Superintendent's Message

Welcome to Burnet CISD. Located in the Hill Country, Burnet CISD is spread out over 700 square miles and serves 3,200 students in 6 campuses. Burnet CISD has a rich history of excellence in academics and extracurricular activities, and is committed to CRAFTING the FUTURE. That future is as unique as each of our students. For some that means preparing them for college or a trade school, while others it means preparing them to earn a certification or enter the workforce with demonstrable skills. Our students are excelling inside the classroom and outside the classroom. I am proud to be the superintendent of Burnet CISD and to be a member of this wonderful community. You will find that there is a real sense of care and community within the District. If I can be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact me.
 
To find out more about Keith McBurnett, click HERE.
 
February 26, 2024
This past Saturday was a wonderful celebration of all things Burnet CISD at the annual Burnet Chamber of Commerce Banquet. The District honored the 11th group of inductees to the Burnet CISD Hall of Honor along with the Burnet CISD Teacher of the Year and the recipient of the Andy Feild Spirit, Pride, and Honor Award of Distinction. It was a special evening honoring people that make up the fabric of Burnet CISD and the Burnet community. The honorees this year include:

      • Distinguished Former Burnet CISD School Board Member- Joy Taylor
      • Distinguished Former Burnet High School Athlete- Mitchell Maxwell
      • Distinguished Burnet High School Graduate- Dr. Monica Lopes Horton
      • Distinguished Former Burnet CISD Employee- Billie Burkett Miller
      • The Andy Feild Spirit, Pride, and Honor Award of Distinction- Donald Fawcett
      • Burnet CISD District Teacher of the Year- Tiffany Myers
 
In the way they each live their lives, our honorees have answered what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said is, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question- What are you doing for others?”  We thank them all for their contribution. In addition to their names being added to perpetual plaques, a brief story on each honoree will be posted on the District’s web site at www.burnetcisd.net.

Burnet County will be the epicenter of one of the biggest astronomical events in decades when a total eclipse of the sun occurs at about 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 8, 2024 (Totality will begin at 1:34 p.m. and end at 1:39 p.m.) Expected to draw tourists from around the world, the phenomenon will not be fully visible again in this region for another 360 years. Because of the thousands of tourists that are expected to be in our area on this day, April 8 will be a school holiday for all staff and students. Burnet County has provided the following tips for us locals:

      • Expect heavy traffic Thursday 4/4 – Tuesday 4/9. Especially Monday, 4/8.
      • Burnet, Lampasas, Lometa, Llano & Marble Falls schools are closed Monday, 4/8.
      • Fill up your gas tank the weekend prior to the eclipse.
      • Stock up on supplies ahead of time (groceries, water, prescriptions, etc.).
      • Be sure to pick up eclipse glasses to ensure viewing of the eclipse safely!
      • Do not schedule appointments or errands to be run on 4/8.
      • Coordinate with your employer the possibility of working from home or have a plan for the additional traffic on your work commute.
      • Note that cell and internet service will be overwhelmed with additional crowds.
      • Be sure to have a back-up communication plan.
      • Be mindful that all local aid and first responders will be in extreme demand during this event.
 
Except during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely blocks the Sun's bright face, it is not safe to look directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing. On April 8, 2024 that will last for over 4 minutes and 20 seconds here in Burnet County. The only safe way to view an eclipse during all other points of contact is to use specialized glasses, an eclipse viewer or observe indirectly with a pinhole projection. Burnet CISD will be distributing one free pair of eclipse glasses to all staff and students on Friday, April 5.

To learn more about the eclipse in Burnet County check out the following website: https://www.highlandlakesofburnetcounty.com/eclipse-2024/

 

staff shout outs

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.
 
From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Katy Brewer, RJ Richey Elementary“Katy is a shining star! She brightens any room she walks into. She loves her students, always remains calm, and is an amazing team player!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Shaylah Cunningham, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Cunningham has high expectations for her students. I love that she shows them love all while pushing them to grow as students and humans.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Camryn Kappelmann, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Kappelmann is always so sweet and kind to the students and her coworkers. She does not hesitate to lend a helping hand or share a kind word. She remains calm in tough situations.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Veronica Villarreal, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Veronica loves her students! She consistently goes above and beyond to meet their needs. She always puts the kids first. RJ is so fortunate to have her. Keep it up!”

From: Burnet CISD Community Member
To: Mary Allen, Bertram Elementary
“Mrs. Allen is always so helpful in the morning in the car rider line; helping the kids get out of the car, opening up the car doors, and making sure the kids get out safe. When it was freezing last month, she was the only one standing in the line helping the kids. My granddaughter gets so excited to see Mrs. Allen every morning. Without her in the morning car rider line would be a disaster.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Garrick Jones, Transportation
“Garrick has stepped into the lead mechanic position with a bang! He has taken everything that was thrown at him in stride. He also drives a bus when needed (has been needed every day). Transportation is very lucky to have such a conscientious, hard-working employee. BCISD is grateful to have him.”

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!

 

 
February 20, 2024
Good evening! I hope you found today’s non-student day beneficial as we prepare for the 5th six weeks of school. Hang in there! We are just a short 3-weeks from Spring Break, and then the final push to the end of the school year. Now is the time for all of us to recommit to our plans and actions so that we can ensure that we Finish Strong!
 
FS
 
Most of what we hear about elections in the media and among friends is focused on the November election for President of the United States. However, our state and local elections have a direct impact on our lives and our community.

The March 5 Texas primary elections are fast approaching, giving all of us a critical opportunity to decide who will be on the ballot in November. When you register to vote in Texas, you do not register as a member of one party or another. As a result, Texas has what is known as an open primary, which means that any registered voter can choose to vote in either party’s primary election — regardless of how you have voted in the past.

Only 18 percent of registered Texas voters participated in our state’s last primary, which was in March 2022. In other words, most voters do not participate in these often-decisive elections.

Please consider voting in the primary election of your choice this spring. Learn about the candidates and decide where you most want your voice to be heard. Early voting begins TOMORROW, February 20 and lasts until March 1, while Election Day is March 5. I also encourage you to vote in any runoff elections that will be held later in the spring in elections where no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary. Voter turnout in runoff elections is typically even lower than in primaries.

Why does this matter?
      • Legislative decisions greatly impact our schools, teachers, and students.
      • Over $5 billion in public school funding was recently denied because there was not support for the proposed private school vouchers program.
      • The primary election will decide future public education funding and policies.
 
The Board of Trustees met this evening for their regular February Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.

The pledges to the flags were led by the following Burnet Middle School students: Cheyenne Lowe and Davis Boorman.

The meeting kicked off by recognizing Students of the Month at Burnet High School and Quest High School. BHS Students of the Month are Tatum Salinas and Luke Hudgins. These students were selected from the Social Studies Department.

The Quest High School Student of the Month is Kaitlyn Reece.

The Board recognized the following athletes for competing at the UIL Swim & Dive State Meet:
      • Girls 200 Medley Relay (7th Place Finish) – Brynlie Tappe, Grace Laura Duran, Caroline Lunsford, & Emma Collins
      • Girls 200 Free Relay – Caroline Lunsford, Emma Collins, Brynlie Tappe, and Grace Laura Duran
      • Boys 200 Free Relay – Jack Milliorn, Levi Kleen, Grant Roberts, & Stellan Zollitsch
      • 100 Free – Caroline Lundsford
      • 100 Back – Caroline Lundsford
      • 100 Fly – Grant Roberts
      • 100 Free – Stellan Zollitsch
 
Chief Financial Officer Clay Goehring provided the District monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report.  As part of a financial action item that occurs quarterly, the Board approved the 2nd quarter budget amendment for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. This included adding funds to the Special Programs budget. The number of students in special populations has increased, thus increasing the need for additional special services. These additional students did also generate additional funding to cover a portion of the additional expenses.

Board President Earl Foster provided a brief update on the Superintendent Search Process. The first round of interviews will take place on February 20 and 21, and seven candidates will be interviewed. The second round of interviews are scheduled for the week of February 26. A Lone Finalist will possibly be named that same week.

Filing for a place on the ballot for the School Board Election began Wednesday, January 17, and ended on Friday, February 16 at 5:00 p.m. The following candidates have filed to run for a place on the Board of Trustees and will be listed on the ballot for the Saturday, May 4 School Board Election. Early voting will take place April 22-30.
      • Place 2- Angela Moore
      • Place 4- Ross Behrens
      • Place 5- Katy Duke and Amber Cardenas
      • Place 6- David Bennett
 
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rachel Jones provided information to the Board regarding the new course offering at BHS this year, Personal Financial Literacy and Economics. This was recently-approved by the SBOE as an option to fulfill graduation requirements. The TEKS for the course can be found HERE.

Campus Principals provided the Board with an update on their prioritized Campus Improvement Plan actions from the fall, and Dr. Jones provided information on prioritized District actions. A copy of the slides from the presentation is attached.

The Board formally accepted Superintendent Keith McBurnett’s resignation effective June 30, 2024.

The Board approved a resolution approving the sale of property located at 607 N. Vandeveer to Burnet County and authorizing the Superintendent to finalize the sales contract with Burnet County. This is the old Burnet Elementary school property. This sale is for only the land and buildings south of Tate Street that splits the campus (See diagram below). The buildings on the property are at the end of life as instructional spaces. The County is currently occupying many of the spaces on the property. This sale does not include the building or land associated with Quest High School (north of Tate Street). The District is maintaining ownership of Quest High School in order for it to be occupied as such by 2025-2026. The expectation is for the sale to be finalized in the next 90-120 days. 
 
Map
 
The meeting adjourned at 7:37 p.m. The Board of Trustees will hold its first Budget Workshop on March 4 at 6:00 p.m. and its next Regular Meeting is scheduled for March 25 at 6:00 p.m. 
 
staff shout outs
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Mrs. H, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. H is one of the best supports on Campus. She is always willing to help out, whether it's watching the class for bathroom break or stepping in as "bailiff". She always has a smile on her face and is someone that you can rely on!”

From: Burnet CISD Community Member
To: Michael Everett, Facilities & Operations
“Michael is always so kind, He has a great spirit and a great work ethic. He always has a smile on his face and always willing to help. BCISD is very lucky to have someone like this working for them. Thank you, Michael, for all you do for our school district.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Allison Pape, Bertram Elementary
“Mrs. Pape goes above and beyond for her students! She strives to make sure their strengths shine through and helps find solutions to their individual weaknesses throughout the school day. We are truly blessed our daughter has the privilege of having Mrs. Pape as her teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Pape, for the countless hours you put in for your students! We love you!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Dana Faust, Burnet Middle School
“Dana Faust is an excellent teacher and special education case manager. She truly cares about every one of her students and works tirelessly to help them succeed.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Coach Couch, Burnet High School
“Thankful that our son has had the opportunity to have Coach Couch this year in athletics. He's done great things for our son all year long, he's invested in these boys and coaches hard but loves them harder. As a parent it feels great to know your child is supported by his Coach, that he truly cares about him.”

From: Burnet CISD Student
To: Megan Farley, Burnet Middle School
“Mrs. Farley has taught me so much. She is so trusting and she shows respect to all of us students. She is a very good educator and person. Thank you Mrs. Farley.”

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!
 
February 12, 2024
Happy early Valentine’s Day! I am sure that I don’t have to remind anyone that Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. I have specific memories of being in elementary school and making, what seemed at the time, very important decisions about which friends got which Valentine’s Day cards from the multi-pack we bought at the local Gibson’s store. I also remember that Valentine’s Day class parties meant bean dip and Fritos- the best combination ever! Awe… memories.

There is research out there that indicates those who intentionally recall and savor positive memories experience a greater enjoyment of life. So, "Remembering when" with others can instantly make you happier. That brings me to this short story I wanted to share with you.

          Love in a Salsa Jar
          By Cynthia Dobbs from Stillwater, Oklahoma 
 
          ”Happy Valentine’s Day, honey,” my husband said, handing me a simple glass jar with a red lid. 
 
          “I see you’ve recycled the salsa jar, Destry.” I grinned eagerly, excited to see what he’d come up with this time.
         
          A few years earlier we’d decided that for Valentine’s Day, we would only exchange gifts we had made ourselves. No stuffed animals, no candy and definitely nothing           heart-shaped unless it was cut out of construction paper with our own scissors. The gifts that we gave each other were so much more thoughtful. I’d made him oil               paintings and recreated dishes we’d had at some of our favorite date restaurants. Destry had once planted new flowers in the garden, and he’d hand-painted vases             with my name. And now this old salsa jar full of paper. I unscrewed the top and peered inside. 
 
          “You read one a day,” Destry said as I pulled out a slip of paper. 
 
          “Do you remember the Cheyenne Diner?” I read aloud. I almost laughed. How could I forget? It was our favorite diner in New York City. We’d fallen in love over                    plates of fries, midnight breakfasts and slices of pie bigger than my head. I reached in for another note. 
 
          “Do you remember the boy’s green donut?” The green donut had been a plush toy our son had loved to chew on when he was a baby. We’d been thrilled when he              finally gave it up. 
 
          I pulled out another note. Then another. And another, until I had gone through them all. Everyone had just a single line: “Do you remember…?” By the time I’d                     finished, there were tears in my eyes. 
 
          “Thank you,” I said, pulling my husband into a hug. It was a Valentine that kept on giving. Whenever I needed an extra dose of love, I popped into that salsa jar for a            shared memory.

“Do you remember?” is a simple question that can have a very positive effect on all of us. Don’t tell Pat, but I think I am going to give her a salsa jar full of questions for us to enjoy reflecting upon over dinner.
 

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Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: BJ Gates, Central Office
“Ms. Gates is always so responsive and quick to help. We truly appreciate her at RJ Richey for coming to provide coverage in areas of need!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jana Townsend, RJ Richey Elementary
“Ms. Townsend is always so patient with students, staff, and parents and is giving of her time. She finds ways to support students and families in need and connect them with the resources to help. She has taken on leadership roles that truly benefit the campus and we are so thankful to have her at RJ.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Katherine Bridgeman & Teresa Griggs, Transportation
“Katherine and Teresa are a fantastic SPED team! They are always willing to help out and have taken on many challenges this year without any hesitation. We appreciate all that they do to help us keep the department running and get the kiddos home safely.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Monte Hamilton, Sandy Arrington, & Celena Lainez, Transportation
“Monte, Sandy and Celena help to make sure our SPED kiddos get to and from school safely. They have been asked to sub on routes, change plans and help pick up additional students when we have to combine routes, sometimes at the last minute. Their flexibility and willingness to help out has not gone unnoticed and we appreciate all that they do to help.”

From: Burnet CISD Student
To: Kara Baker, Bertram Elementary
“Mrs. Baker is a great teacher!”

From: Burnet CISD Student
To: Mrs. Maddie and Mrs. Whitis, Burnet Middle School
“They are just so sweet, amazing, and awesome. I love them and they are my favorite.”

From: Burnet CISD Student
To: Coach Hightower, Burnet Middle School
“She is such an inspirational person and she does not give up when times get hard.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Shannan Thurman, Quest School
“Shakespeare would say, "How do I love thee; let me count the ways." Where Shannan Thurman is concerned, I say, "How do I appreciate you; let me count the ways." Shannan is great at her job. She's friendly and professional to everyone who visits campus, keeps accurate records, documents as needed, but that’s just the beginning. In addition, she supervises students going to the restroom, helps with lunch, puts together packets for incoming students, decorates posters for Board members, coordinates lovely luncheons, and, most important, makes everyone feel welcomed and loved all with a delightful sense of humor. Shannan Thurman is definitely a blessing to the HLAC/QUEST campus.

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Jessica Kelly, Shady Grove Elementary
“Mrs. Kelly is the absolute best! She always keeps us informed of important dates in a timely fashion. She lets us know if there will be a substitute so we can prep the kids. But most of all, she is an incredible educator. She has amazing classroom control and my child genuinely loves her. He talks about her all the time. He loves doing his homework, and telling us what he learned in class. And she even arranged for a baby kangaroo to come to school! I hope our daughter has her when she goes to kindergarten.”

From: Burnet CISD Student
To: Lindsey Ringstaff, Burnet Middle School
“Mrs. Ringstaff has taught me so much and has shown me so much grace. She came into my life when I needed her most and she has built me up to be the dancer I am today. She has challenged me so much for the better and has really made me who I am today. She is truly a blessing and a great teacher & coach.

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Rachel Cohen, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Cohen has been so supportive to us and our daughter this year. From 504 and ARD meetings to investigating and communicating behavioral issues with us. She is so good with her words, supportive and firm (the perfect mix). I’m grateful that she’s so involved and invested in the students and their parents.”I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!
 
February 5, 2024
Dear Staff,

The UIL Lone Star Cup standings for the fall were released recently, and Burnet High School is currently ranked 29th out of 220 4A high schools in Texas. For those that don’t know, the UIL Lone Star Cup honors the best overall athletic, academic, and fine arts programs in Texas and is open to all UIL participanting high schools. The secret to this competition is you can’t be good at just one thing and do well in the Lone Star Cup. Kudos to our students for their outstanding performances and to our coaches, directors, and sponsors that inspire our students to do their very best!

Tonight, you have the opportunity to cheer on our students that participate in spring sports at the Meet the Bulldogs celebration. The Booster Club will begin serving a free hotdog meal at 6:00 p.m. in the BHS Gym Foyer, and the team introductions will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the BHS Gym. I hope you will join us in cheering on the Bulldogs!

This week we will also be celebrating the 100th day of school on Wednesday! I guess I should clarify and say that our elementary teachers and students will be celebrating the 100th day of school on Wednesday. Our high school and middle school teachers and students, not so much. Which, as I am writing this, reminds me of this meme that makes me laugh every time I see it! 
image.png

 The superintendent search process will reach an important milestone next Monday as the Board will meet to review applications and select the candidates that will be interviewed. Thirty nine applications were submitted during the application window, and the Board will review all of the applications through the lens of the characteristics and qualities gathered through the survey and feedback sessions. 

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Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brooke Fox, Bertram Elementary
“It takes a strong person, and a very patient person to work with one of the students she works with even though he can be hard sometimes, she sticks with it and does an awesome job with him.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Karley Smith, RJ Richey Elementary
“Karley is an amazing team player. She's a hard worker, and more importantly, lifts people up when they need it. She is smart and dedicated; I don't know what I would do without her.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Krystal Petreccia, RJ Richey Elementary
“Krystal is an amazing coworker. She is hardworking and helps people out without being asked. I am thrilled that I get to work with her!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: David Trower, Burnet High School
“Many thanks to Mr. Trower for helping me to plan and host the Gifted and Talented Family Night. There was an awesome turnout and families had a wonderful time. Thank you for helping to make it a success--you are appreciated!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Sarah Allen, Bertram Elementary
“She has given my daughter tools to grow both academically and personally!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Angie Beyer, Burnet High School
“During the process of FAFSA, applying to colleges, and scholarships it has become VERY apparent to me that we are blessed to have Angie Beyer as a valuable resource! She is well-informed, answers all questions, will find the answers for you if she doesn't know them, and does it with a smile. She has been a lifesaver in her assistance in my daughter's future education.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Ashton Medrano, Shady Grove Elementary
“I truly believe Mrs. Medrano will be one of those teachers my daughter forever remembers solely for the relationship she has built with her. When my daughter talks about her teacher or tells stories about school, I can tell she trusts, respects, and loves Mrs. Medrano with her whole heart. And vice versa! When Mrs. Medrano speaks about my daughter I can feel the genuine love, care, and respect for her. She has taken the time to really get to know her students. I am confident my daughter is safe at school and there’s no better feeling than that alone. Beyond that, she has exceeded in her efforts to help my daughter overcome her struggles with reading. I couldn’t be more grateful for Mrs. Medrano’s role in my daughter’s life.”
 
