By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – The start of a fresh school year and planning the upcoming budget were among the topics discussed at the regular monthly meeting of the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees on Monday night.
Before giving her monthly report, district superintendent Lisa Meysembourg spoke about the WISD Strong Start program, an initiative the district adopted, Meysembourg said, out of necessity to apply for ESSR funding.
The Strong Start program rolls out a series of guidelines and recommendations set in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders and guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA.) Meysembourg said the guidelines set forth in WISD’s plan cover COVID prevention, mitigation and sanitation techniques. Currently, the state is under an executive order from Abbott prohibiting entities from enacting a mask mandate. Meysembourg said if individuals on WISD’s campuses want to wear masks or facial coverings, it will be encouraged. The jist, she said, was for those within the district (students, faculty, staff and administrators) to monitor their health, and to not come to school if they are sick.
Another part of Monday’s meeting that addressed a change in educational structure dealt with the recently passed House Bill 4545. The bill requires Texas school districts to supply a minimum of 30 hours of accelerated instruction to students who did not pass the STAAR testing.
Curriculum Director Ashley Weatherford spoke on the topic, and how WISD is complying with the new law. Weatherford said WISD’s campuses have set up intensive remediation classes during the regular school hours, and are calling the classes “Eagle SOAR,” with the latter word an acronym meaning “Student Opportunity for Academic Readiness.”
Meysembourg reported that for the first two days of school, which began last week, the enrollment figures stand at 1,204 pupils, which is 130 more than last year’s starting numbers. She said the figure represents fewer students than the district counted at the end of the last school year, but she hopes the number will increase with students returning in the coming weeks.
WISD Business Manager Cody Jarrott echoed that optimism about returning students during his report. He presented the preliminary budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year. “I firmly believe the students will come back,” Jarrott said.
Based on attendance, Jarrott said the projected revenue for the next fiscal year is $13,748,000, from the state, as well as local M&O revenue.
The proposed tax rate for WISD is $0.891 per $100 of valuation for WISD taxpayers, a decrease from the previous rate of $0.91664. Tax values are up by 12%, countywide, Jarrott said.
In other business, the WISD board also approved the following items during Monday night’s meeting:
- The Student Code of Conduct was approved for the 2021-22 school year. The document reflects changes due to updates made during the legislative session, Meysembourg said.
- An action to approve 10 days for employee leave, due to COVID diagnoses, was approved. The measure adds two days to the eight allowed by the state and existing local policy.
- The price for adult lunches at WISD was raised to $4.25, an increase from the $4 price. This measure, Meysembourg said, is based on federal policy and reimbursements.
- The purchase of a new bus, from Longhorn Bus Sales, to add to the district’s trip fleet for extracurricular travels, was approved. The bus is priced at $105,993.
- Representatives from Tyler County’s Farm Bureau were on hand to present a $500 check to WISD to be used for supplies.