FISD looks at remaining 2006 bonds

During its regular Jan. 14, 2019 meeting, the Forney Independent School District Board met and in summary: honored Keith Bell, accepted donated land, approved buying more land, selling $21 million in bonds, renewing Superintendent Dr. Terry for a year.

  • U. S. Flag - Secondary Student-of-the-Month, Keane Ramos, 7th Grade Student at Warren Middle School
    Mr. Josh Garcia, Principal at Warren Middle School said Keane plays football and basketball, takes advanced classes reading & science.
  • Texas Pledge - Elementary Student-of-the-Month, Lester Willis, 6th Grade Student at Blackburn Elementary
    Ms. Courtney Parker, Principal for Blackburn Elementary School said Lester is a member of student council, has an infectious smile, he works hard to overcome any obstacles and is a good role model for students.
  • Forney Family Legacy Award - Ms. Kim Morisak said Rep. Keith Bell is the recipient, then introduced former superintendent Suzy McWilliams, who praised her time working with Mr. Bell, his help in starting the Forney Education Foundation, and getting the FISD out of the financial problem. A video about Mr. Bell was shown. Mr. Bell talked about planned efforts regarding school funding by the state.
  • All-State Academic
    • Forney High School Girls Cross Country: Drisany Hernandez - First Team, Hana Powell - First Team
    • North Forney High Volleyball: Jayden Thompson - First Team, Riley Borton - Second Team, Kaitlyn Fitch - Second Team
    • Forney High School Volleyball: Halle O'Pry - First Team, Hannah Yudizky - First Team
    • North Forney High Football: Clifford Funderburk, Jr - Second Team, Roby Robinson - Second Team, John Taylor - Second Team, Camron Rogers - Honorable Mention
    • North Forney High Trainers: Austin Baty - Second Team, Chelsea Harrington - Honorable Mention
    • Forney High Football: Jake Palmer - Second Team, Sean Stephens - Second Team, Peyton Johnson - Honorable Mention, Elijah Stewart - Honorable Mention

  • School Board Recognition Month - Dr. Justin Terry, Superintendent of Schools, presented a video from students and board member children, then students from various campuses presented gift baskets to board members.
  • Public Comment
  • Texas A&M Eco-Resilience Grant and Partnership Presentation - Ms. Morisak introduced Dr. Hector Rivera from A&M who overviewed the Eco-Resilience NPD partnership. He said highest enrollment is from FISD, even though the program includes Dallas and Garland. He said the high level of professional development was not an accident. He presented a participation award to Mr. Pharris and Dr. Terry.
  • Monthly Financial Report Mr. John Chase, Chief Financial Officer said revenue is at 26% compared to last year 28%. Tax collections will pick up in next month's report.
  • Board Self-Evaluation - Mr. Greg Pharris reviewed the process and thanked the board for their input.
  • Forney Focus Update - Ms. Morisak showed a video about student programs and the future-ready curriculum. They have introduced a program that allows parents to see what their kids are doing on the FISD chromebooks, and a program call Edugence. Various security programs are being implemented - "connected kids don't kill." Floor plans have been provided to police departments, Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training has been provided, threat assessment tools have been implemented. They have updated camera systems on all buses. They will partner with the Flippen Group - "if you have a child's heart, you have their mind."
  • Master Planning Update - Ms. Morisak introduced Mr. Gallagher to show progress - working on learning stairs and library. Ceiling grids will go in 1st wk of Feb. Mr. Carroll asked if they were ahead of schedule - Gallagher said he's happy with the schedule, they hope to be done w/ new construction by summer, so can do remodel in June. FLA - could have grand opening on Jan 24th. Johnson sewer work was completed over Christmas, as well as Blackburn work: removed sidewalks and worked on drainage.
        Ms. Morisak said they have a 9.2% student growth, 4 big pockets: Travis Ranch and around Lewis, Devonshire and around Crobsy, Windmill Farms around Brown and Blackburn, and the Gateway PD near Henderson. Building one new school is not preferable to expansion: They plan to add 10 classrooms at 4 campuses, and add 4 at Criswell by renovation and reorganizing space. This will save about 40% vs a new campus. She introduced architects from Huckabee who presented documents - this is the first phase (of 5), they are asking approval to move to design phase. They presented proposed building changes. For the 10 classroom additions, they will meet with city regarding the safe-room requirements. Mr. Carroll asked what extra capacity is - going from 600 to 900. Mr. Pharris asked if using 2 office spaces - Ms. Morisak said they will gain 2 classrooms from the library remodel. She showed work planned for Criswell, adding new classrooms by remodeling.
        Mr. O'Connor spoke about land acquisition - prefer donated land from area builders. Devonshire and Gateway have met FISD standards. Devonshire donating 13.9 acres; Gateways is donating 16 acres. It's been a team effort to get builders to donate land. Purchase of 230 acres (N. of Criswell, N. corner of 740 & Ranch Rd) where they will have many options; FISD owns 35 acres adjoining.
        Mr. Chase reviewed financial outlook: in 2015 were still recovering from the 2008 housing collapse, student growth slowed due to development stopping. Debt model from 2015 assumed property value growth of 2.7% with 230 new students per year, could have taken taxes from 50c to 70c. Interest rates were low so they refinanced bonds, this will be 3rd year paid off debt early. Average property value growth has been 15.5%, adding 548 students per year. Assumptions now are future growth of 4.9% and 695 students annually. District is in very good shape - amazing what good property rates, low interest rates and paying debt early can do. Do have capacity for future facility needs. Goodyear plant will add income, which is not in the models.
        Ms. Morisak said have expanded campuses as much as possible. Mr. Carroll said Mr. Bell spoke about the two major issues in Austin: property tax and school finance. What if the legislature compresses tax rate from 4.7% to 2%? Mr. Chase said compression would be on M&O, not debt - it would not be awesome for them. He assumes they would supplement decreases in tax revenue, as did in 2005. Dr Terry said these numbers are very conservative. Mr. Pharris verified that any income from Goodyear is not included.
        Dr. Terry complimented the board on approaches taken over last 5 years. FISD has bonding capacity to build for the future.
  • Approved as one consent item:
    • Budget Amendment
    • Class Size Waivers
    • Selection of Competitive Sealed Proposal as the Contracting Method for Reroofing Criswell Elementary