From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Priscilla Reardon, Burnet Middle School
“She is always willing to help any of my Spanish-speaking students to better understand my work. If she has questions about my work, she asks me and goes above and beyond to help these students be successful in my class. She works with them one on one every chance she gets and not just for my class but all their classes. She is a true asset to our campus and our students.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jeremy Miller, Burnet High School
“Jeremy is a refreshing burst of positivity. He has a can-do attitude and is constantly willing to learn. Even when everything is going the wrong way, Jeremy has the mindset of, "That's okay, we're going to figure it out." We appreciate him.”

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!
 
January 29, 2024
Good morning! I hope you find today productive without students as we reach the midpoint of the 4th six weeks grading period. 

Last week, I attended a meeting of the Central Texas School Board Association (CTSBA) with Board Members Earl Foster and Katy Duke, along with Bertram Chamber President Lori Ringstaff. CTSBA represents school boards from across Central Texas and they meet monthly to discuss and advocate around common issues. The focus of the meeting last week was partnerships between school districts and the business community. I found the panel discussion interesting and I thought I would share responses with you from one of the questions. My bullets don’t do justice to the rich conversation, but it gives you a flavor of what was discussed.

What are employers looking for in new employees?
  • Teachable
  • Coachable
  • Communication skills
  • Soft skills- shake hands, eye contact, show up, be on time, how to carry on a conversation, how to prepare for an interview
  • Personal financial awareness and skills
  • STEM skills
  • Work ethic
  • Positive presentation of themselves
 
As we prepare students for the future, we all know that Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are important, but we also know that our kids need more. One barrier to maximizing our student performance is their persistent misbehavior and disengagement. We believe the answer to these challenges and to workforce development is to grow students’ personal leadership skills, and that is what we are doing with Leader in Me- Instilling habits which enable students to lead others (organizing a team, engaging others’ talents, etc.) and to lead themselves (self-discipline, initiative, vision, etc.)….the foundation of every soft skill which employers desire.

Thank you to all of our employees for making our vision of crafting an inspiring future which embodies spirit, pride, and honor with each student possible!
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Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Shay Gunn, Central Office
“She is an angel. No matter what she is asked to change, delete, or with helping answer any questions, she never has once hesitated or been put off doing so. She is a pure joy and Burnet CISD is lucky to have her as part of the team!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Kristen Attwood, Ally Jones, & Chasity Cartwright, Burnet High School
“The cheer coaches have gone above and beyond to encourage and push the cheerleaders to grow as athletes and as leaders in our community. They have worked tirelessly to ensure our cheerleaders have the opportunities to showcase their talents and hard work through the many competitions and performances. Every detail that they have put into getting our students to Cheer Nationals has been noticed and very much appreciated! Awesome job and many thanks to our coaches!!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Bivian Garza, Bertram Elementary
“Bivian is always so helpful, kind and joyful!
 
”From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Aaron Celis Aguirre, Bertram Elementary
“I know this is late, but I didn’t know this was here until today. My daughter Abigail had Mr. Celis as her 4th grade teacher last year. He was such a wonderful teacher that it made my daughter want to be at school. He was caring and fair with the students so much that she wanted him back this year. Every time I would see him or talk to him about Abby’s progress, he would tell me how much he appreciated having her in his class. That really meant something to me. At the end of the year, he wrote Abigail a note in a card that was so sweet and heartfelt. We have the card, and we will keep it forever. I plan to give it to her to take with her to college. His kindness just really made a difference to both of us. Thank you for everything Mr. Celis!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Tessa Sappington & Lorri Beckner, RJ Richey Elementary
“They have gone above and beyond this year and whatever they are doing is working. My daughter went from being severely behind last year and the year prior to making AB Honor roll! Chloe looks forward to going to school every day. They make school fun. These two teachers have completely changed my daughters outlook on school.”
From: Burnet CISD ParentTo: Jayci Craig, Burnet Middle School“Jayci Craig is the best! She’s a great coach and the kids all really love and respect her! She truly loves the kids as well and has their best interests in mind. She works hard and it shows! We are so blessed to have her coach our daughter and be a positive influence in her life!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Kristi Carruthers, Burnet Middle School
“She is always positive with the students, encouraging them while also holding them to a high standard of expectations. She is great to work with because she backs all of us unquestioningly, and will do anything that needs to be done.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Megan Youngkin, Burnet Middle School
“Ms. Younkin often goes above and beyond to help with our students who struggle. She is always willing to work with them before and after school. She doesn't even mind having to teach me (sometimes more than once) so that I can assist our students. She is very patient and kind and makes the students feel at ease.”

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!
 
January 22, 2024
Good evening! This week, our students will receive Holocaust instruction as a part of Holocaust Remembrance Week. Remembrance Day is January 27- the date that Auschwitz was “liberated” by Allied troops. The Day commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, which resulted in the genocide of one third of the Jewish people, along with countless members of other minorities by Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, in an attempt to implement its "final solution" to the Jewish question.

The Board of Trustees met this evening for their regular January Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.

The pledges to the flags were led by the following Shady Grove Elementary students: Aone Thapa, Harper Poerner, Piper Clinton, and Jacob Alvarez Arrendondo. These same students also shared a Leader in Me chant reviewing the 7 Habits.

The meeting kicked off by recognizing our Board of Trustees, as January is School Board Appreciation Month. Campuses created signs of appreciation that were displayed in the Board Room. An anonymous donor gifted each Board Member with a branded quarter zip pullover, and the following students presented gifts to the Board from Shady Grove PTO: Aurora King, Uriah McFerrin, Annika Fowler, Ryker Neely, Nash Neely, and Aubrey Chaney.

The Board recognized the January students of the month for Burnet High School. They include Victoria Canales who was selected from the Art Department and Eileen Crist who was selected from the Theatre Department.

The Board approved the hiring of Ben Speer as Head Football Coach. Please join me in congratulating Ben. You can read more about the hiring in the press release at the end of the Board Meeting Recap.

Assistant Superintendent of C&I, Dr. Rachel Jones, presented the District’s 2022-2023 Annual Report and invited questions during the State-required Public Hearing. The report contains no new data, but is the official 2022-2023 wrap-up after all statewide appeals have been addressed. A hard copy of the Annual Report will be available at each campus office, and the digital version is viewable on the Curriculum Department’s Accountability section of the District website: Accountability Page

Board President Earl Foster provided a status report of the Superintendent Search Process. The position was officially posted on December 8 and the application window will close at 4:00 p.m. on January 26, 2024. The Board is scheduled to review applications on February 12 with the intent of selecting candidates to interview. As of last Friday, 20 applications have been submitted.

Filing for a place on the ballot for the School Board Election began Wednesday, January 17, and will continue through Friday, February 16 at 5:00 p.m. As of today, the following candidates have filed to run for a place on the Board of Trustees:
 
  • Place 2- Angela Moore
  • Place 4- Ross Behrens
  • Place 5- Katy Duke and Amber Cardenas
  • Place 6- David Bennett
 
The School Board Election will be Saturday, May 4. Early voting will take place April 22-30.

As consent agenda items, the Board adopted the textbook for Personal Financial Literacy and Economics that the BHS teachers have been piloting in the new course this fall, and approved an increase to the District's mileage reimbursement rate for 2024.  The new rate is now $0.58 per mile.

The Board approved the addition of one new instructional partner FTE due to the increasing class size of the Early Childhood Special Education Class at Shady Grove Elementary.

The Board took required action on SB 763 to determine whether to adopt a policy authorizing a campus to employ or accept chaplains as volunteers. The Board did not approve a resolution creating a chaplaincy program in the District, but did ask the administration to affirm its current practice of inviting youth pastors and ministers to volunteer on campus.

The Board approved a bid by Olden Lighting, LLC to replace the house lighting in the BHS Auditorium. Over the summer, the incandescent house lights and control system will be replaced by modern controls and brighter, more energy-efficient LED lights. This will complete the BHS Auditorium Renovations 2021 Bond project, which also funded projects to replace the Auditorium's sound system, stage lighting, and curtains.

The Board approved an Early Resignation Notification Incentive of $500 for Contract Professionals at the January 22, 2024, Board Meeting.  With the current enrollment fluctuation and staff retirements, this incentive allows the district to be efficient and accurate while planning for the next budget year.  Additionally, it allows the District to begin the recruitment process early and attract the best for BCISD. Resignation notifications must be received by HR in writing by the close of business on Monday, March 18, 2024.  To qualify the staff member must fulfill the current school year contract and agree not to use more than two (2) days of discretionary (personal) leave during the remainder of the school year beginning April 9, 2024. 

The Board approved INSGROUP as the District's Third Party Administrator Benefits Broker.  Burnet CISD interviewed four brokers and based on the qualifications presented we have entered into negotiations with INSGROUP based on their expertise, innovation, and savings to our employees.  INSGROUP is committed to finding the best options to meet our needs and has a focus on educating our staff regarding employee benefits. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:57 p.m. The next Board of Trustees Regular Meeting is scheduled for February 19 at 6:00 p.m.
 
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Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Bivian Garza, Bertram Elementary
“Bivian has been the biggest help with communicating with our Spanish speaking families in Bertram. On more than one occasion we have reached out to her to get help relaying bus information to a family and she is always willing to help out.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Edith Hernandez, Shady Grove Elementary
“Edith helps our department out frequently with communicating with our Spanish speaking families at Shady Grove. She is always so kind and friendly to visit with and we appreciate all that she does to help Transportation out.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Darrel Southwell, Kevin Mays, & Jeff Poncelow, Facilities & Operations
“They are rock stars! Not only do they do a great job handling their own daily tasks but they came to assist the Food Service Department with a very large food delivery. They are amazing and the help was GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jodi Wagner, Food Service
“She is phenomenal! She always puts her best foot forward and gives so much support to the Food Service Department! Thank you for all you do!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Priscilla Reardon, Burnet Middle School
“Ms. Priscilla is an amazing IP to have in my class. She brings patience, positivity and an attitude that we as a team and our students can accomplish anything. She makes me a better teacher, and she helps our students be their best!”

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!

BEN SPEER NAMED HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
The Board of Trustees approved an important athletic hire this evening that reinforces the District’s commitment to excellence and leadership continuity. Taking over leading the Burnet Bulldogs as Head Football Coach is the Bulldog’s Defensive Coordinator Ben Speer. Speer has 20 years of experience as an educator and football coach with 10 of those years as a defensive coordinator. He has served the past three years as Defensive Coordinator for the Burnet Bulldogs, with this year’s squad being ranked as the #1 scoring defense in District 13-4A.

“Ben has essentially interviewed for this job the past three years.  His high energy, relationship-building with staff, athletes, and parents, football knowledge, and coaching style caused him to immediately rise to the top of the list when the job became open,” said McBurnett.

Speer will immediately take over the role of Head Football Coach as he leads the off-season program, and develops plans for the 2024-2025 season.

Speer commented, “I am honored and humbled to be chosen as the next head football coach at Burnet High School. When I chose to bring my family here in 2021, I was unfamiliar with the town, the school and the football program, but I knew that Coach Wood and I had the same goals: to elevate a football program while positively impacting students’ lives and leading with integrity. I can say with confidence that we accomplished those goals and more, and we couldn’t have done it without the commitment and dedication of the players and the continual support from the parents, administration and community. I am excited for the opportunity to continue coaching Bulldog football, mentoring these young men and building on the success of the last three years.”

A meet and greet open to the public will be held for Coach Speer on Wednesday, January 24 from 5:30 – 630 p.m. at the Burnet High School Library.
 
January 15, 2024
Good morning! As you probably know, the upcoming elections in 2024 will be critical for public education in Texas. As evidence that it matters who is elected, just look at the inaction in the most recent legislative sessions on the part of the legislature to adequately fund education, including not providing pay raises for teachers or a safety allotment that actually covers the cost of school safety mandates. However, don’t assume that you can wait until the general election in November to worry about these issues. If you wait until November to vote, you may be too late.

Historically, voter participation in midterm primary elections is dismal in Texas, with less than a quarter of registered voters casting ballots most years. This means that a vast majority of registered voters don’t participate. The other reality is that in most races in Texas, the primary elections actually determine the ultimate winner, so if your voice is going to be heard, it MUST begin with voting in the primary elections on March 5.
 
The first step is to make sure that you are registered to vote. You can find information on voter registration here: Register to Vote. The deadline to register to vote for the primary election is Monday, February 5th.
 
The next step is to get informed about candidates for national, state, and local offices, and make a plan to vote in the primary elections on March 5, 2024 (early voting begins February 20th). As a reminder, you rarely have to stand in line and wait to vote, if you vote early.
 
The Texas Tribune has created a great resource to see who is running in national and statewide elections, and you can find out exactly which offices will be on your ballot by entering your address into the search feature of their database. The Texas Tribune Primary Ballot database can be accessed by clicking the following link: Texas Tribune Primary Ballot.
 
In Burnet County, local primary elections will include 5 candidates for Precinct 3 Commissioner; 3 candidates for Tax Assessor-Collector; 2 candidates for Precinct 2 Constable; and 2 candidates for District Attorney. Because no Democrats filed to run for any of these offices, the winners of the GOP primary races will be the winner of the November 5 General Election.
 
As a reminder, in Texas, anyone can vote in either the Democrat or Republican primary regardless of how you have voted in the past or how you intend to vote in November’s general election. My goal is to always choose candidates who will represent their constituents and our schools well, regardless of party.
 
The May 4 School Board elections don’t have primaries, so there are a few more months to go before early voting begins for that election. The School Board candidate filing period begins this week from January 17 – February 16 at 5:00 p.m. Applications to run for a place on the School Board must be submitted to Jessi Carpenter during the window, and there are 4 places up for election. More information about School Board elections can be found HERE.
 
The month of January is School Board Recognition Month and the theme this year is Locally Elected, Community Connected. We are fortunate to have school board members that provide outstanding leadership and vision for Burnet CISD. Our shared vision is that Burnet Consolidated ISD crafts an inspiring future which embodies spirit, pride, and honor with each student.
 
Serving on the school board with a focus on educating children is a complex, demanding responsibility: ensuring that schools are available, qualified teachers are in place, buildings are safe, and resources are provided. It’s a responsibility that our board members generously accept. They commit to read reports, learn the laws, understand the community’s needs, set thoughtful goals, and wisely handle the District’s financial resources.
 
But it isn’t just a simple commitment. Serving as a board member means going through an election and making difficult decisions for the District, its employees, and its children. It means being available to hear from concerned parents in the grocery store, at the game, or over the backyard fence. It means committing to the time it takes to do the job right. And in Texas there is no pay for school board members, and there are required training requirements, creating further demands of their time.
 
Fortunately, in our community, caring adults have signed on for the responsibility and hard work of making our schools the best they can be. They immerse themselves in learning what they need to know to make good decisions that will provide for students, from the very youngest to the graduating senior.
 
Please join me in thanking the Burnet CISD Board of Trustees composed of President Earl Foster, Vice President Angela Moore, Secretary Mark Kincaid and Trustees Robby Robertson, Suzanne Brown, Ross Behrens and Katy Duke.  Please join me in taking a moment to recognize these local trustees, and say thank you for the work the Burnet CISD School Board Members are doing on your behalf.
 
We'll review weather conditions throughout today, and will communicate any changes to our schedule for Tuesday by 5:00 this evening. I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week and stays warm these next few days.
 
January 8, 2024
Good morning and Happy New Year!
 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday, and you are ready to hit the ground running as we make plans to finish strong the 2023-2024 school year!

I want to make all staff aware that we will be testing the panic alarm system at each campus this morning. We have found that either by design, or in some cases by accident, some staff are connected to a campus and will receive the alert, even if they are not physically on the campus at the time. The schedule for the tests is copied below.
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The new year can mean a fresh start and with some choosing to make new commitments in the new year. I thought I would share these tips I found on how to ensure your resolutions are built to last. By following these suggestions, experts say you can set yourself up for success.
 
1. Be picky about your resolutions
We may want to lose weight, eat more vegetables, volunteer more, quit smoking and spend more time with family. But experts say that’s too many goals to set for a New Year’s resolution. Pick one, maybe two things you’d like to focus on and go all in. This sets you up to achieve specific goals instead of feeling like a failure for hitting none of them.

2. Plan your resolution
It’s best to plan for your goal. Think through how you want to accomplish your resolution and how long it might take to reach your goal. For example, if your resolution is to quit smoking, research how long it takes an average person to kick the habit and the possible setbacks to expect. Proper planning will help ensure you can see it through to the end.

3. Set very specific goals
Many of us will set a New Year’s resolution like “exercise more.” But what does that really mean? Instead, you should be detailed in your resolution. It could be “exercise 30 minutes daily.” This gives you a measurable goal to reach each day that you can check off your list. It will help you feel more accomplished.

4. Don’t take on too much
Start small. Avoid setting an overly high expectation of yourself. If you’d like to lose weight, pick a small but realistic weight loss goal. Maybe that’s 10 pounds in two months. Once you reach that goal, you can think about losing another 5-8 pounds. Setting small goals can help you achieve big results.

5. Choose a new resolution
Avoid picking a goal that you’ve tried in the past but failed. You may set yourself up to fall into the same pitfalls that stopped you previously. Instead, pick something different where you can set up a better path to success. Or maybe you can modify a previous goal if that’s something you still want to accomplish.

6. Identify accountability partners for support
Lean on people – whether it’s a friend to keep your exercise resolution on track, or a spouse to help with healthier eating habits. We function better with community around us, motivating and reminding us why we chose that New Year’s resolution in the first place.

7. Give your resolution time to become a habit
New routines don’t just become habit overnight. A 2009 study found that on average, it takes 66 days to form a new habit. Be patient with yourself. If you have minor setbacks or don’t hit your goal one week, pick it back up the next week. Just keep working at your goal and eventually it can become second nature.

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Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Cindi Evans & Shaylah Cunningham, Shady Grove Elementary
“Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Cunningham are absolutely amazing. My kiddo comes home talking about the great things they are doing in their classrooms. I know he is learning and enjoying time in their class.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Luke Lucky, Burnet High School
“Luke does a great job every day! He works hard to meet each of our students at their different levels and makes connections with each of them. He is a great fit for Life Skills.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Caitlyn Guenter, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Guenter jumped in and helped out with our Christmas party when one of us wasn't feeling well. She served food, helped with classroom management, and even came back to check on me a few times later. Thanks for taking care of us!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Janna Courtney, Burnet High School
“Janna does such a great job managing the athletic department schedules. She is very detailed and makes sure to keep the BHS and District calendars updated with the correct information for our staff and community.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Sarah Gracey, Bertram Elementary
“It’s always tough to step into a role that someone else has been in for a long time, but Sarah has done a great job at Bertram Elementary. When I need assistance, she is always willing to help and if she doesn’t know the answer, she will make sure to follow up. Keep up the good work!”

Have a great day, and a great second semester!
 
December 18, 2023
Dear Staff,

Good evening. I shared this story with you during my first few years in Burnet CISD, and as I have been reminiscing about the past 12 years, I thought it was worth sharing again as we go into Christmas Break.

During my first year of teaching over 30 years ago, I had a student give me a used Uncle Sam Avon cologne decanter for Christmas (see the picture below).
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It was wrapped, but it was not in a box, and half the cologne was already gone. I told Tony how much I appreciated his gift and made a big production of putting on the “frou frou juice” in front of my class. All of you have probably experienced a similar situation, one in which a student that really doesn’t have much, wants to share everything with you because of how important you are to them. It is one of the reasons I love our vocation. I like the surprise of opening gifts, but my favorite gifts to give and receive are moments of connecting, sharing, and laughing. I tend to remember moments like that long past ever remembering a gift I received. So my wish for you this Christmas season is a break full of moments enjoying opportunities to connect, share, and laugh.

The Board of Trustees met this evening for their regular December Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.
The pledges to the flags were led by the following Shady Grove Elementary students: Caleb Barnard, Myla Smith, Kane Lawdermilk, and Daleyza Herrera.

The meeting began with recognizing the December students of the month for Burnet High School: Grant Roberts and Arely Castillo Zapata. These students were selected from the Science Department.

