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Seen and Heard at the July School Board Meeting

Posted Date: 07/29/2022

Seen and Heard at the July School Board Meeting

July 18, 2022During his Superintendent’s Report, Doug Loomis presented information about plans for developing a student benefits-based accountability system that would be driven by local stakeholders and based on what the community believes is important.  This system, which is the brainchild of John Tanner with bravEd, would not replace the state accountability system, but would work alongside it. The plan is to pilot a local accountability system starting in seven AISD schools.  Mr. Tanner will be in the District on August 11 and 12 to work with AISD leadership, Board members and principals of seven schools to begin the process.

The Board listened to and discussed reports from Athletics Director Brad Thiessen, Music Education Director Chris Reidlinger, and Arts Director Denise Olson regarding student participation numbers, program costs, staffing, facilities, and student honors in athletics and fine arts.

Trustees adopted revised Board Policy EF(LOCAL) Instructional Resources.  After extensive input from District teachers, principals, librarians, instructional team members and parents, Administration recommended the revised policy, specifically to address provisions related to school library books. The policy revisions include additions to the list of criteria to select instructional resources, including library books; provisions regarding additional parent communication about which books students are checking out and reading; and improvement in processes for parents or other stakeholders to be able to address concerns about  library books and other instructional resources.

In other business, the Board approved Phase 2 of the shoring project at Austin Middle School. Phase 2 will extend the useable life of the building to about 10 years, buying additional time for a more permanent solution to be found for school building structural issues.  The shoring will address both significant and moderate areas of corrosion in the metal structure under the foundation of the first floor.  The Board also approved work to finish a renovation project at Austin that was included in the 2017 Bond projects, but postponed due to the discovery of the foundation issues. 

Trustees approved the 2022-2023 Student Code of Conduct and reviewed the Student Handbook, which included a few changes to the dress code. The Board also approved an interlocal agreement with Amarillo College for the use of AmTech Career Academy’s machining lab after school hours, and they selected an engineer for roof replacement and repairs at Amarillo and Palo Duro high schools.

The Board approved several measures to strengthen safety and security across campuses.  These measures include the purchase of solid core doors and classroom function door locks for all classrooms. The solid core doors will replace any doors that currently have windows in them, at a total cost of $811,200. Classroom function door locks will lock automatically every time a door is closed and would require a key or an electronic fob to open. The cost to install these locks in the 2,600 classrooms across AISD is $422,838. Additionally, air-conditioning will be added in all elementary gyms so that gym doors will no longer need to be propped open for ventilation purposes. The District’s Maintenance staff will do this work in-house and should have the installations completed within one year, at a total cost of $598,446. 

Trustees also approved the selection of Shiver Megert & Associates as the architect to design the perimeter fencing project for middle and elementary schools, another important security measure.

Finally, Board members thanked those who gave donations to AISD and its schools this month.  A total of $30,117.71 worth of gifts was given by the Woodlands Elementary PTO, the Alex O’Brien Tennis Foundation, and Winston Water Cooler.