  • Approved 2019-2020 Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Position Additions - Mr. Carroll asked if 81 positions gets close to 10:1, but what about the extra growth? Mr chase said should have added 93 staff last year, only did 76. They will collect state revenue for extra students, but the payment won't arrive until Sept. which in next Fiscal Year. Legislature says they will try to fix funding formula, which could help. Mr. Carroll said not expecting 9% growth is good, but what if need more personnel. Mr. Chase said it's a fine line to walk. Dr. Terry said are in biennium, they can always come back to board to ask for more FTE if get increased funds. Mr. Johnson asked if they were watching this close - Mr Chase said don't expect 800 more, there are always no-shows at beginning of year; he doesn't want to staff too much. They get enrollment reports every week. They will review staff needs in July. Dr. Terry said will get w /demographers next Quarter.

  • Approved Contract for audit services for another year - Mr. Chase said audit been done by same firm 3 years; in private practice required to change audit lead every 5 years. Board doesn't have to accept presented. He sees no reason why current auditor can't provide service. Ms. Dobbs asked if auditors fees were about the same; Mr. Chase said previous auditor was more expensive, law prohibits choosing auditor by price, only by qualifications.
  • Approved an order authorizing the issuance of Forney Independent School District unlimited tax school building bonds, Series 2019; levying a tax and providing for the security and payment thereof; providing for the award of the sale thereof in accordance with specified parameters; approving the preparation of an official statement; and enacting other provisions relating thereto.
        Mr. Chase said approved designs for school additions, have 20.4 million in authorized non-issued bonds + 1.1 million for land acquisition. Levying the $21 million will add about 1.3 million to annual debt service for 30 years. Over 10 years averages 2.4 cents to taxing capacity. The first 6 years tax rate will be 40 - 50 cents. Can service with tax rate of 50 cents, would urge board to maintain that rate, to allow paying off debt early.
        Mr. Darrick Eugene with Powell & Leon said last year issued part of 2006 approved bonds to pay for projects done by Gallagher. These documents will be presented to TX AG office, who has to approve bond issuance. Mr. Johnson asked if included income from Goodyear - no. Mr. Chase said in September did early call on debt, includes that, rest is all based on residential growth.
        Dr. Terry said have really squeezed this dry, recommends the issuance.
  • Approved donation of real property to Forney ISD consisting of approximately 13.94 acres located in Gateway Parks, a development in city of Forney.
    Dr. O'Connor, said the 13.9 acres met their RFP, so isn't swamp-land, has infrastructure. Developers have a buy-back clause: if FISD doesn't develop in 7 years they get the property back. They continue to talk to other builders about sites.
        Devonshire was easy to work with for 16 acres. Dr. Terry complimented city and county for sending developers to FISD. Mr. O'Connor agreed. Mr. Carroll asked if infrastructure and retention issues were resolved w/ Gateway - yes.
  • Approved donation of real property to Forney ISD consisting of approximately 16.364 acres located in Devonshire, a development in Kaufman County
        Mr. Carroll asked if naming rights issue was resolved - yes, the school can name it and add - Devonshire.
  • Approved the purchase of real property consisting of approximately 229.369 acres, described as Kaufman County Appraisal District Property ID NOS. 9220, 9221, 9222 and 9223, located in Abstract No. 286, out of the J. Lopez Survey, Kaufman County
        Dr. Rob O'Connor said they have been searching, large properties are hard to find. Gallagher said this is a great tool for the district to have. Dr. Terry said this is a blessing to find, as well a previous owner being a supporter of education.
  • Held a 70-minute executive session re:

    • Employment of Professional Contract Personnel
    • Pursuit of Sanctions for Educator Abandonment of Contract
    • Superintendent's Summative Evaluation and Contract

  • Approved employment of professional contract personnel as discussed in closed session
  • Approved authorizing Superintendent to pursue sanctions for educator abandonment of contract as discussed in closed session
  • Approved the Superintendent's summative evaluation and extension of superintendent term contract for One Year as discussed in closed session.
    Approved extending superintendent's contract for a year.
  • Adjourned at 2234
Monday, 2019, January 14