The Board recognized the 2023 Christmas Card design winners. This year Burnet High School students were the featured artists for the design contest: 1st Place- Calton Schmidt, 2nd Place- Mia Elias, and 3rd Place- Victoria Canales. The 1st place design was used as the Burnet CISD Christmas card.

The Board recognized BHS students that won the FFA National Champions for Meats Evaluation and Technology! Each student on this team also won individual honors: Carter Bostic (1st Place National Champion), Jackson Drozd (2nd Place Reserve National Champion), Enrique Montalvo (4th Place High Individual), and Cayden Beatty (6th Place High Individual).

The Board recognized BHS Seniors Luke Hudgins (2nd Team), Tyson Trim (2nd Team), Jace Haberer (2nd Team), Grant Jones (2nd Team), Garner Krause (Honorable Mention), Trenton Park (Honorable Mention), and Dash Denton (Honorable Mention) for being named to the Texas High School Coaches Association Academic All-State Football Team.

The final recognition of the night was Senior Zaria Solis who was named to the Texas Girls Coaching Association All-State Volleyball Team.

The Board of Trustees held a public hearing for the annual financial and compliance report for 2022-2023. The audit was conducted by Eide Bailly, and the audit firm provided an unmodified opinion on the District’s financial statements which is the highest opinion possible. The Board approved the external audit report.

Clay Goehring, Chief Financial Officer, provided an overview of the monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report. In addition, Mr. Goehring reviewed the 2024-2025 Budget Development Calendar with the Board. The first Budget Workshop will be held on March 4, 2024.

The Administration provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found HERE.

Board President Earl Foster provided a status report of the Superintendent Search Process. The position was officially posted on December 8 on the Career Center of the TASA website (www.tasanet.org) and on the TexasISD website (www.texasisd.com). The application will close at 4:00 p.m. on January 26, 2024, and the Board is scheduled to review applications on February 12. The staff and parent/community feedback sessions were held the week of December 4. The attendance numbers for each session include:
  • Tuesday, December 5 Staff Feedback: 17 Attendees
  • Tuesday, December 5 Parent/Community Feedback: 17 Attendees
  • Thursday, December 7 Staff Feedback: 2 Attendees
  • Thursday, December 7 Parent/Community Feedback: 6 Attendees

The online Superintendent Search link went live on December 1 and will be open to collect responses until December 22. The link for the survey can be found HERE.

A report was provided to the Board regarding an unannounced intruder detection audit conducted in Burnet CISD. The audit was conducted at Burnet Middle School and there was one finding. One exterior door within a fenced secured area was found to be locked, but not properly latched due a pebble in the door sweep. This unlatched door would not have been flagged last year because it is located within a fenced secured area. Because of a change of audit standards, this unlatched door was flagged.

The Board approved an order calling the School Board Election on Saturday, May 4, 2024, and the appointment of Doug Ferguson as Early Voting Clerk. Four places will be on the ballot this year: Place 2 - currently held by Angela Moore, Place 4 - currently held by Ross Behrens, Place 6 – currently held by Robby Robertson (these are three-year terms) and Place 5 - currently held by Katy Duke who was appointed in November (this is a three-year term with one-year remaining). The window to file candidate applications is January 17, 2024 to February 16, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. The last day to register to vote for the May 4 election is Thursday, April 4.

The Board approved Policy Update 122. This update includes policy recommendations to address many of the legislative changes from the Regular Session of the 88th Legislature, which ended on May 29, 2023, and specifically addressed the following 10 local policies and topics:
  • CQB — cybersecurity (SB 271)
  • DC — employment of bus drivers (HB 1789)
  • EHB — dyslexia and related disorders (HB 3928)
  • EHBCA — accelerated instruction (HB 1416)
  • FEA — career investigation days (SB 68)
  • FFAC —opioid antagonists (SB 629)
  • FFB — threat assessments (HB 3, SB 1720)
  • FL — student records (HB 1416)
 
In addition to Update 122, the Board retains final authority for the employment of personnel in positions at the level of principal and above, including the assistant superintendent, and any director in a position for which the State Board of Education is required.

The Board of Trustees approved the addition of two new teacher FTEs due to the increase of class sizes.

The Board had discussion, and approved, refreshing of the exterior of the Bertram Elementary Gym.  This will be done by making necessary repairs to the cosmetic exterior, then sealing and painting it.  The paint scheme will match the remainder of the Bertram campus, thus improving the overall aesthetics of the campus.  This work is expected to be completed during the Spring semester.

The Board approved a request presented by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jones to approve an application for Maximum Class Size Exceptions in the TEA Waiver system. The state's Waiver Application has been disabled in past months, and therefore this has been the first opportunity in the 2023-2024 school year to apply for the waivers. In the meantime, the District has continued to monitor class sizes, provide support to elementary teachers with large rosters, and hire additional teachers where possible. Although the approved application will include a total of 30 PreK - 4th grade classrooms that sit over 22:1 today, the Board later approved the addition of 2 teacher positions that will relieve the ratio for 13 of those classrooms that were more than one student above the threshold. When new teachers are hired mid-semester, the experience of the teacher hired and the needs of students at the time of the hire determines whether new sections will be created, or whether an additional teacher will push in and/or pull-out small groups of students from oversize classes. Once those teachers are in place, and with the previous hire of other additional teachers this past semester, we will have PreK - 4th grade ratios no higher than 23:1, and 5th grade ratios no higher than 25:1.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m. The next Board of Trustees Meeting is scheduled for January 22 at 6:00 p.m.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Administration I want to wish you, our parents, students, and our community a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The last day of the fall semester for students will be Thursday, December 21 and students will be released from school 3 hours early on that day. Friday, December 22 is a work day with an early dismissal for all staff at 2:00 p.m. All campuses and offices will be closed for Christmas Break December 25-January 5. Monday, January 8 will be a staff planning day, and all classes will resume a normal schedule on Tuesday, January 9.
Warmest Regards

 

December 11, 2023
Dear Staff,

Good morning! A few years ago, I made a commitment to myself to read a biography on every US President. I viewed this self-imposed challenge as a way to study profiles in leadership, and to understand our history as a nation more deeply.  I am currently on number 26- Theodore Roosevelt, and as I was reading recently, I came across one of Teddy’s famous quotes which is, “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”

During my more serious reading about Theodore Roosevelt, that quote took me back to my teenage years and made me think of the way America’s Top 40 host, Casey Kasem, would sign off each week- “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Co-creator Casey Kasem hosted the original American Top 40 from its inauguration on July 4, 1970, until August 6, 1988. I was born in 1970 and graduated in 1988, so I listened to a lot of Casey Kasem. I also made a lot of mixtapes by recording songs off of America’s Top 40. That was back in the day when you had to work to listen to the songs you wanted- unlike today where Spotify makes selection of music instantaneous.

Whether you prefer Teddy’s version of the quote or Casey’s, the intent is much the same. In addition to instilling in our students the knowledge that grounds them, we need to challenge them to dream and reach for what they want out of life. The other lesson from this story is that I am old, because about half the staff that are reading this will never know the challenge, patience, and dexterity it took to create a great mixtape.

The Superintendent Search Webpage has been updated announcing that applications and supporting documents are now being accepted, along with the qualification and requirements. Click HERE for the link to the Superintendent Search Page. Although not new, the projected timeline for the search is also listed on the Superintendent Search Webpage. 

Also posted on the Superintendent Search Webpage is the link to the online survey. The Burnet CISD Board of Trustees is seeking input via an online survey on the attributes and qualities that you would like to see in the next superintendent. Results of the survey and feedback from in-person input sessions will be used by the Board as they build a final profile of the characteristics and qualities they are seeking for a future leader. The survey will be available until December 22 at 5:00 p.m. Click HERE for the survey link.

The Board will meet on December 18 for their Regular December Meeting. The most significant actions to be taken that night include approving the annual financial audit report for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and approving the order to have the School Board Election on Saturday, May 4, 2024.
 
Staff Shout Outs
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link. Click HERE.

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: The Grounds Labor Crew, Burnet Middle School
“Huge shout out to the grounds labor crew, those guys who are doing the mowing and keeping the grounds looking nice! It does not go unnoticed by the parents!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: BMS Coaches: Kuhn, Carruthers, Coach A, Cunningham, and Meadows, Burnet Middle School
“The coaches at BMS go above and beyond to be great role models to the boys here. They have built a relationship with every kid in the program and follow through with the boys daily even after they leave the field or the locker room. They are always enthusiastic, supportive, and hold a high demand for effort and character. They are always having fun and that wears off on the kids and the staff at BMS as well. Great job, guys!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brian Simmons, Burnet Middle School
“Mr. Simmons does a fantastic job building relationships with students and keeping learning fun. He brings the best out of students who struggle or have low motivation. His patience and positive attitude are contagious.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Ben Speer, Burnet High School
“Coach Speer is a blessing to BCISD. He is a great teacher/coach. Ben is a man of integrity and is a great leader of young men. He makes everyone around him better and most importantly, he is a 'what you see, is what you get' guy!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Sindra Salinas, Burnet Middle School
“Sindra is awesome and amazing! She juggles a lot and handles it all like a pro. She receives many emails, calls, and texts after hours and she always responds. She is proactive and we always know we can count on her to take care of everything.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Michelle Blake & Katelyn Juarez, Central Office
“Michelle and Katelyn do a great job of making sure the Special programs staff and students are supported and have everything they need to be successful. They have both taken on many extra duties this year and have stepped up in a big way. They also make sure each member of the Special Programs staff feels loved and appreciated. They are a couple of gems!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brian Gilmore and Moving Team, Facilities & Operations
“Brian and his team always do a great job in setting up chairs and tables for special events. He will always reach out to make sure he knows exactly the set up I may need and always communicates any changes that may have to be made. I appreciate all the hard work from Brian and his team!”

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week! The countdown is on for Christmas Break- Planned, Purposeful, and Fun!
 
December 4, 2023
Dear Staff,

The House and Senate returned to Session last Monday, but little was done after the voucher scheme was upended right before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, when the voucher legislation went away, so did the legislation supporting new funding for schools. Late Friday, the Senate passed SB Bill 5. This bill would double the amount of the School Safety Allotment (taking the $10/ADA allotment to $20 and the $15K per-campus allotment to $30K) and add a new $400 million grant administered by TEA to assist districts with the implementation of the new requirements of HB 3 from the 88th Regular Session earlier this year. Now we wait to see if the House agrees with the Senate.

The fourth Special Session is set to end this Wednesday. Governor Abbott had raised the prospect he would summon lawmakers back for another special session if they removed the voucher provision, and he advised last week to “stay tuned” on that promise.

Because of the Legislature’s lack of leadership and action to address the school funding crisis, school districts across the state are left continuing to deal with deficit budgets. To be clear, Burnet CISD is currently operating with a deficit of approximately $600,000. What that means is that we are having to use savings in the amount of $600,000 to help pay for the day to day operations of the District, including employee salaries. As you know with your own home budget, you can’t keep dipping into savings to pay for day to day expenses. Without an increase in school funding, Burnet CISD is going to be faced with difficult choices ahead.

With a historic state budget surplus, state leaders should prioritize adequately funding school districts, and not playing politics.

The Employee Superintendent Advisory Council met last Monday to discuss feedback from the committee, campuses, and departments. Below are written responses for each topic that was discussed.

Compensation- Response by Clay Goehring
Employee compensation is a top priority for Burnet CISD.  Each budget cycle, compensation is at the top of each planning document.  Unfortunately, available funding is a primary factor in determining the pay raise employees receive annually. For the 23-24 school year, despite facing a significant shortage in funds, the School Board again made staff salary a top priority and the District was able to provide all employees a 2% pay increase.  This was not an easy task and required a number of cuts to the District’s budget.

At the time, the Board and the District made sure that if more funds became available as the year began, an additional pay raise could be considered.  Unfortunately, funding has not increased, in fact it has decreased.  Enrollment in the District is down this year compared to last year and the State Legislature still has not utilized their record budget surplus to increase funding to schools.

The Board and the District will continue to prioritize staff pay, but more funding will need to become available.  An annual pay increase is not just an increase in expenditures for that year, but is part of the budget from that point moving forward.  The District must ensure appropriate funding is available for the current year while also projecting into the future.

Staffing- Response by Michele Gilmore
When looking at staffing for the upcoming school year we look at our roll up numbers from each grade level.  Roll up numbers are taking the students that were in kindergarten and moving them up to first grade and so on.  From that we are able to make an estimate on how many teachers are needed.  We staff our K-4 classes at 23:1 and 5th and up at 25:1.

Burnet CISD has held off on increasing class sizes to the larger ratio for many years.  The majority of ISDs are staffing their classes and have been staffing at the higher ratio for many years.  Due to BCISD’s budget deficit two years in a row we decided to increase class sizes like our neighboring districts.  If our classes exceed our staffing ratio we immediately post the vacancy and speak with the campus administrator.  We also assist by adding a substitute or an instructional partner to that grade level while searching for a teacher.

If we did not increase class sizes this year we would not have been able to pay for a 2% midpoint general pay increase for all staff and we would not have been able to maintain our current staffing levels.

There are positions that we would like to add to provide additional support to campuses. Due to the lack of adequate funding from the Legislature, we are unable to add additional expenses to the budget at this time. Staffing levels will be evaluated again this spring in planning for the 2024-2025 school year.

Calendar- Response by Dr. Rachel Jones
We received three themes of feedback regarding the calendar. The first was the request that as students now have more student days off, that we have more staff holidays. Specifically, the request was for one day off between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, and one day off between Christmas and Spring Break. The second request was to have every Friday be a non-student day unless students were invited to school for needed intervention and enrichment. Both of these ideas have actually already been taken to the District Advisory Committee (DAC) to consider during the creation of calendar drafts.

As a district, we have quite a bit of flexibility with how we build a calendar. What we do not have flexibility with are the numbers of contract days for teachers and the number of instructional minutes for students. The DAC reviewed the request for additional staff holidays, but in light of other feedback with strong feelings to be finished with school by Memorial Day and to have the full week of Thanksgiving off, the DAC did not see a suitable place to add the two requested days in a different location. The suggestion of repurposing a non-student day to be an outright holiday causes that day to no longer count towards the 187 contract days. Therefore, the DAC did not recommend adding additional staff holidays. Similarly, we are required to offer 75,600 minutes of student instruction per year. These minutes cannot include optional intervention time, but must be the times of compulsory attendance for all. Last year the DAC reviewed possible options of a calendar that satisfied the required minutes, but it resulted in even longer days, shortened holiday breaks, starting earlier in the year, and going longer in the year. The DAC did not see a productive way to make those variables work for only 4 days per week required of all students.

The third type of calendar feedback the ESAC received was related to the way we utilize non-student days. The request was to have those days consist of completely independent teacher work time with no meetings, trainings, or required collaborations. We agree wholeheartedly that teachers have enough on their plates to fill independent work time completely (and then some). However, this is a request that we cannot fulfill. By holding faculty meetings during these days, campuses have reduced the before- and after-school faculty meetings required. Campuses will always need to meet as a staff for a variety of reasons: updating each other on safety needs, times to discuss operational issues on campus, celebrating each other, completing state-required training, and keeping each other updated on important news and changes. We will never stop holding faculty meetings, and the non-student days are a way to try to reduce the impact on staff’s personal responsibilities after school. We will also need to continue holding professional development sessions and team collaborations on these days. The reality is that we need to continue to improve our practices across the District. Our student performance is not where it needs to be. That means as the adults facilitating that performance, we are going to need to learn about and practice with new resources, learn about strategies to reach changing demographics of students, understand and plan for new state assessments, and ensure that instructional plans are aligned and providing access to grade-level expectations for all students, regardless of the teacher roster. We work hard with our campus admins to balance these days and provide time to catch-up and work (see the calendar HERE), but we cannot commit to making all non-student days independent staff work time. 

Leave Time vs. Dock Time- Response by Clay Goehring
The question was asked if employees could select to take a dock for time off rather than having to use any available leave time.  The District does require any employee to use any available leave prior to selecting to be docked, thus providing an opportunity to save their leave for a later date. 

The District will continue to require leave to be used prior to selecting to be docked.  The main reason is that the work provided by each employee is valuable to the organization.  Each employee has a defined amount of paid leave per year.  The employee is aware of this amount as is the District and their supervisor.  The District’s staffing is based on an employee not being available for work for that predetermined amount of days or hours per year.  That is used in determining staffing plans for the year.  If an employee selects to be docked to save leave time, that means the District has to operate with less “work time" than planned.  This can become an issue for the District.  Each employee has a valuable role in the District and those hours of work are necessary.

Instructional Partners- Response by Michele Gilmore
The question was asked if Instructional Partners can receive extra compensation when covering classrooms. We have reached out to other districts and it is common practice to request the help of an instructional partner when a substitute is not available.  It is not common practice to pay the instructional partner their daily pay plus the substitute pay.

Some job duties of the instructional partner are to help provide instruction to students, assist with the supervision of students throughout the school day and help substitute teachers. 

At this time, BCISD currently has 75 working substitutes.  BCISD provides substitutes for several positions that other school districts do not. These positions consist of:
  • Instructional Partners
  • ARD coverage
  • Extra Help

By providing substitutes in these areas, it pulls away from the number of substitutes available for our classroom teachers.  BCISD has implemented a substitute incentive to help attract more substitutes whereas most other districts have not.  Also, if we were to pay the instructional partner just the substitute pay rate, the IP would be taking a pay rate decrease which is something that we would not want to do. 

We are very thankful that our instructional partners are flexible and always willing to help in any way possible to benefit our students' education.

Curriculum- Response by Dr. Rachel Jones
The areas of feedback we received in Curriculum were around purchased/created curricular resources, and Curriculum-Based Assessments (CBAs). Teachers use a variety of resources to plan instruction for students. Especially for newer teachers planning a content area for the first time, this can lead to decision fatigue and take up time. The feedback we received was to have the district provide curriculum that involved little teacher decision-making, and was highly paced and prescribed.

There are several things to consider with this issue. While it would absolutely save time and energy for teachers if the district provided this level of curriculum resource, it would also reduce the autonomy of veteran teachers to try new resources and activities. A quality curriculum with daily plans that actually work for all students is not readily available to purchase; they always require adjustment to be used in real classrooms. That is why larger districts have teams to curate and create daily documents ready to go for teachers. In BCISD, we do not have this level of central staffing.  However, for most core areas we have purchased pacing tools from Region 10 that break units down into daily targets, and our two Curriculum Coordinators have worked to curate the resources we have purchased on a Google Site so links are easy to find and access. Please reach out to your Instructional Coach or one of our Coordinators if you have forgotten where these time-savers are.

We also received feedback about our local CBAs with questions about their usefulness. The commenter pointed out that they are created locally, and therefore less valuable. We disagree with that opinion. We actually think that it is a strength that our teachers are providing input on the assessment that will be used before they begin to teach a unit. The CBAs are supposed to provide a common measure across classrooms of the same content to ensure that students reasonably mastered the unit(s) just taught. In that respect, it is not very different from many traditional teacher-made tests that have always been used. Coordinators begin building drafts from purchased item banks or past assessment questions. By having the teacher team review the draft provided by the Curriculum Coordinators, they are able to catch typos, suggest upgrades such as different graphics, and refine the wording of the questions to better match the demands of their content. It is true that in large districts, classroom teachers are not called upon to give this level of feedback on common assessments. However, our two Coordinators cannot have content expertise in every grade level and content, so we ask our teams to help us make the CBAs better and useful. If a team finds a CBA to be useless for informing instruction, we very much want and expect them to participate in making them useful. In fact, when we do not hear from teams about the drafts, we get concerned because we never want to waste valuable classroom time on tests that are not useful.

Hourly Employees Volunteering- Response by Michele Gilmore
The question was asked if hourly staff can volunteer for campus events held after school or on the weekend. Nonexempt employees must be compensated for all hours worked and may not work off the clock.  In limited circumstances, nonexempt employees may volunteer to work outside their usual duty schedule, especially when they request to volunteer for a task not related to their regular job duties.  We will work with campus administrators to discuss a form that will help clarify what is considered volunteering versus what is not.
 
