May 03, 2016 Board Briefs: Trustees discuss ACC partnership, attendance area change policy

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The Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees met for their bi-monthly Workshop Tuesday, May 3, 2016, to discuss topics including Austin Community College (ACC) partnership for dual enrollment and Early College High School (ECHS), attendance area changes with the opening of Middle School No. 11, and the creation of a teacher career path that rewards talented instructors to remain in the classroom.

Workshops are held in the Board Room at the RRISD Administration building, not at Round Rock High School in the 100 building lecture hall, where the Board meets monthly on the third Thursday with a live video stream. If you would like more details, please visit the agenda page on the RRISD Board Docs.

 

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Early College High School and Austin Community College

Round Rock ISD and ACC presented updates to the partnership for ECHS and dual credit courses. The proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), structured for four years with annual review, would include the installation of seven portable buildings in 2016-2017 and an additional three portables in 2017-2018 to serve 125 students and 250 students. ACC will pay to prepare and maintain the site, while RRISD will take on the acquisition, installation and maintenance of the buildings. RRISD Trustees also discussed the concern of the social and emotional needs of ECHS students while attending college classes. Students would be phased into college courses through ECHS and would include additional counseling services through RRISD and ACC.

ACC President Dr. Richard Rhodes discussed pending changes to the payment structure for dual credit courses for students in traditional high schools. Due to the change in state appropriations allocated to community colleges and the removal of the cap on dual credit courses high school students can take, ACC may need to charge students $100 for enrollment into dual credit courses, starting in Fall 2017. Trustees from both RRISD and ACC discussed the possible arrangement, including the upcoming state legislative session and the biennium budget. The college hopes to avoid a fee, but needs additional revenue to operate.

Quotables
“The students who make the commitment to go to Early College High School are not there to play around. I think we’re going to see wonderful things in those classrooms and out into the students’ communities.”
RRISD Board President Paul Tisch

“We must find ways to support enrichment. There are four options. Either the legislature will find funding, which will make us all happy; ACC will pay for it; Round Rock ISD will pay for it; or parents will need to pay.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Flores

[Presentation, RRISD Selects ECHS Principal]

 

Attendance Areas Change Plans, Processes, and Policies

Trustees reviewed policy FC (Local) in evaluating the process and timeline for making changes to attendance areas. In alignment with policy, the district will begin the boundary process with a single change recommendation in September 2016, followed by a minimum of two community hearings in October 2016, a review of the hearings and a final recommendation at the October 20, 2016 Regular Meeting, and an action item for the November 17, 2016 regular meeting. Middle School No. 11 will open in August 2017 on Pearson Ranch Road, across from England Elementary School.

In discussing a proposal by administration at the April 22, 2016 regular meeting, the Board decided to continue with a tight discussion timeline, opting to not do surveys, forums, or focus groups, based on feedback from past attendance area changes. Trustees provided Bob Templeton of Templeton Demographics, the district’s third party partner, a list of guiding principles to guide the creation of an attendance area change proposal. The RRISD Board of Trustees Guiding Principles for Changes to Attendance Areas are as follows:

  • safety of our students,
  • vertical alignment,
  • demographic balance,
  • hazardous routes,
  • enrollment capacity, and
  • proximity.

Guiding Principles are to be considered in evaluating changes to attendance areas. Some principles may conflict with each other. Opening Middle School No. 11 will alleviate Walsh and Cedar Valley middle schools. Policy also allows eighth grade students the opportunity to choose between staying at their current school or joining their newly assigned school after an attendance area change.

[Guiding Principles, FC (Local)]

 

Salary Study and Teacher Career Paths

The Texas Association of School Boards HR Services presented a Pay System Review. The report recommended adjustments to the salaries of various positions. Round Rock ISD would benefit from the design of a teacher career pathway to better compensate talented and experienced educators, according to the report. TASB recommended RRISD integrate teacher and counselor pay ranges with other educator pathways and build a stronger career pathway for teacher leaders and specialists. The cost of making the recommended adjustments, as well as a 2 percent general pay increase, would cost $6.2 million, according to a report by the RRISD Human Resources Services team. Accounting for the recommendations and a 1.5 percent increase would cost $5 million. Before making a decision, the Board asked to also see the impact of a 3 percent salary increase at a future meeting.
[TASB Salary Study, RRISD HR Presentation]

 

Quotables
“This proposal is about building more opportunities for teachers being leaders and experts in their areas. It’s about the job role and experiences, not performance, rewarding teachers for their talents and abilities.”
Cindy Clegg, TASB Director of HR Services