It was a busy night for the Alvarado ISD Board of Trustees, but Monday also proved to be a very productive one as the Board dealt with items such as kitchen equipment, meal prices, state policy changes and early resignation incentives.
“If a teacher is considering whether to retire or leave his current position, it helps in our budget planning to know well in advance,” said Dr. Chester Juroska, Alvarado ISD Superintendent. “If that position can be absorbed without impacting the students, then we will consider doing that.
“It becomes problematic if a teacher resigns near the beginning of school. We are in hopes the money will be an incentive to commit earlier.”
With the amount of technology used in the district – both by the teachers and students – one of the more critical items the Board considered was the replacement of wireless equipment at five of the six campuses.
Replacing the current equipment at the elementary schools, intermediate school and junior high will allow the district’s technology department to have uniform access and controls district wide.
“Upgrading this equipment will allow users to continue working even during wireless equipment failure with added fail over features,” said Andrew McAfee AISD Assistant Director of Technology. “It will also provide more network throughput necessary to maintain the increasing number of wireless devices brought on by the 1:1 at our intermediate and junior high campuses.”
The new equipment will improve the ability to shape bandwidth and traffic. What that means for the students and teachers is if one campus is not using as much bandwidth as the others, the free bandwidth can be used by another campus.
It will also allow for more flexibility for non-district devices, which are used as part of the high school’s ‘Bring Your Own Device’ program.
“This new technology is more flexible and scalable than the existing equipment, allowing us to optimize network and internet access for the learning needs of our students,” said Julie Holland, AISD Director of Technology.
In order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, the Board raised most meal prices by 5 cents.
The 2010 law requires schools to raise meal prices each year until the prices equal the difference between what the school district receives in federal funds for free students and what it receives for paid students.
Mark Ratcliff, the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Operations, told the Board the United States Department of Agriculture suggested a 4.5 percent increase in prices, but the district was given the option of raising prices only 5 cents if that was cheaper.
All breakfast meals will be $1.30 while lunches at the elementary level will be $2.10, lunch at the junior high will be $2.35 and high school lunches will be $2.40.
“It concerns me when a bureaucracy mandates anything, especially when it ends up costing our local people,” Juroska said. I believe the local government should decide what to and how much to charge. It’s a relatively small amount but its another encroachment of big government.”
In other business, the Board:
- Approved budget adjustments
- Approved out-of-state travel requests for Jeff Dixon, Eddie Hatch, Josh Cornwall and Joe Kostiha
- Approved the revision of Policy EIA(LOCAL): Academic Achievement Grading/Progress Reports to Parents
- Approved the suspension of portions of EIA(LOCAL) for the 2011-2012 school year
- Revised Policy FNF(LOCAL): Student Rights and Responsibilities Interrogations and Searches
- Approved Policy Update 93 affecting (LOCAL) Policies
- Approved the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) appraiser list
- Certified the Instructional Materials Allotment and TEKS as required by the Texas Education Code
- Accepted gifts and donations
- Adopted a resolution concerning high stakes, standardized testing of Texas public school students
- Approved the cancellation of the May 12 election
- Approved the purchase of wireless equipment for the elementary, intermediate and junior high campuses.
- Approved the district bulk copy paper order
- Approved the purchase of kitchen equipment
- Approved the renewal of the food service management contract with Chartwells for 2012-2013
- Approved the increase in meal prices
- Approved a $1,000 early notification incentive for the first 10 employees who notify the district before March 30 that they are retiring or leaving the district