Staff Shout Outs
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Kristie Messer, Burnet Middle School
“Mrs. Messer is always available to assist staff with planning, testing, and anything else a teacher might need assistance with. She is extremely knowledgeable, has tons of great ideas, and takes the stress out of planning. We are so blessed to have her!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Victoria Rice, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Rice has such a kind and giving heart. She truly loves her students, her school and her RJ family. We love YOU Rice!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Debbie Steel, RJ Richey Elementary
“Ms. Steel is always willing to help where needed and is a great team player and teammate, we love you Steel, we love you 100!”

As a reminder, the themed dress up days for the 12 Days of Christmas kicks off this Wednesday! I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!

 

November 27, 2023
Don’t ever do what I did.... What is that you might be asking? Don’t ever schedule your annual physical the week after Thanksgiving! What was I thinking? I tried to be a little good, without much success. Oh, well. I guess my blood work will show what a great time I had over the break!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break! Counting today, we’ve got 20 days until Christmas Break is officially here. This time between two significant breaks can be viewed as an educational wasteland, or not. There are lots of opportunities for fun to be infused in what we do the next 4 weeks, but we want to make sure we are also purposeful in our planning, and make sure we finish the first semester strong!

No Grinches, Only Griswolds! We have some opportunities the next several weeks to celebrate our inner Griswold. One way to kick off the Christmas season is to attend the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Burnet High School on December 11, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Caroling and drinking some hot cocoa is the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit. I hope you will join us, and as Cousin Eddie would say, "Save the neck for me, Clark."

Also, don’t miss out on the themed dress up days for the 12 Days of Christmas kicking off next week on December 6! As Clark Griswold would warn, “Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together.” 
 
Staff Shout Outs
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Mike Foster, Transportation
“Mike has been such a huge help at Transportation. He is always willing to take on any trip or task that he is asked to do and we know that he will take care of it and give 100%. We appreciate all that he does!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Camryn Kappelmann, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Kappelmann and crew did an amazing job with the Veterans Day program. She is so good with the kids and has such a sweet spirit!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Mark Foster, Transportation
“Shout out to Mark for being willing to drive any trip or extra duty assignment. We appreciate his willingness to help out.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Facilities crew who built Elementary DAEP Room, Facilities & Operations
“Facilities and Operations were given very little notice that Elementary DAEP required a calm down room. They had it built within a week! Almost every day, I asked for at least one detail to be considered as they worked, and they always listened--even though they were not always able to say, "Yes". :-) I appreciate their willingness to listen and accommodate as often as possible. Despite the short notice and what I'm confident was an interruption to their planned schedule, the entire crew was professional, friendly, and caring. Thank you to our amazing Facilities and Operation TEAM!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Linda Vanhooser, Transportation
“Shout out to Linda for helping deep clean our route and activity buses! She has done a fantastic job helping us keep the inside of our fleet squeaky clean.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Rosie Torres, Burnet High School
“Kids are always telling me Mrs. Torres is sweet and always says Hi when serving in her lunch line and kids always say how they love her food!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Elyse Moore, Transportation
“Elyse has been incredible as we work through being short-staffed. We believe she is going above and beyond; even though the days have been long, she still smiles. We appreciate her picking up trips to drive the Semi to competitions. She is an excellent example of TEAMWORK!! Thank you!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Linda Vanhooser, Transportation
“Linda V. has been a fantastic addition to Transportation. She has been helping to keep our fleet looking good. When staff members ask for help, she is quick to say, no problem. She always watches out for her kiddos and ensures staff knows of any concerns or issues. Thank you, Linda, for being the amazing you.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Paula Van Klavern, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. V is great teacher and communicator! She is always quick to respond and pushes my son to be the best he can be!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Katherine Bridgeman, Transportation
“Katherine has always taken such good care of her bus, students and route. She also has been willing to help out when we are short staffed by driving a combined route and never complains that it gets in later than normal. We appreciate her hard work and willingness to help our kiddos get to and from school safely.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brady Rowe, Technology
“I was having an issue with my password, not being able to get into my computer at all. Brady came to my school and fixed my issue in no time flat. This saved me a good bit of time (not having to drive to the office from Bertram Elementary). It allowed me to treat more students and make better use of my time. I appreciated this so much! Thanks again Brady!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Cyndi Evans, RJ Richey Elementary
“Cyndi gives her best to her students and teammates every single day! We are lucky to have a teacher like her here at BCISD!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Lanette Lough, Shady Grove Elementary
“My daughter LOVES being in Mrs. Lough's class. She is constantly being pushed to be her best and she comes home each day talking about the great things she has done and learned about! I am so thankful to know my daughter is cared for and feels valued each day at school!"

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Katherine Bridgeman, Transportation
“Katherine is a superior Bus Driver. She loves her kids as well as they love her. She has been a committed driver for 30 plus years. She will take on any extra tasks regarding her route when asked. The Transportation Department truly cherishes her!!!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Lisa Bostick, Transportation
“Lisa does such a great job making sure District vehicles are taken care of and ready to go for trips! She is always quick to respond to my emails or phone calls and is ALWAYS friendly and happy to help! I appreciate Lisa and the transportation crew that assists with the preparation of the District vehicles.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jacob East, Technology
“Jacob was on our campus when the fire alarm went off unexpectedly. Jacob checked all of the classrooms in our pre-k wing to ensure that students were out of the building safely. We appreciate you, Jacob!”

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!
 
November 13, 2023
 
Dear Staff,

Good evening! On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the administration, I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you all will have the opportunity to experience family and friends and get some much needed rest over the break.  As you know, campuses and district offices will be closed the week of November 20 – November 24. Staff will return on Monday, November 27 for a Professional Development Day, and classes will resume on Tuesday, November 28.

During my first Thanksgiving in Burnet I wrote the following to staff, and I find it just as true today as I did then:

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I’d like to take a moment to let you know what I am thankful for as Superintendent of Schools:
  • I am thankful for students who work hard in the classroom and in extracurricular activities.
  • I am thankful for teachers that care and go the extra mile for students every day.
  • I am thankful for coaches that grow athletes and more importantly young men and women
  • I am thankful for instructional partners that support teaching and learning.
  • I am thankful for principals that remove barriers for our teachers and staff.
  • I am thankful for bus drivers that are the first to greet our students and get them to school safely.
  • I am thankful for cafeteria staff that ensure our students have healthy meals to eat.
  • I am thankful for custodial and maintenance staff that ensure our buildings are clean and maintained.
  • I am thankful for clerical staff that make the school district run smoothly.
  • I am thankful for a community that supports our schools.
  • I am thankful for Amazing Grace before football games and prayer before School Board Meetings.
  • I am thankful to call Burnet home.
 
And, with Friday being Substitute Appreciation Day, I know you join me in being thankful for the 75 men and women that serve as substitute teachers in Burnet CISD!

The Board of Trustees met this evening for their regular November Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.

The pledges to the flags were led by the following Burnet Middle School students: Alexandria Suazo and Sofia Cardenas

New Board Member Katy Duke, appointed to fill the Place 5 vacancy during the November 6 Special Meeting, took the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting and participated in her first Board Meeting.

The meeting kicked off by recognizing students of the month at Burnet High School and Quest High School. BHS Students of the Month for November are Josiah Villarreal Flores (Choir), Ethan Nicholl (Band), and Sienna Maldonado (Dance). These students were selected from the Fine Arts Department.

The Quest High School student of the month is Kevin Watson.

The Board recognized the following athletes for competing at the UIL Cross Country State Meet: Victor Aviles, Isaias Zarate, Abby Bennight, Kaycie Banton, Brooke Bowman, Amelia Griffin, Adriana Briggs, Halle Maxwell, and Marissa Aviles. Victor Aviles returned to the State Meet for the second year in a row and placed 11th, Isaias Zarate placed 55th, and the girls team placed 16th overall. In addition, BHS Seniors Kaycie Banton (1st Team), Jason Suarez (Honorable Mention), Amberlyn Glasscock (Honorable Mention), Cierra Blunt-Culpepper (Honorable Mention), Amelia Griffin (Honorable Mention), Haylie Bartlett (Honorable Mention), and Kori Haile (Honorable Mention) were recognized for being named to the Texas High School Coaches Association Academic All-State Cross Country Team.

The Board recognized BHS Seniors Addie Houston (1st Team), MaeSyn Gay (2nd Team), and Reagan Shipley (2nd Team) for being named to the Texas High School Coaches Association Academic All-State Volleyball Team.

For the fourth year in a row, the Burnet Esprit de Corps qualified for the UIL State Marching Contest held at the Alamodome in San Antonio on November 1. The Esprit de Corps finished 11th out of over 200 4A bands in the state of Texas. The following Esprit de Corps student leaders were recognized on behalf of the entire group. Drum Majors- Aeden Harrison and Stellan Zollitsch; Highlandettes Officers- Sienna Maldonado, Maddy Cardenas, and Julia Kratwell.

The Board held a hearing to discuss the District’s financial accountability rating. Burnet CISD scored a Superior Rating, the highest rating possible with a perfect score of 100. Burnet CISD has received a Superior Rating every year that the Texas Education Agency has released financial ratings.

Dr. Sherri Bays, Superintendent Search Consultant reviewed with the Board the Superintendent Search Input Survey which will be released electronically to all staff, parents, and the community. In addition, Dr. Bays shared that the District will be hosting staff input meetings along with community/parent input meetings in December. Dates, times, and locations will be released later this week.

Clay Goehring, Chief Financial Officer, provided an overview of the monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report. As part of a financial action item that occurs quarterly, the Board approved the 1st quarter budget amendment for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

The Administration provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2098559&type=d&pREC_ID=2175896

The Board of Trustees approved the casting of their votes for the Burnet Central Appraisal District Board of Directors.  The Burnet CISD Board has 1,368 votes and approved sharing the votes equally among the 5 incumbents.

The Board approved a resolution establishing an education foundation for the benefit of the students of Burnet CISD. Planning for the foundation will begin in January.

The Board approved Texcon Oil as the district's DEF and Fuel vendor for the 23/24 fiscal year.  This approval ensures continued consistent DEF and Fuel pricing for BCISD vehicles with a proven vendor.

The Board selected the District’s 2023 Christmas card design as shown below. The card was designed by Burnet High School 11th Grader, Calton Schmidt.

Christmas Card

 

Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, BJ Gates, presented the Board with a summary of the 2022-2023 Program Evaluation for Gifted and Talented student services.

Assistant Superintendent of C&I, Dr. Rachel Jones, presented the Administration’s request for approval to apply for multiple waivers. If approved by TEA, two of the waiver applications will apply beginning this year and extend through the 2025-2026 school year: a Foreign Exchange Student waiver to limit the number of students that BHS must accept, and a waiver to allow flexibility with minutes of instruction for grade levels not tested on heavy STAAR administration days. The other waiver application discussed was the need for Maximum Class Size Exception waivers in multiple PreK – 4th grade classrooms. This need was discussed in September, but because TEA had the application closed during the A-F Refresh controversy, the Board took no action at that time. Although the TEA portal is still closed to new class size waivers, the Board did approve Maximum Class Size Waiver Exceptions for specified elementary classrooms in case the TEA portal opens before the next Board Meeting.

Dr. Jones also presented new high school courses proposed for the 2024-2025 school year: Game Programming and Design to complement the Computer Science pathway, Statistics to serve as an additional on-level Math option towards a graduation endorsement, and English Language Development and Acquisition to provide a state-approved elective credit for newcomers to the country. These courses will be available in the BHS Course Guide as students and families begin selecting courses this winter.

A report was provided to the Board regarding an unannounced intruder detection audit conducted in Burnet CISD. The audit was conducted at Burnet High School and there was one finding. One exterior door was found to be unlocked at Burnet High School. The unlocked exterior door was at the gym foyer. A public event was being held in the gym foyer (college signing for BHS athlete) and the foyer door was intentionally unlocked. A school resource officer was present in the foyer during the event, but the auditor indicated that an unlocked exterior door must be actively monitored by school personnel the entire time it is unlocked, even with a school resource officer present in the foyer.

The meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m. The next Board of Trustees Meeting is scheduled for December 18 at 6:00 p.m.
 
Staff Shout Outs
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from the past two week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Lisa Bostick, Transportation
“This precious lady is always going the extra mile to make sure all the Transportation staff is taken care of!! We couldn't get through this without her!!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jennifer Stevens, Transportation
“This woman is such a rockstar!! She goes above and beyond to keep us going!!!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Elyse Moore, Transportation
“We are so lucky to have this lady back with us. From day one she has been rockin’ it!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Josh Albro, Facilities & Operations
“I can’t say enough good things about Mr. Albro!! He is ALWAYS stepping in to help us out when we are short staffed. Always has a smile on his face and an encouraging word for his staff!!!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brian Gilmore, Facilities & Operations
“Mr. Gilmore is always there for Transportation when we need him. I don’t even know what we do without him. Thank you so much for always helping us out.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Carter Carruthers, Burnet Middle School
“Coach Carruthers generally cares for the students at BMS. I love how he greets them at his door every day with a high-five or handshake. He always makes sure he speaks to every student that walks through his door.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Shelly Townsend, Burnet Middle School
“Shelly uses her off time to get her students caught up in core classes. She instills the value of putting first things first and managing their time. We all are grateful for her dedication to our students.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Joni bates, Burnet Middle School
“Joni is a huge asset to our campus at BMS. She is always willing to lend a hand and has become an integral part of my classroom - the kids love her personality and know she wants to help them succeed. She is excellent at what she does and we are lucky to have her!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Tom Milam and Teresa Griggs, Transportation
“These two individuals are exceptional team players. Our department is short staffed and there are times that routes need to be combined so that all students can be provided transportation. Every time one of these occasions has come up, they are always willing to do whatever is needed, they jump on other routes last minute and do their best to accommodate; sometimes even giving up their own routes to help others. They are truly deserving of a Shout Out!!!!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Sara Sanchez, Shady Grove Elementary
“Mrs. Sanchez is doing an amazing job of implementing Leader In Me with her students. My daughter has come home multiple days talking about what she has learned in Leader In Me. She understands what it means to take initiative, she has talked about her reactions needing to be more proactive and she comes home every day singing the 7 habits song. Thank you, Mrs. Sanchez, for investing in the leadership of each of our students.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Keith McBurnett & Brent Kelley
“Thank you for stepping and driving the EDC to the football game. We are grateful for both of you and your dedication to Burnet CISD!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Mae Knaggs, Burnet High School
“Ms. Knaggs is such a positive role model for my daughter. She pours into her ag kids and gives a lot of after-hours with her students. She is always so positive and there is no doubt she loves her students.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Katy Brewer, RJ Richey Elementary
“Katy has such a sweet spirit and kind soul. She is calm and loves her students. She is also an amazing team player!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Shaylah Cunningham, RJ Richey Elementary
“She has a big heart and high standards for her students. I appreciate her pushing my daughter and holding her accountable!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Ashley Birchfield, RJ Richey Elementary
“Ashley is kind and loving to all the students. She is a great role model to the students.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Holly Ritenour, RJ Richey Elementary
“Coach is kind, firm and loving. She has high expectations for her students. She makes PE fun for the students. My daughter loves to go to the gym.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Trever Couch, Burnet High School
“Coach Couch has consistently been my daughter’s “favorite teacher” each time I have asked her throughout the year!! Favorite teachers should always get shout outs!! Thank you, Coach Couch, for all you do!!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Kari Beth Langbein, Burnet High School
“Ms. Langbein gives a lot of her time, after hours, to leading and helping the FFA students be better people. She gives them a lot of real-world experiences. She also holds them to a high standard.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Brandon Evans, Burnet High School
“Mr. Evans is very committed to BHS and all the students. He pushes them, and models hard work, dedication and integrity for them. He also gives a lot of time, after hours, to FFA students.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Caitlyn Guenter, RJ Richey Elementary
“She has gone above and beyond to help our son reach his potential; we have seen a huge improvement since Mrs. Guenter has started working with him. Because of her I know he will be successful in his years to come at BCISD. It’s the extra mile she takes daily to ensure both her student and their parents are confident and comfortable with the path they are on. I cannot say enough how lucky we are to have Mrs. Guenter be a positive part of our son’s education.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Cindi Evans, RJ Richey Elementary
“It was an honor to have Mrs. Evans as our sons teacher last year. We are truly blessed that she has been huge part of his education. He absolutely loved having her as a teacher and misses her dearly. Her loving heart and open-door policy will always be appreciated.”

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week, and before you head off to Thanksgiving Break, join me in cheering on the Bulldogs in Playoff Football! Kickoff is on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Bastrop Memorial Stadium! 
 
November 6, 2023
 
Dear Bulldog Family,
 
The Board of Trustees met this evening for a Special Board Meeting focused on two main topics: the superintendent search process and the appointment of a Board Member to fill the Place 5 vacancy on the Board of Trustees.
 
The Board received 13 applications from community members interested in filling the Place 5 vacancy, and the number and quality of applications submitted made the choice a difficult one for the Board. The Board approved the appointment of Katy Duke to fill the Place 5 vacancy, and she will be sworn in and seated at the Regular November 13 Board Meeting next week. As a reminder, Katy will serve as an appointed Board Member through May 2024. Anyone interested in serving the remainder of the Place 5 term (May 2024-May 2025) will have to file to run for election in May 2024. Board Election information can be found at https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=460012&type=d&pREC_ID=2279454.
 
The Board met with attorneys from Wash Gallegos in closed session to discuss legal issues related to the superintendent search. In open session, the Board approved Dr. Sherri Bays to serve as the superintendent search consultant. Dr. Bays is currently a Field Service Agent for Region 20 Education Service Center and retired as Superintendent from Floresville ISD in 2021. The role of the search consultant is to facilitate and assist the Board in managing the search (i.e. organize applications, conduct background checks on applicants, facilitate the Board’s review of applications, set up interviews, etc.) The Board will see all applications submitted and will be solely responsible for making the choice of who to interview and ultimately who to hire as superintendent.
 
The Board also approved details of the search process such as the timeline, profile for the job posting, process for community and staff input, and the type of background check to be conducted on candidates. The District has created a web page for the superintendent search process and all pertinent information regarding the search will be posted there. The website can be found at https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=460012&type=d&pREC_ID=2527778. Look for updates to be made this week based on this evening’s approvals.
 
The next Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees will be Monday, November 13, at 6:00 p.m.
 
Sincerely,
Earl Foster, Board President
 
October 30, 2023
 
Good morning! What an exciting week ahead as the Lady Dawgs have their first Volleyball playoff game, the Esprit de Corps heads to the UIL State Marching Contest, and our Cross Country runners head to the UIL State Cross Country Meet with the girls qualifying as a team and the boys qualifying 2 individual runners! Congratulations to our coaches, directors, and students for their outstanding performances. I encourage everyone to come out and support our students as they represent the very best in Burnet CISD!
 
One more reason this is an exciting week for BCISD is that the BHS State Championship FFA Meat Judging Team headed out early this morning to travel to Indianapolis to compete at Nationals this week. Good luck on their quest to bring home a national championship!
 
This Friday, I am also encouraging our staff to wear your Donald Fawcett shirt and Burnet Durnet hat if you have one. As I have shared previously, Donald was a selfless volunteer and supporter of this community and of Burnet CISD. I also want to invite you to come out and support the Bulldogs Friday night as they take on the Taylor Ducks in a game with huge playoff implications. We will be recognizing Donald and his family before the start of the game.

I probably don’t have to remind you, but this Friday is a non-student day as staff will have the opportunity to engage in professional development, planning, and preparation for the 3rd six weeks as we head into the final stretch of the first semester.

Don’t forget this weekend to turn your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night, as Daylight Savings Time ends.

