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Seen and Heard at the September 2022 School Board Meeting

Posted Date: 09/29/2022

Seen and Heard at the September 2022 School Board Meeting

September 19, 2022 — The September Board meeting began with an announcement that Amarillo ISD received a score of 100 and a “Superior Achievement” rating on the 2022 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) Annual Management Report, which assigns ratings to school districts based on their financial performance. “Superior Achievement” is the highest rating given in the FIRST system. 

Trustees heard a report from Assistant Superintendent Jessica Cardenas regarding reading/language arts content-based curriculum that is in the first year of widespread implementation in AISD elementary schools. The state-provided curriculum was piloted at three AISD schools last year and is expanded to all but three elementary schools this year. Dr. Cardenas said the curriculum provides rigorous, engaging lessons with a goal of bringing all students up to grade level in reading. She said the curriculum will be shared with parents via the District website and parent meetings so they can see what their students are learning. The Board also heard from Special Education Director Kelly Morrison on dyslexia instruction in AISD.  In 2021-2022, more than 1,900 AISD students were in the dyslexia program.

The Board set the Amarillo ISD tax rate for 2022. The total estimated tax levy, based on current property values and an AISD tax rate of $1.0847 per $100 of taxable value, is $118,441,997 for Potter and Randall counties. This represents the total revenue AISD can expect to receive from local taxpayers for the 2022-2023 budget. The 2022 tax rate is lower than last year, and even with higher appraisal values in Amarillo, most homeowners will see a reduction in their tax bill this year. This is due to a statewide 10 percent cap on taxable value increases in a given year, as well as the increase in the state homestead exemption amount from $25,000 to $40,000, which was approved by voters last May. 

The Board adopted several local policy revisions, including changes resulting from laws passed by the 87th Legislature, regular and called sessions. Trustees also appointed seven new members to the School Health Advisory Council, or SHAC. As required by law, the Board also adopted a resolution authorizing SHAC to convene and make recommendations regarding instruction for students on the prevention of child abuse, family violence, dating violence, and sex-trafficking. 

In keeping with the District’s initiative to improve safety and security at all campuses, the Board selected Brown Consulting Engineers, LLC, as the firm to design an HVAC replacement project for middle school and high school gymnasiums that will provide proper heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in the gyms so that doors and windows can remain secured.  Trustees also selected USI Southwest, Inc. to serve as a consultant for the District’s employee benefits plan.

Finally, trustees acknowledged gifts and donations totaling $43,642, given to various schools from Covenant Presbyterian Church Women’s Group, Shilpa Shah, Thomas and Whitney Maldonado, Cody and Lezly Welch, Mary Frances Dixon, Allstate Security, Central Church of Christ, the Puckett Elementary PTA, Gilliland Family Foundation, the Belmar Elementary Booster Club, Pete and Celinda Ledger, Micro Technologies, South Georgia Baptist Church, Thanh Nguyen and Vinh Le, Dr. and Mrs. Timothy Risko, the Ridgecrest Elementary PTO, Mr. and Mrs. Josh Ashley, Toya McLeod, and R & R Diesel.