is expected to be completed in summer 2014.