As you may have seen, the Governor continues to hold school funding and teacher pay raises hostage to a school voucher scheme that he touts as providing choice for families, when the only choice will be in the hands of the private schools that get to handpick the students that they will allow to register in their schools using public tax dollars. Up to this point the Governor has failed to break a coalition of Democrats and rural Republican House members who oppose the voucher scheme. The Texas House has been adjourned until today, leaving the Governor with little time to find a compromise by the end of the Special Session on November 7. If an agreement is not reached, the Governor may have to call yet another Special Session to address the issue, leaving school districts across the state continuing to run deficit budgets due to the state’s inaction.

Here are the facts in Burnet CISD; we recognized approximately $180,000 in additional funding from the 88th Legislative Session. Unfortunately, that only covered a 1% pay increase for Burnet CISD staff members.  The District was forced to adopt a deficit budget to provide our staff a 2% pay raise as a way of retaining staff.  This also doesn't account for the unfunded mandates that were introduced to schools during this Session, nor does it address inflation. School districts have faced 19 percent inflation since the Legislature last increased the Basic Allotment in 2019. This growth in costs has left school districts like Burnet not only struggling to find the employees they need, but also using more of our revenue on fuel, insurance, utilities, and other costs. A specific example of inflation in Burnet CISD is the increased cost of property casualty insurance. The District’s premium increased this year by $285,000, which represents a 38% increase in cost. Please note, that one line item alone is more than the additional funding the District received from the state. I will continue to keep you informed as additional information is available.

As a reminder, Early Voting for the 14 Constitutional Amendments continues this week with the polls open 8-5 Monday-Wednesday, and 7-7 Thursday and Friday.
 
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Kelly Pieterse, Central Office
“Even with the additional workload of Cole being gone, Kelly can be found smiling daily. When faced with a long challenging day, she often says, "but that's okay because we're going to get it done". She models what it means for a director to care about her employee’s life outside of work. She is kind even when faced with unkindness. She tries her hardest to uplift others and adds more to her plate even when it is full. It is a blessing to work for someone who truly cares.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Sindra Salinas, Burnet Middle School
“Sindra is an extremely hard-working individual. If there is something to be done, you can count on her to do it correctly. She often takes on tasks that are not hers in an effort to make sure things are done in a timely manner. I'm very thankful to work with her.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Sindra Salinas, Burnet Middle School
“Ms. Salinas is always so helpful. We were lucky enough to have her as a teacher in elementary and we were thrilled to see her at the middle school this year. She is very knowledgeable and so proactive. She really and truly cares about the kids and goes out of her way to make sure each kid is set up for success. I hope she knows how appreciated she is.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Lori Beckner & Pam Dillard, RJ Richey Elementary
“Lorri Beckner and Pam Dillard are the best team leaders a teacher can have. Pam Dillard, being my former team leader in 4th Grade and Lorri Beckner (being a former content partner / current team leader for 3rd grade) have both gone out of their way to make me feel supported and welcome on their teams when certain changes were made. The transition to a new grade level and content has been very positive. I have grown to love Math and Science and 3rd Grade. The entire team, to be honest, has been incredible.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Cami German, Shady Grove Elementary
“Ms. German has an incredibly kind and encouraging demeanor toward the children in her class. She consistently advocates for her students and goes above and beyond to make sure they have what they need in order to be successful.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Sindra Salinas, Burnet Middle School
“Ms. Salinas is a true professional in every sense of the word. She stopped her busy day to review an IEP and answer some questions for me and I really appreciated it. She truly cares about the students and wants what is best for each and every one of them.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Cydnie Cunning, Bertram Elementary School
“Thank you to Ms. Cunning for being so responsive, caring and always going out of her way to ensure that children are taken care of. She has made our sons transition to Burnet a wonderful experience. He absolutely loves Ms. Cunning! Burnet is lucky to have her.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: All Staff at drop off and pick up, Bertram Elementary School
“Thank you to all Bertram staff for going above and beyond during this rainy time period to ensure safe drop off and pickup. It is much appreciated!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Michelle Blake, Central Office
“Michelle is the backbone of our department. She remembers birthdays, important events, your kids name and what sport they play. Michelle makes sure that work feels like a family, not just somewhere you clock in and out. She works hard to make sure everything is right for our students, that staff is supported, and no one feels alone. She is the type of person to offer to help even when she's drowning in paperwork. Every department needs a Michelle.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Pam Dillard, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Dillard advocates for her students and does what is necessary for them to get the help or resources they need.”
I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!
 
October 23, 2023
 
Good Morning and Happy Red Ribbon Week! I look forward to seeing everyone’s super hero costumes, college shirts, twin outfits, and Bulldog shirts this week! These are fun themes, but with a serious message of educating our students about the dangers of drug use. As a reminder, in addition to Red Ribbon Week, October is Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Month to increase awareness of the dangers of fentanyl and potential overdoses. Here are some important facts to keep in mind about fentanyl:

 

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50–100 times more potent than morphine, often lethal with as little as 2 milligrams. One pill can literally kill.
  • Drug traffickers disguise pills that include dangerous fentanyl to look like legitimate prescription drugs, and even candy to target children.
  • Fentanyl is impacting individuals with and without substance use disorders
  • Over 71,000 Americans died from fentanyl in 2021, an increase of 23 percent from the previous year.
  • Over that same period, Texas saw an 89 percent increase in fentanyl-related fatalities, with provisional data showing 1,672 deaths in 2021 as compared to 883 in 2020.

Today kickoffs early voting for the November 7 Constitutional Amendments Election. During this election, Texans will decide the fate of 14 constitutional amendments approved for the ballot by state lawmakers. To help you with information on the 14 constitutional amendments, I have attached a nonpartisan voters guide developed by the League of Women Voters of Texas. I encourage you to review each amendment, and more importantly, have your voice heard by voting during this election. Early voting runs from today to November 3. During early voting, voters can cast ballots at any polling location in the county where they are registered to vote. November 7 is Election Day. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

The two amendments that I would especially encourage you to review include:
Proposition 4- Lowers property taxes; and Proposition 9-  Provides a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers. Both of the amendments are already accounted for in the state budget, but the money cannot be spent without voter approval.

Finally, I want to make you aware that a Superintendent Search web page has been created and can be found on the District’s home page at www.burnetcisd.net and under the Board tab. As decisions like the search timeline are finalized, this is where that information will be posted. Additional information will be posted shortly after the November 6 Special Board Meeting. 
 
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456 
 
From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Pam Dillard and Jamey Foley, RJ Richey Elementary
“Pam and Jamey have gone above and beyond in helping me to get students ready for testing. They called and emailed parents and made sure that everything was done to make sure that their students can be successful. They are amazing!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Caity Clinton & Cheere Behrendt, Burnet High School
“Caity & Cheere have given us the tools to make implementing the "Leader in Me" lessons during advisory easy and painless. A click here and a click there a day or two before each lesson and I am ready to present!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Savannah Boettcher, RJ Richey Elementary
“Savannah goes above and beyond for her students making sure all their needs are met. She is very caring and also firm when needed and the children respond to her very well. Her communication is great when issues arise and she is always willing to help when needed.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Holly Ritenour, RJ Richey Elementary
“Coach Ritenour always makes my daughter feel special and notices the leader in her! My daughter loves going to PE!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: John L. Mosley, Facilities & Operations
“Mr. Mosley came to my classroom and spent a couple of hours replacing parts in our classroom sink which hadn’t had water for a year or more or so I’m told. Once he got that done then the pipes broke. I teach a skills class and he was great with my kids in and out of my room. He answered questions, talked with them. Just wow is all I can say. Thank you very much Mr. Mosley for your hard work and get us water running again!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brandy Stires, Burnet Middle School
“Brandy is a hard worker and always has a positive attitude! She has a good relationship with all her students and brightens up the classrooms!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Vanessa Carranco, Bertram Elementary
“Mrs. Carranco is an amazing teacher! My child can be a handful, but she approaches her with humor and grace, is supportive of her as she rides the roller coaster of emotions and allows her space to be exactly who she is within the structure of the classroom. It can be hard for parents who have kids that sometimes feel like they are the square peg trying to fit in, who have great leadership skills but seem misfit in a way.... teachers like Mrs. Carranco, who delight in those quirky personalities make it such a great experience! Keep up the great work Mrs. Carranco!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jamey Foley, RJ Richey Elementary
“Jamey is one of the best teachers at RJ Richey. Her passion for teaching and love for her students is apparent in everything she does. She is always doing what is right even if no one else is. I really appreciate working with her!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Keith McBurnett, Central Office
“Huge shout out to Keith McBurnett for stepping up to the challenge of obtaining his Class B CDL and helping the Transportation department out with routes and trips. We greatly appreciate him taking time from his busy schedule to help us get the kiddos to and from school and activities safely...Thank you!!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Lisa Bostick, Transportation
“Shout out to Lisa for always being so positive and willing to help out with anything and everything. She is like our Department cheerleader...She always treats everyone with kindness, is willing to be a listening ear when you just need someone to visit with and keeps us all laughing with her witty humor and fun jokes.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Magen Farley, Burnet Middle School
“She is great and great to my child. She is trustworthy and kind!”

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!
 
October 16, 2023
 
Good evening! Last week, the Texas Senate passed SB 1 (Education Savings Accounts) by a vote of 18-13 and SB 2 (school finance/teacher raise) by a vote of 30-1. As a reminder, school funding was not part of the Governor’s call for the special session, so it cannot become law unless he adds the issue to his agenda. In fact, Governor Abbott said the following regarding vouchers, “I want to make sure we provide a carrot to make sure this legislation gets passed. Once [education savings accounts] are passed, I will put on the legislative agenda full funding for public education, including teacher pay raises for teachers across the state.”

As a reminder, teachers were the only state employees to not receive a raise in the regular session, although it was a reoccurring promise of legislators and state leaders going into the 88th Legislative Session. That promise was made even easier knowing that the State has a historic budget surplus to address the need identified by the state-level Teacher Vacancy Task Force. Instead of providing teacher pay raises and adequate school funding, these priorities are being held hostage to a voucher scheme. Both issues should stand on their own merits, and receive straight up or down votes.

So now all attention shifts to the House. It remains to be seen what the House will do with the bills the Senate sent over. Burnet County’s State Representative Ellen Troxclair is firmly in favor of vouchers and in a conversation before the special session, she shared with me that in addition to her support of vouchers, she believed there will likely be an increase to the Basic Allotment for schools and targeted funds for teacher pay raises.

The Texas Tribune reported the following this past Friday regarding Rep. Troxclair’s support for vouchers:
 
To garner public support for vouchers, Rep. Ellen Troxclair, R-Lakeway, said advocates need to frame the program as giving taxpayers who opt out of the public school system their dollars back. Voucher opponents have often voiced concerns that an education savings account program would siphon away public school funds.
 
“I had a superintendent yesterday tell me, ‘How can you support public dollars going into private schools?’ And I said, ‘I just don't agree with the premise of your because it is parents’ dollars to begin with,’” Troxclair said.

I have attached a document that outlines the lack of transparency and accountability for private schools should they receive public dollars. Finally, it should also be noted in SB 1 that of the total amount appropriated for this voucher program, the Comptroller may retain up to 3% to cover the costs of administering the program, and the Educational Assistance Organization(s) may retain up to 5% to cover the administrative costs. That means up to $40 million could be spent on administering this program.
The Senate was in recess until today at 1:00 p.m. and the House was adjourned until today at 3:00 p.m. And as of today, there will be just 23 days of the Third Called Special Session remaining.
 
The Board of Trustees met this evening for their Regular October Board Meeting. As a long-held tradition, the October Board Meeting was conducted at Bertram Elementary. Included below are the most notable information and action items. 

The pledges to the flags were led by the following Bertram Elementary students: Laramie Pape, Emerson Floyd, Ava Fucik, and Luke Milliorn

The meeting kicked off by recognizing students of the month at Burnet High School. BHS Students of the Month for October are MaeSyn Gay and Grant Jones. These students were selected from the English Department.

The Board approved Walsh Gallegos, the District’s law firm, to lead the superintendent search process. Walsh Gallegos has informally assisted Texas public school districts with their superintendent searches and hiring since the law firm’s inception in 1997. Since 2013, they have offered formal superintendent search services to districts. The Board will meet during a Special Meeting on November 6 to discuss the search timeline, applicant profile, background checks, and community input. The Board is expected to name a new superintendent mid-to-late-spring. Additional updates will be provided as details are finalized.

The Board approved to fill the Place 5 vacancy on the Board of Trustees by appointment through the acceptance of applications. The application form will be made available on October 17 on the District’s website at www.burnetcisd.net. Applications will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 27. The Board will review applications and make a selection at the November 6 Special Meeting with the intent to seat the new Board Member at the Regular November 13 Board Meeting.

The Board approved Foundation Innovation to assist the District in establishing a Burnet CISD Education Foundation. An educational foundation is a nonprofit organization (IRS designation 501(c)3) that supports a school district’s mission or some associated education-related cause. According to CauseIQ, a national nonprofit consulting company, Texas boasts 2,607 education foundations, of which about 700 support a single school district. There are three main ways that a foundation supports a school district, although each foundation varies in what it does and how it accomplishes its objectives:
  • Raise money to augment the district’s resources, usually by targeting specific needs or initiatives.
  • Raise awareness about the district through communications, community involvement, events, awards, and networking.
  • Raise support for the district through advocacy and various forms of community and advocacy activities.
 
For many educational foundations, their support starts with teachers’ needs and aspirations for improving instruction and enhancing learning. Foundations bridge the gap between available funds and educational needs. Foundations are an increasingly important part of a community’s support for public education. Additional updates will be provided as the founding process gets underway.

Clay Goehring, Chief Financial Officer, provided an overview of the monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report. The Administration provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2098559&type=d&pREC_ID=2175896

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rachel Jones provided an overview of the changes that are still in-progress with State Academic Accountability. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) was set to release A-F ratings last month that were stated to be lower statewide due to a change in TEA’s calculation methodology. Even with an increase in performance in 13 out of 20 tested areas, BCISD was braced to possibly receive lower ratings at campuses and the district than in the past year. However, the A-F system was temporarily recalled while TEA is the subject of a multi-district lawsuit claiming the change in calculation was inappropriately-timed and unfair in methodology. TEA has since released a draft revision to the rating plan with changes to academic growth requirements. We anticipate that this will be the final methodology used, which will still likely result in lower ratings, but we also do not know what further actions will be associated with the lawsuit. If the draft proceeds forward, the lowered ratings may be released as early as the end of October.

Campus Principals presented major areas of focus at their campuses for the year, and Dr. Jones spoke to areas of focus as a district. Each area encompasses multiple smaller actions on Campus/District Improvement Plans, but the larger focus is something intended to drive planning all year. Common themes included emphasis on attendance, high-functioning Professional Learning Teams, a focus on increasing student achievement in Math and Reading, implementation of Leader in Me curriculum with students, and meaningful future planning by campus Leader in Me Lighthouse Teams.

Michele Gilmore, Director of Human Resources, presented a report on Human Resources.  Burnet CISD continues to lead the Hill Country in total compensation and has one of the best benefits packages paying over $6,000 of free insurance for employee-only plans.  Our campuses have done an outstanding job to decrease teacher attrition to pre-Covid years.  BCISD recruits in many ways but we know that the best tool is "word of mouth".

The District requested bids for district wide flooring work, concrete work, and HVAC system preventive maintenance work.  The Administration recommended Wilick's Construction and Maldanado Construction be approved concrete and block work vendors for the 2o23-2024 fiscal year and the Board approved those vendors as requested.  The HVAC system preventive maintenance bids and flooring work bids warrant more investigation prior to Board approval and were pulled from consideration.
 
The meeting adjourned at 9:22 p.m. The next Board of Trustees Meeting is scheduled for November 6 at 6:00 p.m.

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brittany Arrasmith, Bertram Elementary
“Brittany is so helpful! I'm a new teacher at BES this year and as an Instructional Coach she's been nothing but helpful, kind, and patient with me as I ask a ton of "how to" questions! She's quick to respond to emails and she will come to my room as needed. She even set up a weekly recurring meeting to be available to answer questions and show me things with the systems and discuss procedures, etc. Brittany is awesome and I appreciate her!”

From: Burnet CISD Community Member
To: Bus Drivers for Bus 8 & 9, Transportation
“Most afternoons my granddaughter and I sit out and watch the buses go by in the afternoon. The bus drivers for buses 8 and 9 started seeing us and waving. Then they started giving a little beep on their horn as they pass by. It may not seem like much but It makes my granddaughter so excited. Thank you for making her afternoon.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Amy Koenig, Aidan Callahan, & Brad Behrendt, Burnet High School
“The three of you together make an excellent AP team! It is comforting to know that we have the support of 3 individuals who share common values and goals when it comes to the care of our students and staff. Thank you for going above and beyond your job duties and putting in the countless hours to make our campus a safe place and ensure that our student and staff needs are met. Each of you have been a HUGE encouragement for me in so many ways! THANK YOU!!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Cindi Evans, RJ Richey Elementary
“Cindi has a passion for teaching and love for the students. She has a great classroom culture and her students love her.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Brent Kelley, Burnet High School
“Thank you so much to Coach Kelley for helping us cover bus routes this week! We appreciate his willingness to help get our Kiddos to school.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Channyce Havrda, Bertram Elementary
“Mrs. Havrda has done an amazing job building relationships and boosting the confidence of her class. She has a very busy room and could easily become overwhelmed or frustrated, but her patience and kindness are always on display if you pass by. She goes the extra mile with students who need extra attention and help, and it's refreshing to see.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Elizabeth Yantos, RJ Richey Elementary
“She is always engaged and patient with students and I can see the growth of the students with her hands-on teaching! We love Ms. Yantos!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Bertram Elementary PTO, Bertram Elementary
“Our PTO is amazing!! They go above and beyond taking care of all the teachers and staff at Bertram Elementary. Their love and kindness help us stay positive.”

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!
 

October 9, 2023

 

Good Morning! I hope everyone enjoys their day of learning, planning, and working without students! I am about to share with you a bunch of words, but if you only have a moment, here are the most important things for you to know and consider:
  • The 3rd special legislative session begins today.
  • Vouchers are not school choice, but are instead private school’s choice.
  • Private schools can, and frequently do, turn students away. 
  • Public schools are proud to serve all students within our boundaries.
  • Schools are significantly underfunded, especially as a result of inflation and unfunded mandates, such as the HB 3 armed security requirement.
  • The legislature needs to prioritize all available funding for public school students. 
  • Playing politics with students is unacceptable and any private school subsidy program must either pass or fail on its own merits. 
  • Public school students should not be held hostage to try and pass private school subsidies.
 
Governor Abbott called a special session of the 88th Texas Legislature to begin at 1:00 p.m. today for the purpose of providing private school subsidies, also known as vouchers or education savings accounts. In his formal call for the session, Governor Abbott did not include teacher pay or school funding- which is very disappointing! The Governor may choose to add items to the call at any time, so we will watch and remain hopeful. I don’t think I can overstate the importance of this 30-day special session. It is critical that you pay close attention to the actions our lawmakers take and how those actions will impact our public schools.

As you probably know, schools have been hugely impacted by record inflation over the past few years and need more than $14 billion just to return to the buying power we had in June 2019. We are seeing massive increases in the cost of utilities, fuel, insurance, food, and other expenses necessary for operating our school district. Perhaps most importantly, we know that just as the district is experiencing those increases, you are seeing similar increases in your personal lives, and you need cost of living adjustments just to keep up. Unfortunately, the school finance system does not increase funding when inflation rises, and contrary to common belief, rising property values do not provide more money for raises or operating expenses either. As you know, just to provide a 2% pay increase for Burnet CISD staff this year, the District had to adopt a deficit budget.

Because of this, the legislature needs to prioritize all available funding for public school students, classrooms, and staff. The legislature only provided about $2.6 billion in the regular session earlier this year. They set aside $4.5 billion more for public education that can only be spent if a bill is passed to spend it. Half a billion dollars is set aside specifically for private school subsidies, and the Lieutenant Governor has made it clear that the Senate will not provide the remaining $4 billion to schools unless the House passes private school subsidies. Our students and staff deserve better.

