ROCKWALL, TX (July 20, 2021) The following is a Rockwall ISD press release summarizing last night’s RISD Board of Trustees meeting.
NOTE: Board meeting summaries highlight different agenda items. For more information on every agenda item presented, click the following link>> www.rockwallisd.com.
Board of Trustees Tour Lupe Garcia Elementary School
At 4:30 p.m., the Board of Trustees, Superintendent Dr. John Villarreal and members of the District Leadership Cabinet toured the new Lupe Garcia Elementary School.
Garcia Principal Steven Pesek and Mrs. Lupe Garcia, the school’s namesake, also toured the new school in Fate, Texas.
Rockwall ISD’s 16th elementary school will welcome students and families for the 2021-2022 school year. The completion of the school, which is on time and under budget, also marks the completion of all major projects from the 2015 bond program. The regular monthly meeting began as posted at 6 p.m. in the Board Room at the Rockwall ISD Administration Building.
Board of Trustees Recognitions
The Board of Trustees recognized outstanding students and student groups for the following accomplishments:
• Rockwall-Heath High School Tennis UIL 6A State Mixed Doubles State Qualifiers – Avery Kinsey and Lucas Henke were the 1st mixed team in Rockwall ISD history to qualify and compete in the UIL State Tennis Tournament. As a mixed tennis team, their season record was 20-3. Both were District 10-6A MVP’s with Avery named 1st Team All-District and Lucas named 2nd Team All-District.
• Extended School Year (ESY) 2021 Mentor Recognition – The ESY Mentor Program began in 2018. Middle and high school students volunteered to assist their peers with disabilities during the summer. A total of 42 students volunteered more than 434 hours this summer supporting students.
Review of Bond Projects Proposed by Facilities Bond Committee
District leadership presented to the Board of Trustees a detailed review of the proposed bond projects recommended by the Facilities Bond Committee. The review included:
• A brief summary of the current status of the 2015 bond program;
• Major factors impacting the District’s decision to consider calling for a bond election;
• A review of the major categories of the bond projects recommended by the Facilities Bond Committee; and
• A summary of the total estimated cost of the bond projects into estimated bond propositions.
In June 2021, the District’s Financial Advisor, Jeff Robert with Hilltop Securities, presented information relating to Texas ISD Bonds, bond structuring variables, historical tax-exempt interest rates, Rockwall ISD’s tax base and tax rate history, tax base assumptions, projected Interest & Sinking tax rates, and ballot language propositions. Mr. Robert highlighted the following points:
• Based on a possible $479 million bond, as recommended by the Facilities Bond Committee, and estimating a conservative tax base growth rate, the projected tax rate would be ¾ of 1¢ (0.75¢) per $100 home valuation.
• The District has a stand-alone AA rating, providing for excellent financing rates.
Bond Guidelines and Legal Considerations Presentation by Bond Legal Counsel
The Board of Trustees heard a presentation by the District’s bond counsel, Kristen Savant with Norton, Rose, Fulbright, US LLP, regarding bond proposition guidelines, required timelines and state law requiring bond projects to be separate propositions on the ballot according to their “general purpose” or “special purpose”. In compliance with the state law, Rockwall ISD’s proposed bond projects could possibly be divided into five propositions on the ballot for voters. District administration plans to present more information to the Board of Trustees at the August 2 Special Session.
Budget Amendment Resolution for One-Time Retention Incentive Payment
District administration recommended providing Rockwall ISD employees a one-time retention incentive payment for their continued service to our District’s students and school community. This one-time retention incentive payment, totaling $5,000,000 paid by the District’s fund balance, will serve a public school purpose by demonstrating the District’s support of its employees, enhancing employee morale, improving retention, and by attracting new employees to serve the Rockwall ISD. The proposed payment will be in the amount of $2,500 to each current full-time, permanent employee whose employment began on or before September 1, 2021, and who have not tendered their intent to resign on or before September 4, 2021. Employees will receive the one-time payment in their September paycheck.
2021-2022 Grading Guidelines and Elimination of Semester Exams Approved
The Board of Trustees approved the 2021-2022 Grading Guidelines and eliminated the exemption of comprehensive semester exams in grades 7-12. At their June monthly meeting, the Board of Trustees heard information regarding semester exams and a committee’s recommendation to eliminate semester exams to be reflected in the 2021-2022 Grading Guidelines. Previously, the Board suspended policy EIAA (LOCAL) for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19. As a result of the Policy EIAA (LOCAL) suspension, Rockwall ISD did not administer semester or final exams for the 2020-2021 school year.
Elimination of Board Policy EIAA (LOCAL) Approved
As a result of the Board’s approval of the 2021-2022 Grading Guidelines eliminating comprehensive semester exams in grades 7-12, the Board of Trustees approved eliminating exemptions for midterm and final exams in Board Policy EIAA (LOCAL).
Rockwall ISD Student Handbook for the 2021-2022 School Year Presented
The Board of Trustees reviewed the Student Handbook for the 2021-2022 school year as presented by the District’s Student Services Department. As a result of the return to regular school operations, those sections which were amended to comply with the Texas Education Agency COVID-19 protocols in the 2020-2021 Student Handbook were removed for the 2021-2022 school year, specifically Dress and Grooming reference regarding the Governor’s masking order and Transportation reference regarding the Governor’s masking order. The Student Handbook will be posted to the District website at www.rockwallisd.com.
Rockwall ISD Student Code of Conduct for the 2021-2022 School Year Approved
The Board of Trustees approved the Student Code of Conduct for the 2021-2022 school year as presented by the District Student Services Department. As a result of the return to regular school operations, the Student Conduct section regarding the Governor’s masking order, amended per Texas Education Agency guidance COVID-19 protocols in the 2020-2021 Student Code of Conduct, was removed. The Student Code of Conduct will be posted to the District website at www.rockwallisd.com.
Submitted press release, edited for publication in Blue Ribbon News. Photos courtesy of Rockwall ISD.
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