With significant increases in revenue expected over the next two years, the legislature has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fully fund public education and stabilize our schools by tying funding to inflation. In fact, Comptroller Glenn Hegar provided a new revenue estimate for the State last week indicating that there will be a surplus of $18.29 billion at the end of FY 2025. Fully funding public schools would allow schools to keep up with rising costs while continuing to raise the bar for student achievement, attract and retain high-quality educators, provide safe and supportive learning environments, and further bolster the economic engine of this state.

We will be watching closely as the legislature considers these important topics and we want you to follow along as well. Educate yourselves on these issues and stay engaged. Be prepared to contact your lawmakers to express your opinions, concerns, and thoughts. As a reminder, our State Representative is Ellen Troxclair and our State Senator is Pete Flores. Their contact information is below:

The Honorable Pete Flores
Texas State Senator
PO Box 22068
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0124

The Honorable Ellen Troxclair
Texas House Member
Room E1.208
PO Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768
512-463-0490

Thank you for all you do for our students and our district. Let’s make sure our representatives in Austin know how important public education is to the future of our state.

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Mike Walzel, Amy Koenig, Tyler McIntosh, Cheere Behrendt, & Gail Whitley, Burnet High School
“Thank you for supporting our students and me. I was in a tough position and you stepped up to help.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jacy Shelburn, Burnet High School
“Your spirit is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for preparing and delivering a staff presentation, regarding Leader in Me. Go Reverend Jacy! Amen, girl! You are an inspiration.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Dawn Shanks, Burnet High School 
“Thank you for helping students with math assignments! They were not "your" students, and the assignment was not for a course that you currently teach. Wow. SERVANT'S HEART.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Tyler McIntosh (Coach Mac), Burnet High School
“You made my student's day by praising him about his success in my classroom. THANK YOU! By doing this, you support the student and me.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Clint Mulhollan, Burnet High School
“I LOVE your passion for life and our students. I also love that we never have to wonder how you feel about something. You are always crystal clear, which is refreshing.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Alicia Villarreal, Food Service
“Alicia is absolutely amazing! She shows up each day with smile on her face. She has taken the time to learn all of our students’ names and will greet them each and every morning, even if they are not getting a breakfast. She makes sure every student who wants a lunch gets one even if it means going back for more. We are absolutely blessed to have her on our campus!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jennifer Roberie, Burnet High School
“BHS Registrar, Jennifer Roberie is a valuable asset not only to BHS but to the entire District. She is always willing to help with anything that needs doing and does so with a happy attitude. She keeps students' needs as her priority! She is always willing to assist and teach other registrars, counselors, administrators on all things Skyward. She is a true gem!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Cindy Alford, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. Alford has been an amazing friend, support, and partner teacher. She has great ideas to help enrich the students minds and get hands on experience as well. RJ Richey is lucky to have a teacher like her.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jessica Lowe, RJ Richey Elementary
“Jessica goes above and beyond her duties. She is very knowledgeable and is always willing to share her expertise and resources.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Shaylah Cunningham, RJ Richey Elementary
“Shaylah loves all of her students and makes sure they know it. She is an amazing team player and supports her coworkers any way she can.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Katy Brewer, RJ Richey Elementary 
“Katy is so organized and never hesitates to share her resources with her team.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Rachel Cohen, RJ Richey Elementary
“Ms. Cohen is such a wonderful addition to the RJ campus and team. She is 100% committed to helping support students, staff, and the campus in everything she does. She has quickly focused on building relationships with students and many students that have struggled with behavior are experiencing success as a result.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jessica McMullen, RJ Richey Elementary
“I am constantly impressed by the level of dedication and care that Mrs. McMullen puts in daily at RJ as our fearless leader. She has the highest level of commitment to our staff and students, and it shows in all that she does. Although her plate may be extremely full, she is constantly looking for ways to lessen the load for others while remaining focused on the vision and mission of RJ becoming a leadership school where students and staff members thrive.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Savannah Boettcher, RJ Richey Elementary
“Ms. Boettcher is always focused on putting students first and truly cares about their needs as individuals. She is committed to helping each student feel valued and as an essential contributor to the leadership campus we are building for students and staff members. Her leadership is valuable for RJ.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Rita Basey & Jerry Floyd, Transportation
“Several big changes were made to their routes this year and they have done a phenomenal job with managing these challenges and owning their new routes. We appreciate their team work and the time, effort and care they have put into making these changes successful.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Officer Raney, RJ Richey Elementary
“Officer Raney goes above and beyond for staff and students. She not only keeps us safe at school, she goes the extra mile and is always willing to step in and help in the office. We love our SRO!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Pam Allison, Transportation
“Pam is always so positive and brings joy to the department. She does a fantastic job and takes great care of her kiddos.”

Have a great rest of the week!
 
October 2, 2023
Good morning! Almost everybody has a favorite teacher, someone who went above and beyond to encourage you because they could see your potential. On Thursday, October 5, join us in taking time to celebrate World Teachers’ Day — a global event launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994. Considering that teachers mold future generations, taking one day every year to say “thank you” is the least we can do.  We have a special treat for our teachers on Wednesday- you’ll have to see what pops up on your campus!

Along with October hosting World Teachers’ Day, it is also Fentanyl Awareness Month. Fentanyl use among teens is on the rise. Unfortunately, so is the risk of overdose. According to the CDC, Fentanyl overdoses involving teens have tripled in the last two years. Our staff needs to be prepared if such an event ever impacts our campus.

It is important that we are equipped with the knowledge of being able to identify when a student is in crisis. If a student overdoses on Fentanyl, there are ways to save the student’s life and every minute counts.

Signs of a possible overdose:
  • Very small pupils
  • Slow or shallow breathing or stopped breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Gray, blue or pale skin
  • Blue or purple lips and nails
  • Decreased alertness, semi-consciousness or loss of consciousness
  • Limp arms and legs
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Vomiting or making choking or gurgling sounds
 
If a student is displaying any of these signs, it is important to get help immediately. Ensure that all students and non-essential personnel have been removed from the area.

What to do:
  • Call 911. Provide them with as much information as you know.
  • Call for your campus school nurse.
  • If Naloxone/Narcan is available, administer to student immediately. It may have to be given more than once.
  • Stay with the student to monitor their breathing. If they are awake, try to keep them awake and alert to the best of your ability.  Avoid forcefully slapping to keep them awake. This could cause injury. Perform CPR if the student stops breathing.
  • To prevent choking, turn them on their side. Do not try to induce vomiting as this can increase the risk of choking.
  • Never leave student alone or unattended. Wait until emergency personnel are with the student.
  • Have the front office contact the parent/guardian/caregiver to inform them of the situation.
  •  

Staff members have been trained on the administration of Narcan, and before the end of this month, Narcan will be housed and available on all campuses.

It is important that all staff are familiar with the district crisis policies. To find more information about this drug, please visit Fentanyl Awareness & Prevention - Texas School Mental Health (schoolmentalhealthtx.org).
Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Keith McBurnett
To: Burnet CISD Staff
“I want to offer a special shout out to our staff for being so caring and always going the extra mile. Bus Driver Eric Woodrum reached out to me to offer his thanks to such a supportive staff. You see, on September 8, Eric had just arrived in Brownwood in a bus for the football game when he received a call informing him of a serious family medical emergency back in Burnet. Our BCISD family jumped to action to ensure that Eric was relieved from his driving duty, a District vehicle was made available to get him home as quickly as possible, and that he was safe to drive back. Special thanks to Jennifer Stevens, Josh Albro, Heather Tepe, Cory Kuhn, Roman Arguelles, Brandon Cunningham, Carter Carruthers, and Travis Meadows for making this happen. Since the emergency, principals, counselors, teachers, and other staff have checked in on the family, and offered prayers and support. Eric wrapped up his message to me with the following, ‘Sir, I know a thing or two about being part of a team. I can tell you this, without a doubt, that all the staff from my fellow drivers ,to the teachers, principals , assistant principals, counselors, secretaries, coaches, cafeteria, cleaning, HR staff, nurses, and anyone else on campus, have all made us feel part of this team, even before this difficult and challenging time for our family. If you could give them all shout outs, on our behalf, that would be awesome. I would love to honor them.’”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Garrick Jones, Heather Tepe, Trent Sage, & Michael Lujan, Transportation
“Thank you so much to the shop staff at Transportation for working so hard to keep our buses and District vehicles running. They work in all sorts of crazy conditions and during all hours to keep our fleet moving.”

From: Burnet CISD Community Member
To: Michelle Blake, Central Office
“Michelle is such an important member of the Special Programs Department. She is so welcoming and does whatever she can to support staff, students, and teachers. She is the ultimate servant leader.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Ashley Birtchfield & Amber Torres, RJ Richey Elementary
“Earlier this week our daytime custodian was out, and before the substitute custodian could arrive shortly after breakfast, Ashely and Amber had cleaned the entire cafeteria. Both Instructional Partners take great pride every day in the RJ campus! They are both willing to take initiative and pitch in whenever needed, even if they were not asked to do so! I am proud to work with such esteemed partners! Thank you, Ashley and Amber, for all that you do to take care of our campus!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Josh Albro & Brian Gilmore, Facilities & Operations
“Both Josh and Brian have helped to cover bus routes multiple times this school year. We appreciate their willingness to help out and jump on a route, even at the last minute and with an incredibly busy schedule of their own. We cannot thank them enough for helping get kiddos to and from school safely.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Lonell Thorpe, Transportation
“We appreciate all the help she has provided. When asked to switch which route, she will be on for the week, day, or last minute, she quickly says no problem. We appreciate the teamwork.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Jeanette Martel, Bertram Elementary
“Mrs. Martel is a positive force on the Bertram FOCUS team. She knows and loves each of her students, is a whiz at documentation, and consistently maintains a high level of professionalism. Students know they can count on her for support and assistance. Thank you, Mrs. Martel, for helping our students grow into responsible, motivated individuals.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Valerie Ullmann, Burnet Middle School
“Every business, even schools, need a positive public relations person. Mrs. Ullmann epitomizes seeing the good in BMS. She is passionate about math, loves her students, and frequently highlights students' successes on social media. If you attend extracurricular events, there is a good chance you will see her in the stands cheering on current and former students. Additionally, (no pun intended), she helps spearhead fundraising events to help the BMS campus.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Technology Department, Central Office
“Our Technology Department Rocks! They are always quick to respond to a ticket request with great service. Not only am I blessed to work with them, I'm also blessed to call them my friends!”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: BHS Custodians, Burnet High School
“BHS Custodians are amazing and they work hard to keep the campus clean! When they are shorthanded, they cover that extra area without complaining. They always have a smile and a good attitude. They keep BHS like a shining star.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Kathleen Syperda, Burnet Middle School
“Kathleen is such an amazing person and a hard worker. She lights up the room with her caring spirit.”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Shelly Townsend, Burnet Middle School
“Mrs. Townsend goes above and beyond for all her students. She cares not only about their educational needs but their emotional and mental needs as well. She is a safe space for so many students and BCISD is blessed to have someone for so many years that cares so much.”

From: Burnet CISD Employee
To: Gina Kiser, Burnet Middle School
“Gina Kiser has a clear vision for building literacy skills for all students. She is a great resource for students and staff and she supports all content areas. She unites the campus with the literacy plan. Mrs. Kiser has such a calming, kind presence. We, at BMS, are so thankful for our favorite librarian, Mrs. Kiser!”

From: Burnet CISD Parent
To: Jessica McMullen, RJ Richey Elementary
“Mrs. McMullen has gone above and beyond for my girls at RJ. She is on top of everything. She has truly been a gem, especially this year. She takes time to get to know each student and always has something positive to say (even if it's not a positive situation at the time).”

I hope everyone has a fabulous week ahead!
 
September 25, 2023
Good morning! Governor Greg Abbott announced last week a special session on "school choice" legislation beginning next month, and warned lawmakers of political consequences if they obstruct the passage of publicly subsidized school vouchers. The only topic specifically mentioned in Governor Abbott’s announcement was school choice, which is disappointing knowing that the Legislature did not increase the Basic Allotment for school districts or provide funding for meaningful pay raises for teachers during the 88th Legislative Session.

With the Texas Legislature expected to meet soon to consider plans that would send taxpayer dollars to private or home schools through Education Savings Accounts (which are better known as private-school vouchers), I have received questions from staff members and members of our community about this issue. I want to highlight ways that such legislation could impact our schools.

It is important to know that under various forms of voucher legislation that have been proposed through the years in Texas, the private schools would not be required to meet many of the standards that our elected state leaders have put in place for public schools. For example, tax dollars would flow to schools that do not have to meet state campus-safety requirements. In addition, these schools are not required to make all the accommodations that traditional public schools make for students enrolled in special education, and private and home schools receiving public tax dollars would also not be required to give the STAAR test that the state requires public schools to give.

Taxpayers have several ways to hold public schools accountable. For example, campus wide STAAR scores are made publicly available, and our financial record and other records are subject to the Texas Public Information Act. Perhaps most importantly, school districts are governed by Trustees who are elected and who meet in public. Private schools do not have locally elected Trustees and their financial decisions are largely secret — something that becomes more troubling if they begin to draw down public dollars.

The cost of voucher programs tends to grow quickly. The cost of Senate Bill 8 proposed earlier this year in Texas would have reached more than $1 billion by 2028. The projected cost of Arizona’s voucher program grew by 1,400% from the initial $65 million to $900 million in just two years. Other states have also shown that vouchers largely fund students who would have attended private schools anyway.

Finally, there is limited revenue to go around in a state as large and diverse as Texas. Dollars that fund private schools will no longer be available to support our public schools. However, our public schools are already chronically underfunded; Texas has one of the lowest rates of per-pupil spending in the country, which has contributed to an historic shortage of teachers and other school personnel across the state.

This is a very important issue and would have a significant impact on our district if a voucher scheme was approved during the special session. I will continue to work to inform you on the status of such legislation.

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!

 
September 18, 2023

Wasn’t the rain wonderful last week? It has been a minute since I woke up in the middle of the night because of a hard rain on the roof! Maybe that is a sign that “fall weather” is right around the corner. The other thing that can be right around the corner this time of the year is the “fall wall.” You all know what I mean, the luster of the new school year has worn off, while discipline issues, emails, and phone calls are growing. Although there is no one solution toward addressing the “fall wall,” recognizing that it is on the horizon and is a normal phenomenon in education, can make it a little easier to manage. As I shared during convocation, “Staying Strong” during the school year can be the challenging part of any school year. As we wrap up the first six-weeks grading period, I want to encourage you to find ways to take care of yourself while staying committed to your actions and plans that you made back in August.   

 

Homecoming Week is happening now in Burnet CISD, and that means mums, pep rallies, parades, and football. It is also a time to welcome back our alumni. I hope that our alumni and community will join us in celebrating Homecoming by attending the Homecoming Parade on Thursday, September 21 at 6:00 p.m. on the Historic Square. Of course, you have to wrap up your Homecoming Week by coming out Friday evening and watching the Lady Dawgs take on the Lago Vista Vikings at 4:30 p.m. and the Burnet Bulldogs take on the Early Longhorns at 7:30 p.m.!

 

The Board of Trustees met this evening for their regular September Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.

 

The pledges to the flags were led by the following RJ Richey Elementary students: Remi Grace Evans - 4th grade, Lillia Jones - 4th grade, Lyla Davis - 4th grade, and Aubree Guenter - 5th grade.

 

The meeting kicked off by recognizing students of the month at Burnet High School and Quest High School. BHS Students of the Month for September are Kaycie Banton and Brady Rygaard. These students were selected from the Math Department. The QHS Student of the Month for September is Dakota Schraeder.

 

The following Burnet High School students were recognized for being named College Board National Recognition Program Scholars in the following categories:

 

  • National African American Recognition Award (NAARA) – Brooklynn Daniel
  • National Hispanic Recognition Award (NHRS) – Arely Castillo Zapata and Yesica Perez-Huerta
  • National Rural and Small-Town Award (NRSTA) – Alexander Davis, Brady Rygaard, Corey McClain, David Jones, Devin Petterson, Elizabeth Harrell, Ethan Nicholl, Lauren Jones, Nicholas Savage, and Tyson Trim

 

Immediately after the passage of the 2021 Bond Program, a Bond Oversight Committee was formed with 7 members. This committee served in an advisory role to the Superintendent and met almost every month for the past two years. The Board and administration recognized the following people for their service to the Bond Oversight Committee: Michael Holcomb, Damon Beierle, Jason Howell, Katy Duke, Lori Ringstaff, Jen Banton, and Elton Heine.

 

Clay Goehring, Chief Financial Officer, provided an overview of the monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report.

 

The Administration provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:

https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2098559&type=d&pREC_ID=2175896

 

The membership of the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) was approved by the Board. The members for the 2023-2024 school year include the following:

  • Kaylee Gaines, Parent Co-Chair
  • Rachel Jones, Asst Supt C&I, District Co-Chair
  • Stacy Bennett, Parent
  • Josie Beasley, Parent Domestic Violence Shelter representative
  • Kristi Burkhart, Parent Physician
  • Kendra Davis, Parent
  • Cheryl Davis, Parent
  • Crystal Dietrich, Parent
  • Afton Floyd, Parent
  • Celeste Rozacky, Parent
  • Hallie Behrens, Intervention Counselor
  • Jana Townsend, School Counselor, Elementary
  • Kurt Jones, Athletic Director
  • Kelly Yarborough, PE Teacher, Elementary
  • To be determined Director of Child Nutrition
  • Amy Murray, Lead Registered Nurse, BMS
  • BJ Gates, Curriculum Coordinator

 

Burnet CISD has representation on the Board of Directors of the Burnet Central Appraisal District.  This representation is realized by the Board making nominations and then having a vote in the election for the 5 members.  Tonight, the Board made these nominations:

  • Gene Broadway
  • Cary Johnson
  • Bruce Jones
  • Phillip Thurman
  • Darlene Oostermeyer

 

The Board approved two items for the new BHS Ag Barn.  These approvals were for the installation of spray foam insulation and the electrical outfitting of the Ag Barn.  The Ag Barn is nearing completion.

 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rachel Jones presented information regarding elementary class sizes. The TEA provides an expedited application process for Class Size Exceptions in PreK - 4th grades where class sizes exceed 22 students. Districts often use these waivers when they have unanticipated growth, a lack of teachers, a lack of facilities, or a lack of funding to be able to hire additional teachers for additional sections of a high-enrollment grade level. She shared about multiple area districts that utilize these waivers to allow staffing in PreK-4 to go as high as 26-29 students per teacher, and in 5th grade as high as 28-34 students per teacher before hiring additional teachers. In this uncertain budget year, BCISD has chosen to hold on hiring additional teachers when class sizes are at 23 or below in PreK-4th and at 26 or below in 5th grade. However, in both PreK and 5th grade, additional teacher positions have been posted for hire due to class sizes. She shared that if we were to hire today for every area that we exceed class sizes by having a 23rd student, the District's planned budget deficit would increase from $418,356 to approximately $676,356 because that number of additional students do not provide sufficient funding from enrollment to offset the cost of opening additional classrooms. With enrollment still fluctuating weekly, the uncertain school funding climate, the lack of space for another classroom on some campuses, and the lack of teacher applicants in existing vacancies, the Administration planned to request approval of waiver applications for the 13 classrooms that have 23 students. However, Board action was tabled because of late-breaking news learned just today. TEA has suspended Class Size Exception applications until November 1st for reasons related to the delay in accountability ratings release. We do not know more about the relationship of those two actions at this time. Upon learning this, the Administration chose to still present the information regarding class sizes to the Board, but did not seek approval for applications at this time.

 

The Board approved the designation of ten nonbusiness Public Information Act days. In response to a new law, these designated days allow for more flexibility in responding to requests for public information when the district is closed.

 

The Board approved assigning fund balance for a contracted consultant to guide the development of the Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) Application Process.  This service will begin quickly to ensure a successful application process. As a reminder, the TIA was created by the Texas Legislature as part of House Bill 3. The TIA gives teachers an accessible pathway to earning a higher income while remaining in the classroom, allowing them to make a greater difference in the lives of Texas students. TIA elevates the teaching profession and allows districts to celebrate their top performing teachers with compensation and recognition through teacher designations.

 

The meeting adjourned at 7:49 p.m. The next Board of Trustees Meeting is scheduled for October 16 at 6:00 p.m. at Bertram Elementary.

 

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: IT Department, Central Office

“The entire IT department is always amazing. Anytime I put in a ticket, if there's a way to fix it immediately, they get it done. If it's something that needs a part, they make sure to check back with me as soon as possible. When I worked in MF, I did not even know who anyone on my IT team was. With our Burnet IT staff, I know nearly all of them by name and have seen each one of them helping on all campuses. Sometimes it can be easy to forget how much they do since they are behind the scenes (or in the ceilings, or in a closet). Thank you IT for being helpful and enjoyable.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Doug Messer, Burnet High School

“Doug Messer is a great dude! He is one of the hardest workers on campus and is very relational with kids and staff. He has strong character, is honest, and tough! We should all be more like him!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Lissa Nichols, Bertram Elementary

“Ms. Nichols is new to the role of Assistant Principal at Bertram Elementary and she is amazing! She exemplifies an “I got this attitude!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Monica Rosales, Facilities & Operations

“Monica is been an awesome worker. She works hard work to keep the school clean and always goes the extra mile to help out when needed at BMS.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Sabrina Sage, Central Office

“I am so thankful for the patience and knowledge of Sabrina Sage. Every time I email her with a question, she is there with the answer I need. She made sure everything I needed was taken care of on my end, even when it was a "User Error" on my part. =P You are a Rock Star Sabrina!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Hayden Buller, Shady Grove Elementary

“Hayden Buller has an AMAZING level of patience. Not only with students but teachers like me with a million questions. She has been a great help with some of my students that need extra help. She's very level headed and can get down to their level. Her experience has helped me to be a better teacher for my own class. Thank you, Hayden, your team loves you.”

 
 
September 5, 2023

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Today is reserved for professional development and planning, with students returning tomorrow. The next scheduled professional development/planning day is September 5.

 

As a reminder, all campuses will be testing the District’s panic alarm system today. The schedule is listed below, and you will be asked to complete a form if your phone does NOT alert during the test. The link to the form will be sent by your principal shortly before the test.

 

Quest/BMS 8:10 a.m.

Bertram 8:20 a.m.

RJ Richey 11:45 a.m.

BHS 1:00 p.m.

Shady Grove 3:30 p.m.

 

I am meeting with the Highland Lakes Retired Teachers Association this afternoon to give them an update on Burnet CISD. Our retired teachers are strong advocates for education, and work to ensure that the teacher retirement system (TRS) is healthy and will provide benefits for years to come. Due to their strong advocacy efforts during the 88th Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature appropriated revenue designated for a TRS retiree cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Texas voters will need to vote FOR a constitutional amendment authorizing this much-needed COLA during the upcoming November 7 Election. I will be voting for Prop 9 to support our retired teachers because no public-school retiree since 9/1/2004 has ever received a cost-of-living adjustment, and it won’t create a tax increase. The Texas Legislature has already set aside the funds to make this happen with voter approval. Prop 9 is one of 14 state constitutional amendments up for approval on November 7. If you are not registered to vote, you can find out how to register at https://burnetcountyelections.com/voter-registration/.

 

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Julie Malina, Bertram Elementary

“Mrs. Malina is an absolutely amazing teacher; she has gone way above and beyond for her students I am truly grateful my child has her for a teacher this year.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Kamri Corbin, Burnet High School

“Kamri is new to the profession and I am so impressed with her! We all know how hard the beginning of the year is with establishing expectations and norms, learning names, etc. She is doing so well with all of that! I'm so proud of her and so glad to have her on our team!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Cora Warwick, Burnet High School

“Cora has been so helpful! I approached her for help with a classroom project and she didn't hesitate to help! Her culinary classes are awesome and they're doing great things! I am thankful to have her as part of BHS.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Justin White, Burnet Middle School

“Justin White is an extremely gifted behavioral specialist and he blesses BCISD every day by sharing his plethora of gifts and talents. That's true, but more important, in my opinion, is how generously he gives his heart to some of the toughest students in our District. Justin genuinely loves every student he serves. He consistently models starting strong and finishing stronger.” 

 

I hope everyone has a great short week ahead!

 
 
August 28, 2023

Good evening! Thank you for making the first two weeks of school great for our students! There is so much evidence that even on day one our staff has followed Stephen Covey’s advice of remembering, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” One “main thing” witnessed across the District last week were the many classes that spent time collaborating on early parts of classroom mission statements that include the treatment of others as a component of personal leadership. Keep up the great work!

 

With the plethora of things you need to do daily, the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 4 will allow you to rest and recharge over an extended weekend. You can enjoy the time fully knowing that you will have time on Tuesday, September 4 to plan and refine for the remainder for the six weeks grading period.

 

Our enrollment has continued to increase and is at 3,282 students as of today, which is close to matching the enrollment this same time last year, but it is lagging behind our budgeted enrollment of 3,305 students. Since the District's funding is based on enrollment, the smaller, actual enrollment (33 fewer students) causes a reduction in revenue. We will continue to monitor enrollment closely, and more importantly encourage students to attend school every day when they are well enough to attend. The District’s attendance rate during the first week of school was 96.7% compared to 93.3% for all of last school year. We would love to see that trend continue throughout the school year. Not only does strong attendance result in better student learning, but the District also does not lose valuable funding. The difference in funding between 93.3% and 96.7% for Burnet CISD is approximately $1,000,000.

 

Thank you for Starting Strong! Your work now will play off as we transition to Staying Strong, which as I mentioned during Convocation is the most challenging part of the school year.

The Board of Trustees met on August 28, 2023 for their regular August Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.

 

The Board Meeting in August always has a strong focus on budget and tax rate with the new fiscal year beginning on September 1 of each year. The August Meeting kicked off with a Budget and Proposed Tax Rate Hearing being presented by CFO Clay Goehring.

 

In six different, but inter-connected actions, the Board approved a $42.2 million budget for the 2023-2024 school year, and a tax rate of $0.8742 to support the budget, which is 18.54 cents lower than the 2022-2023 tax rate. This approval represents the 8th year in a row of the Board voting to lower the tax rate. Between 2015 and 2023, the Board of Trustees has lowered the tax rate by over 39 cents, resulting in the lowest tax rate in the District's history and also ranking Burnet CISD as the second-lowest tax rate among area school districts. The overall budget decreased for a couple reasons.  The most significant being a reduction in recapture.  The legislature's property tax relief bill delivered much needed property tax relief to the taxpayers of Burnet CISD.  This reduction in tax collections was offset by a reduction in recapture that will be paid to the State.  While the State did deliver on the goal of property tax relief, they did not deliver any new money to schools.  Because of this, the District was forced to make $1.2 million in reductions to be able to support a 2% pay raise for all staff.   Even with the significant reductions, the Board still adopted a budget with a ($400K) deficit.

 

While Burnet CISD has fund balance available to support this deficit, school districts cannot operate year after year with a deficit budget.  But Burnet CISD, along with many other Districts across the State, are forced to live this reality this year.  The legislator must do something, if as expected, they re-gather for another special session this fall.  Schools across the State are depending on new money being invested in Texas Public Schools.

 

In another move that puts a significant strain on the budget, the Board approved another 3-year renewal of the District's property casualty insurance.  The annual cost for the renewal is $764,314 which is an increase of $285K.  The insurance premium market has been in an unbelievably inflationary status for the past 5 years and Burnet CISD felt the impact this year. 

 

This increase is included in the annual budget.  The Board also approved budget amendments and the assignment of fund balance to close out the current fiscal year on August 31.

 

Mr. Goehring provided the District financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report.

 

Francis Zordilla with Claycomb Associates, Architects and Calen Shearer with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc. provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:

https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2098559&type=d&pREC_ID=2175896

 

The District received results from the STAAR tests administered last spring. The District saw growth in several grade levels and subjects compared to last year. We still have much work to do; although BCISD saw growth in achievement across many program areas, the State on average saw even more growth, causing the improved pass-rates to still be at or below State averages in grades 3-8.

 

  • BCISD saw increases in the passing rate from 2022 to 2023 in 13 out of 20 tested areas.
  • The overall passing rate for all-grades Math increased by 1%, and the all-grades Reading and Language Arts (RLA) passing rate held steady even though the test changed dramatically.
  • Two areas (5th Math and 6th RLA) showed double-digit gains in passing rates over the same tested area last year.
  • The Class of 2026 (who were freshmen in 2022-23) made double-digit gains in both their Math and RLA passing rates for the second consecutive year.
  • The Classes of 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, and 2030 all improved their cohort passing rates on RLA tests.

 

These areas are worthy of celebration, but overall, we were still below State averages in most areas. Dr. Jones shared the urgency that our teacher teams continue to be supported in creating instructional plans that align to the content and thinking levels required by the State standards. Continuing with the same plans used in past years will generally not produce opportunities for students to have productive struggles with high academic expectations. At the same time, we know that students need encouragement and supportive structures to be confident in pushing through the challenge of new learning.

 

In addition to concern about the indications given by scores themselves, Dr. Jones spoke about the accountability rating implications. TEA has already stated that due to an “A-F Refresh,” districts should expect to see letter-grade ratings drop even if student performance improves. TEA’s stated goal is to have “average” performance generally be rated a “C” rather than a “B.” Knowing that BCISD is below average in many areas gives us great concern for the letter-grade ratings that will be released in September.

 

With the changes that resulted from the 88th Legislative Session that were either effective immediately or effective September 1st, the Administration worked to propose amendments to the District of Innovation (DOI) Plan for beneficial flexibilities. These amendments were discussed with the District Advisory Committee (DAC) on August 21st, and the DAC unanimously voted to approve their presentation to the Board of Trustees. With the Board’s final approval, the District will notify TEA of the amendments and they become effective immediately. The full DOI Plan is posted on the District website. New flexibilities include:

 

  • Allow the implementation of timelines for requests and limits on the number of times a parent can choose grade-level retention or course-repetition when students are otherwise passing and would be eligible to promote.
  • Allow BCISD to give additional notification to parents regarding special education evaluation procedures only upon returning from DAEP rather than both when placed and when transitioning back to campus.
  • Allow BCISD to prevent overcrowding of the DAEP by establishing an on-campus discipline setting (CAEP) substantially similar to a DAEP for non-violent offenses that now statutorily require DAEP, including possession of a vaping device
  • Allow BCISD to comply with FERPA during threat assessment team meetings by communicating with and collecting input from a student’s parent before and after a team meeting rather than the parent attending the meeting where other students and staff are discussed in context of the threat.
  • Allow BCISD to consider in-district and out-of-district transfer requests from families of peace officers and military service members in the same manner as other requests rather than a guaranteed approval. Transfers can be subject to space, program availability, attendance history, and discipline history.
 
The Board approved the reclassification of PEIMS Coordinator to PEIMS Manager.  This position is also being reclassified from Administrative/Professional Pay Grade 1 to Administrative/Professional Pay Grade 2.  This role has taken on more duties throughout the past years to include:
  • Serving as the District’s Skyward Student Software expert/lead.
  • Secondary supervisor for campus registrars. While the Campus Principal is their direct supervisor, this position provides daily oversight for each of these positions and is responsible for training each of them in the District’s Student Accounting practices as well as Skyward. 
  • Consults with and provides guidance to campus principals on a daily basis in regard to PEIMS and Skyward Student.
  • Oversees the Student Accounting process for the entire District.
  • District lead processing all District student transfers.

 

The Board heard a report on DNA (REGULATION) PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL/EVALUATION OF TEACHERS. Teachers will continue to be appraised with T-TESS but some teachers will be eligible to be appraised every 3 years if they have met the qualifications.

 

Following the Board’s adoption of new District Goals last spring, the District Improvement Plan (DIP) and Campus Improvement Plans (CIPs) have undergone a complete rewrite. The Goal and Performance Objective levels of the plans were approved by the Board last night, and the full plans including strategy-level actions are posted on each campus website in the “About Us” section. The DIP and the CIP are by nature living documents because site-based teams make adjustments to the strategies throughout the year following scheduled formative reviews.

 

The Meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m. and the next Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on September 18, 2023.

 

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Christine Hoffman, Bertram Elementary

 

“Christine has done a phenomenal job throughout in-service and getting the first week of school going at Bertram Elementary. As a team, we have laughed, problem solved, pivoted and most of all smiled our way through it all, under her amazing leadership. Our campus has truly felt like "together, we can do anything!" I can't wait to see the plethora of amazing things that she leads us to and through at Bertram Elementary in the coming years. She is AWESOME!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Jessica Ayala, RJ Richey Elementary

 

“Jessica has gone above and beyond to help me in getting my classroom ready for students--hauling heavy furniture, taking out countless loads of trash and always smiling through it all. She is always sweet, kind and personable and is a joy to work with!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Laura Baladez and Peter Null, Bertram Elementary

 

“Laura and Peter have been the dynamic duo in helping me to take care of many of my classroom needs at Bertram Elementary. They always stop by my room to say hello and ask if there is anything I need. And when I need something, they take care of it at supersonic speed. They are a huge help to all of us at Bertram Elementary and we couldn't be ready for a day of instruction without them! They're the best!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Evelyn Hill, Burnet Middle School

“Mrs. Hill has made my math anxious daughter excited about math class. I know it's only the first week but my daughter has come home raving each day about Mrs. Hill. She tells us how Mrs. Hill uses small groups and rotations to keep them engaged and actually liking math. As a parent, I loved getting an email with a parent resource attached which gives me information about what they are learning with explanations. This is amazing! I wish I had this with all of my other kids. It's often difficult to help at home if I don't know what they are working on or how it was explained in class. This resource is a game changer. Thank you, Mrs. Hill, for what I know will be an amazing year for my daughter.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Holly Faris, Burnet Middle School

Holly has been WONDERFUL helping me get started at BMS, I am new and I would not have made it without her the first week!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Megan Ramon, Bertram Elementary

“Mrs. Ramon has been so welcoming and made my daughter's first days in a brand-new school go so smoothly. We are so glad to have her in Bertram!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Jennifer Roberie, Burnet High School

“Jennifer is the Registrar extraordinaire! She has helped our BHS families with the registration process with kindness and patience, and has been the go-to person for the district's new registrars. We are so fortunate to have her and want her to know how appreciated she is!!!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Lucy Parker, Central Office

“Lucy has been such a tremendous help to our department as she helps us reach out to our Spanish speaking families with route and other bus related information. She is always so willing and kind and we appreciate her willingness every day.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Kerry Wagner, Shady Grove Elementary

“I was asked to fill in for her IP and her class is amazing!! She has already taught them that when they hear an announcement come on, they stop what they are doing, point up and listen. Mrs. Wagner's students are learning, growing and it already shows. Great job!!”

 
August 21, 2023

Good morning! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and you were able to catch up on some rest. As you know, there is no kind of tired like the first week of school tired, but a slightly shorter week did help a little. Thank you to all of our staff for making the first week of school a success!

 

Our enrollment has improved since the first day of school, and as of Friday it was at 3,231 students. That still puts us behind our projected and planned enrollment, but we will continue to monitor enrollment for the typical growth that takes place between now and the snapshot date in October.

 

The Board will meet next week on Monday, August 28 for its Regular August Board Meeting. A big focus of this meeting will be on approving the District’s budget and tax rate for the upcoming school year. The tax is projected to decrease by 18.5 cents!

 

Saturday is Women's Independence Day to commemorate the ratification in 1920 of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote.

 

Thank you for everyone’s help in making sure doors and gates are closed and locked throughout the school day. This is just one part of our comprehensive school safety and security plan. As a reminder, School Safety “Intruder Detection Audits” can begin any day. Here are some reminders about the process:

  • On the day of the visit, you can expect the auditor to be in “everyday attire” and wearing an ID.
  • Once the auditor arrives on the designated campus, he or she will check exterior doors to attempt entry. If the auditor can get in from an exterior door, he or she will then try to access interior classroom doors since our policy is to have all classroom doors locked while students are present.
  • If the auditor is stopped by a staff member, he or she will identify as a safety inspector and will have a Region 13 ID badge plus a matching ID. He or she will then proceed directly to your school office and ask to meet with the campus contact.
  • If the auditor is not able to get in through exterior doors, he or she will enter the campus as a visitor. The campus contact will then be asked to show the campus weekly door sweep record. The auditor will then be escorted by the campus contact to check interior classroom doors.

 

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Phillip Malina, Burnet High School

“He worked hard before staff reported back to make sure all staff computers, projectors, monitors and phones were set up and ready for us to get to work without having to worry about how to set everything up!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Kayla Earnshaw, Food Service

“Not only is she a great leader with a positive attitude, but she’s always willing to go beyond and help her staff. She’s been a positive reinforcement that Food Service needs! Thank you for always lending a helping hand!!!!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Julie McCown, Food Service

“She came in on her day off to help with the kitchen move, helps whenever needed and has a smiling face. She’s Always Friendly! Thank you!!!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Isabella Cummings, Food Service

“She came in on her day off to help with the kitchen move & set up. She helps whenever needed and has a smiling face. Thank you!!!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Patrizia Chandler, Food Service

“She came in on her day off to help with the kitchen move & set up. She helps whenever needed and has a smiling face. Thank you!!!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Mrs. McMullen, RJ Richey Elementary

“Mrs. McMullen has always been so responsive and welcoming to me as a parent when I have had concerns or questions. This was proven again at the beginning of this school year. She assisted with ways to help my child and was so accommodating. I know this is such a busy and hectic time of year, but I appreciate so much that she takes the time to connect with families and students and make our input feel needed and valued.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Tiffany Meyers, Shady Grove Elementary

“We had the most welcoming experience coming into Ms. Myers class for Meet the Teacher. My son is a transfer from another school district and she already knew his name as he was entering into her class. He immediately felt comfortable and welcomed just by her knowing his name. That small step helped calm his nerves and mine. I look forward to the rest of the year!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Jennifer Stevens and Elyse Moore, Transportation

“Both Jennifer and Elise provided excellent service and time on the phone in a super busy time 😊

 

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

 

 

August 14, 2023

Good morning! It is about to get real, real. Students will report back to school this Wednesday, and if you are like me, even though this will be my 30th first day of school as an educator, I still get nervous and excited. I know I sound like a broken record, but THANK YOU for all of your hard work last week in preparation for students being welcomed back to a new school year this Wednesday. I have seen such a plethora of examples of staff optimizing for the start line, and it is not a Nancy Drew mystery to me that all of your hard work will keep us from sinking. As we Start Strong, Stay Strong, Be Tough, and Finish Strong, I think we should have a Piñata Party in May to celebrate an awesome 2023-2024 school year!

 

This past Friday morning, several pastors representing multiple churches from across the community came together for breakfast and prayer. Specifically, they prayed for Burnet CISD, our staff, students, parents, and community. There is no doubt that this community supports you and your vocation of serving others.

 

Don’t forget to look for Kona Ice on your campus sometime today. Nothing beats the heat better than shaved ice and my personal flavor of choice- root beer! 

 

As a reminder, the 911 portal is open and active on the CampusShield app beginning today. If CampusShield is activated, it will call 911. Look for more information either later today or tomorrow about your classroom phones. Matt Busceme, Director of Technology, has been putting in extra hours learning how to program the phones to not only call 911 with a single button like we showed you, but he has shown proof of concept that he can now lock the doors and send text message notifications with a single button. He has some configuration work to do today, and we will be sending out information and screenshots on what we think right now will be two panic alarm buttons on your phone beginning on Wednesday.

 

I hope you will have the chance to join us tonight for Meet the Bulldogs. This is an opportunity for our students participating in fall activities to be introduced to the community. The event will take place at the Burnet High School Gym. A hotdog meal will be provided at 6:00 p.m. in the foyer and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m.

 

The Texas House Select Committee on Education Opportunity and Enrichment released its initial interim report to the 88th Texas Legislature late last Friday. In response to its three charges, the committee made a host of recommendations, including several related to vouchers. This appears to be part of the road map that they will use during a Special Session in October. At the bottom of this email I have included an overview of the recommendations.

 

Here are the Staff Shout Outs from this past week! Thank you to everyone that took time to recognize one of our outstanding staff members! As a reminder, you can always submit a Staff Shout Out by going to the following link: https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=3630650&type=d&pREC_ID=2406456

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Garrick Jones, Transportation

“Garrick has gone above and beyond this summer. He has worked in extreme heat in the shop to prepare the buses for the new year. He strives for perfection and aims to complete projects while learning new things daily. When given a new task, he grabs hold and takes ownership. He is a great BCISD team member, and we are so blessed to have him in Transportation.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Sabrina Shaffer, RJ Richey Elementary

“Mrs. Shaffer is always willing to lend a helping hand wherever she is needed. She is flexible in schedules, students and staff admire her, and she does everything with a smile on her face! She takes pride in her job and makes a difference in students' lives daily.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Shayna Clark, Bertram Elementary

“You are the best part of Bertram! You bring a warm presence that everyone appreciates. Thank you for being a person who makes such a big difference.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Parent

To: Valerie Sanchez, Shady Grove Elementary

“Working hard all summer long to get the school cleaned and ready to go for the first day of school.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: Carrie Brobst, Shady Grove Elementary

“Goes over and beyond to make it happen. Giving everything and everyone a smile, even on the hard days!”

 

From: Burnet CISD Employee

To: BMS Cafeteria Staff and FSO Staff

“They’re working really hard to have the BMS kitchen set up and ready for the new year with all the construction.”

 

From: Burnet CISD Community Member

To: Valerie Sanchez, Facilities & Operations

“She’s hardworking and always positive!”

 

I hope you have a great week and a great first day of school!

 

The Texas House Select Committee on Education Opportunity and Enrichment

 

Charge 1: Ensuring all Texas youths enjoy equal educational opportunity and the freedom to obtain a quality education, regardless of circumstance

Recommendations:

Continue identifying opportunities to scale and improve public school choice through the availability of specialized schools, STEM Academies, Career and Technical Education, Early College High Schools, etc., ensuring parents have ample choice in their children’s education.

Implement proposed recommendations from the Texas Commission on Virtual Education.
Implement the proposed recommendations from the Texas Commission on Special Education Funding. (TASA Note: Recommendation 14 in that report is to “Consider Educational Savings Accounts.”)
  1. The Legislature should consider addressing intra- and inter-transfer policy including charging of tuition for transfer students.
  2. If the Legislature chooses to enact a parental choice program, it should clearly outline student eligibility to ensure success and target certain student populations to ensure that each program participant is assessed to make apparent academic outcomes. The program should prioritize high need students. The program should include appropriate safeguards to ensure fiscal responsibility and accountability including, but not limited to, a finite appropriation to fund the program using General Revenue funds and not funds from Foundation School Program. Ultimately, the program needs to value the best interest of the student, parent and taxpayer, preserving the quality of education.
  3. An additional parental choice option worthy of consideration includes legislation to allow the Comptroller to select a Certified Educational Assistance Organization to administer a fund that would be used for parents and students to apply for scholarships or education expense assistance, funded by private sector funds, no state money, by offering credits on insurance premium taxes for contributions. Contributions would also provide for federal tax deductions.
  4. Consider expanding learning opportunities through community-based learning centers.

Charge 2: Improving outcomes for Texas public school students and meaningfully supporting educators and educational institutions

Recommendations:

Student and Parent Supports

  1. Increase the Basic Allotment to ensure LEAs have sufficient operating funds to offset the rising cost of inflation, which can be used to compensate teachers and provide increased resources for students in Texas.
  2. The Legislature should consider addressing parent/guardian rights regarding the local grievance process similar to HB 890 and HB 3315 of the 88th Regular Session.
  3. Empower parents with reliable information about their child’s reading progress and high quality resources that can be used at home.
  4. Promote early literacy foundations through rapid interventions when students in early grades show signs of low proficiency through policies contained within HB 2162 (88R).
  5. Provide diagnostic instruments for schools to monitor a student’s development of foundational literacy skills in Kindergarten through third grade.
  6. The Legislature should consider offering grants to help districts pay for innovative parental engagement efforts.
  7. Consider additional funding for organizations on campus that provide resources for chronically absent, truant, and at risk students. 

Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Supports

  1. Implement recommendations of the Teacher Vacancy Task Force to address critical vacancies and support the educator workforce to meet state needs. Specifically: a. Expand TIA to more teachers through the establishment of a fourth designation tier and the creation of a grant program to help increase participating districts; b. Create a sustainable, affordable Teacher Residency Program and allotment to increase the pipeline of diverse teachers receiving strong, on-the-job preparation; c. Waive certification costs for hard-to-fill teacher fields such as bilingual or special education. Additionally, waive certification and fee costs for first time teacher applicants; and d. Provide children of teachers with access to free Pre-K.
  2. Eliminate the TRS Retire/Rehire surcharge imposed on districts for retired teachers to return to the classroom or fill other support staff vacancies.
  3. Provide greater public transparency and data regarding the implementation of the Science of Teaching Reading.
  4. Require a percentage of a school district’s increase to the Basic Allotment be used to provide wage increases for support staff.
  5. Direct TEA to collect more disaggregated data than is currently available on teacher vacancies and class sizes, and should conduct an independent time study. The teacher time study should include the impact of large class sizes and student behaviors on the learning environment, discipline issues, and working conditions, particularly in school districts with high rates of student mobility and educationally disadvantaged students. The study should engage with educators directly to learn about the prevalence of duplicative data entry and unnecessary paperwork that take time away from teaching.
  6. Direct TEA to annually promote the teacher profession and its value. 

Classroom Discipline

Supporting teachers in their efforts to manage student behavior, perhaps through reforming policies about allowing teachers to remove from the classroom students with especially problematic behavior and the return of those students to the classroom, as was in SB 9 (88R), and through training and technical assistance for districts about strategies school leaders can use to set effective behavior expectations, as was in HB 11 (88R) and HB 100 (88R) as passed by the Senate.

Property Tax

Consider how recent property tax legislation (SB 2, 88(2)) impacts school finance and County Appraisal District processes and explore possibilities for ensuring fair practices across districts related to State and local property value assessment. This should include a thorough examination of the state’s property value appraisal system, specifically the Property Value Study (PVS), and its impact on local school districts.

School Finance

  1. Strategically adjust key school finance allotments and funding streams as outlined in proposals passed with bipartisan and bicameral support during the Regular Session to provide targeted resources for improving student outcomes, including: a. Adding pre-K students to the Early Education Allotment to support the availability of quality early learning; b. Removing barriers to implementation in public-private Pre-K partnerships; c. Modifying Additional Day School Year baseline calendars to 175 days, rather than 180; and d. Increasing the weights provided in the Compensatory Education Allotment.
  2. Consider establishing an Average Daily Attendance (ADA) floor for school districts. An ADA floor would help set funding expectations as well as protect district funding against unexpected circumstances, such as natural disasters or statewide emergencies, projected decline in enrollment, student departures, and student mobility across districts.
  3. Appropriate additional funds to support school safety implementation to meet requirements from HB 3 (88R) and guidance issued by TEA in 2022.
  4. Consider allowing ISD Board of Trustees to access additional Tier 2 Golden Pennies.

Charge 3: Modernizing assessment and accountability measures for Texas schools educating K-12 students

Recommendations:

  1. Allocate technical assistance grant funds to support the development of Local Accountability Systems and identify potential valid and reliable metrics to include in elementary and middle grade campuses.
  2. Consider requiring TEA to deliver an annual report on TTAP’s effectiveness rather than waiting until 2026 to review findings. A report should include TTAP’s ability to reduce the quantity of high stakes testing.
  3. The Legislature should consider reforms that make the assessment results better tools for parents to actually understand which and how much of the TEKS their child has mastered.
  4. Establish a predictable cycle for the adjustment of CCMR cut scores to better align and prepare LEAs. Alignment should include “what/if” models.
  5. Define chronic absenteeism in the Texas Education Code. Add chronic absenteeism to the “at risk” category to better support students who are chronically absent and therefore at risk of dropping out. Require that TEA annually aggregate and report chronic absenteeism as well as truancy to increase transparency and better target student supports.
  6. Modify Resource Campus qualifications and requirements so more campuses can participate and benefit from additional targeted funding to improve outcomes.
 
 

August 7, 2023

Welcome back to the 2023-2024 school year! Denise Witmer is quoted as saying, “A new school year means new beginnings, new adventures… and new challenges.” I am excited about the new beginnings and adventures that are ahead for us in 23-24, and our collective team is committed to facing any new challenges head on, and removing barriers for you so that you can do the important work you are called to do.

 

As a reminder, as you get settled into your classroom and find that you need basic supplies for your classroom, please reach out to your campus office staff. Each campus has a supply budget for classroom supplies and materials. In addition, remember to take advantage of your Instructional Classroom Enhancement (ICE) Funds ($50 for every classroom teacher). Look for details on how to access your ICE Funds in an email from CFO Clay Goehring sent out this past Saturday.

 

Thank you to our Facilities and Operations staff that have worked tirelessly in some challenging conditions this summer to prepare our buildings for this school year, and they look great! Lots of construction and renovations took place over the summer, and it looks like all of the major projects will be done before the start of school, except the Walking Track, Canopy, and Hallway B at Bertram Elementary, and the Canopy at Burnet Middle School. We are working on getting a firm timeline for the completion of these projects.

 

I look forward to gathering with you tomorrow for Convocation. The Vendor Extravaganza and Breakfast will kick off the day from 7:30 – 8:45 a.m. in the BHS cafeteria (NOTE the later start time for the breakfast), and Convocation will begin at 9:00 a.m. sharp in the BHS auditorium. At Convocation, get ready for the Burnet CISD Masked Singer competition featuring Elephant, Unicorn, Spicy Chicken, and Dinosaur!

 

Masked Singer

 

Our students have been hard at work preparing for fall competitions. The District's web calendar lists upcoming competitions and events. I hope you will join me in finding time this school year to watch our students perform and compete. You can check out the web calendar HERE.

 

Shout Out

 

If I sang the praises of our staff’s hard work, you would need ear plugs because I don’t sing well, and I would lose my voice pretty quickly because there are so many examples of hard work, dedication, care, and commitment among our entire staff. As part of the District’s Strategic Plan, we formalized last year a way that we can sing the praises of each other, and allow parents and community members the chance to sing the praises of our wonderful staff as well through what we call Staff Shout Outs. A Staff Shout Out is a special recognition that acknowledges a District staff member who has demonstrated a special effort, an outstanding job, caring customer service, a project of high quality workmanship, a team mentality, and/or is helping students CRAFT the FUTURE. We want to encourage students, parents, teachers, auxiliary staff, coworkers, and all community members to submit Shout Outs for any employee of Burnet CISD. You can check out past Staff Shout Outs or submit a Shout Out yourself by clicking HERE.

 

We have a lot to do in the next 7 days before welcoming students back on August 16. Thank you for being a part of Burnet CISD and committing to our mission of CRAFTING the FUTURE for our students. Your hard work will pay off as we focus on Finishing Strong!

 
July 25, 2023

Good evening! As you will see in the Board Meeting Recap below, the news on the budget front is better, but far from where it should be based on the inaction of the Legislature. A Special Session is now being predicted for October that will focus on teacher pay raises and educational savings accounts (vouchers). The move from September to October for the Special Session is due to the impeachment hearing of Ken Paxton scheduled for September.

 

I have said it before and will continue to say it, funding for teacher pay raises should not be tied to or contingent upon the passing of a voucher scheme bill. Both items should be allowed to stand on their own for an up or down vote. The Board approved compensation plan will allow us to make changes to the District’s compensation plan based on any new legislation passed in October. The Board and Administration stand ready to act. The Legislature now has to do its part.

 

Our campus and district leadership teams met last week over two very full days to make preparations for the upcoming school year. We look forward to welcoming new professional staff on Friday, August 4, and welcoming back all staff on Monday, August 7.

 

If you haven’t done so yet, please send Jessi Carpenter ([email protected]) your summer fun photo. It will be used in a video right before Convocation kicks off. Enjoy these last two weeks of summer break!

 

The Board of Trustees met this evening for their Regular July Board Meeting. Included below are the most notable information and action items.

 

Clay Goehring, Chief Financial Officer, provided an overview of the monthly financial reports, including the 2021 Bond Financial Report. He also provided an update on the 2023-2024 budget.  This update provided the Board with new information related to the budget, resulting in additional funds for the current year, and identified long term funding opportunities that help in future budget years. These updated numbers provide additional funds for pay raises beyond the 1% pay increases being projected in June.

 

The Board of Trustees and Administration is committed to providing salary increases to our staff each year and have worked diligently to ensure Burnet CISD’s total compensation package is as competitive as possible.  As a testament to this, the Board of Trustees approved the Administration’s recommendation of a 2% Midpoint General Pay Increase for Teachers and Librarians and a 2% Midpoint General Pay Increase for all other staff. Staff whose salary is above the pay grade maximum will receive a lump sum payment equal to the general pay increase split in their December and May paycheck.

 

The Board also approved the stipends for the 2023-2024 school year with no changes from the 2022-2023 school year.

 

The updated budget projection for next school year is a $330,000 deficit and a deficit of approximately $1,000,000 for 2024-2025.  The District has available fund balance to cover both of these deficits. The final 2023-2024 budget will be presented for approval to the Board on Monday, August 28.

 

After the budget update, Mr. Goehring provided a report on the possibility of Burnet CISD changing its fiscal year start and end dates.  Currently, Burnet CISD’s fiscal year begins on September 1st and ends on August 31st. School Districts have the option to move to a fiscal year that begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th of each year.  The Board was presented with the two different timelines for each fiscal year option and the pros and cons of each were reviewed.  The major benefit of making the change is that it aligns the fiscal year with the academic year, and that allows campuses to begin spending “new year money” on July 1st instead of having to wait until September after the school year has already begun.  The transition year also increases a District's fund balance a significant amount, which is a welcomed benefit.  The Board will have the option to officially approve this transition later in the 2023-2024 school year, with the change, if approved, going into effect on July 1, 2025.

 

In a step to prepare the District for the future, the Board approved paying off early $3.4 million in bonds. This action is called a defeasance and it provides interest cost savings as well as increases flexibility for the District to address future facility needs. Since 2012, the District has defeased or refinance bonds 5 different times saving the District over $5 million in interest payments. This is the District's 2nd year in a row to pay off debt early, and a practice the District plans to continue. The funds used to pay off the debt early are generated from the I&S portion of the tax rate, and in no way impacts the District’s operating budget.

 

In another action item, the Board approved a proposed tax rate for the 2023–2024 school year.  The proposed rate of $0.9705 (8.91 cents lower than last year) is based on state law prior to the new legislation recently passed by the Legislature.  The exact details of the new law have not been released, but the rate the Board will adopt in August will include the additional property tax relief, and will likely be compressed (lowered) by another 9 cents. This will represent significant savings for homeowners, and the Legislature has promised that they will provide the loss revenue from lower tax rates to school districts.

 

The Board also completed required annual approvals related to Burnet CISD Investments.  The items approved were the District Investment Policy, the Authorized Brokers List, and the approval of the District’s Investment Officers, which are Clay Goehring, CFO and Jill Disler, Director of Accounting.

 

The Board approved the Administration’s recommendation regarding the 403(b) Program.  Those enrolled in the 403(b) Program by August 16, 2023 will be eligible to receive the District matching contribution of 50% up to maximum amount 2% of total salary. The District will continue to offer the 403(b), but will discontinue matching contributions for those enrolled after August 16, 2023.

 

Bo Ledoux with Claycomb Associates, Architects and Calen Shearer with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc. provided a report to the Board of Trustees regarding the status of projects as part of the 2021 Bond Program. A copy of the Bond Update can be found at the following link:

https://www.burnetcisd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=2098559&type=d&pREC_ID=2175896

 

The Board approved the purchase of new LED lights for the BHS Competition Gym.  These lights will provide better efficiency and greatly improve the visibility and brightness in the gym. 2021 Bond Prop-B funds will be used to purchase these new lights.

 

Athletic Director Kurt Jones provided a report on the 2022-2023 athletic program.  His presentation included the recent news that BHS Athletics finished ranked #13 out of 67 Austin Area schools in the Austin American Statesman Breazeale Cup.

 

An overview of the District Climate Survey conducted this past spring with staff, families and secondary students was provided to the Board. The survey asked questions over multiple domains including academic performance, student emotional & physical well-being, family engagement, communication, leadership, teacher support, staff well-being, staff opportunities for growth & retention, instruction, data use, and overall environment.

 

The Board approved the following revisions to LOCAL Board policies:

 

DBA (LOCAL): EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS CREDENTIALS AND RECORDS

Replace policy- Revision to this policy clarifies that in accordance with the District’s innovation plan the District is exempt from the state law that requires teachers to hold SBEC certification in the areas of CTE, dual credit courses, Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and hard-to-fill courses.

 

DEC (LOCAL): COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS LEAVES AND ABSENCES

Replace policy-Revisions to this policy states that payment for accumulated leave upon retirement will be paid for local leave only.

 

DK (LOCAL): ASSIGNMENTS AND SCHEDULES

Replace policy- Revisions to this local policy clarifies that the Superintendent shall have the authority to approve a request by the principal for a qualified individual who has experience in CTE, dual credit courses, LOTE and hard-to-fill courses may be exempt from SBEC certification in accordance with the District’s local innovation plan.

 

DNA (LOCAL): PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL EVALUATION OF TEACHERS

Replace policy:  Revisions to this policy clarifies that all teachers will be appraised annually unless they meet the qualifications to be appraised every 3 years.

 

EIC (LOCAL): ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT CLASS RANKING

Replace policy:  Revisions to this policy clarify that homeschool or private school transfer grades are only accepted when institutions are accredited by a TEA-recognized agency; remove references to procedures for graduating classes prior to 2023; and refine other language to more clearly articulate the intent of the original policy.

 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rachel Jones provided the opportunity for public comment regarding possible changes to the post-pandemic Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services (RIPICS) Plan. This was the last required public hearing on the RIPICS Plan, and the Administration did not recommend any changes to the plan, which is posted on the ESSER III web page.

 

Adoption of new Phonics Instructional Materials was included on the Consent Agenda. This selection was driven by teacher feedback during the spring semester, and will replace the existing Phonics resource as the primary source of daily phonics lessons.

 

The Board approved the 2023-2024 Student Code of Conduct, which communicates to students, parents, school staff, and the community the expectations for student conduct, and how the District will handle misconduct. Bills passed during this summer’s Legislative Session impacted a few areas of student discipline:

  • House Bill (HB) 114 requires mandatory DAEP placement if the student possesses, uses, or is under the influence of, or sells, gives, or delivers marijuana, THC, or an e-cigarette to another person within 300 feet of school property or at a school-related event. The e-cigarette provision includes possession of any part of a vaping device, regardless of whether or not a substance is in the device
  • House Bill (HB) 3928 requires that the district provide information about the process for requesting a special education evaluation to parents of students with any DAEP placement.
  • House Bill (HB) 1427 expands the definition of harassment to include making obscene, intimidating, or threatening telephone calls or other electronic communications.

 

With these adopted updates, the Administration can begin finalizing procedures and Student Handbook language to operationalize these changes.

 

Finally, the Board approved endorsing Dr. Mary Jane Hetrick (Dripping Springs Board Member) as a candidate for the Texas Association of School Board (TASB) of Directors.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:08 p.m.  The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on August 28 at 6:00 p.m.