AGISD adds two graduation requirements

Posted 7/14/22

Families with students bound for Alba-Golden Schools this fall will be directly impacted by two board of trustees actions Monday evening. Effective this year, a new graduation requirement – .5 …

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AGISD adds two graduation requirements

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Families with students bound for Alba-Golden Schools this fall will be directly impacted by two board of trustees actions Monday evening. Effective this year, a new graduation requirement – .5 hours credit in Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness and .5 hours credit in Dollars and Sense – will be prerequisites to graduation. Additionally, a change in the student attendance policy limits the use of parents’ notes for excused absences to three per semester. 

According to Superintendent Macie Thompson, the new graduation criteria will be conducted as a part of the present senior seminar program. It has been modeled after successful health and wellness and financial awareness classes used at Sulphur Springs High School. 

The limitation on the use of parents’ notes is an effort to curb the use of notes as well as ease the tabulations required in reporting official daily attendance figures. The communication between parents and school staff should be easier this year with the adoption of the Skyward Family Access system. 

Thompson said that Skyward is very similar to the parent portal, but with vastly improved functions to communicate information to a variety of groups. Registration for Skyward will be in August. 

Thompson also alerted the district to three events which will usher in the new school year. A New Teachers Breakfast will be conducted Monday, Aug. 8. Convocation is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria, while a Family Night for all district employees will be hosted on Thursday, Aug. 11. 

The superintendent also noted that a safety and security report will be issued to the board at the August meeting, scheduled Monday, Aug. 22. A public hearing for disclosure of the budget will immediately precede the meeting.

Business Manager Brenda Kelley briefed the expected 2022-23 budget year. The projected budget comes in at $11.195 million with payroll accounting for $7.9 million. Kelley advised that the budget includes an increase for UIL, athletic and school bus stipends, as well as funding for the purchase of three new school buses. 

Given the convention whereby the state of Texas uses the property assessments of the previous year on which to base their grants, all school districts are somewhat protected from a large reduction in those grants when local property values increase significantly.  However, Kelley advised that the increase in property values has drastically affected the cost of school property insurance. Even after significant negotiation, property insurance costs increased $37,000 this year for a total premium of $152,100. The board approved funding the negotiated property insurance.  

The insurance action was one of many decisions taken in preparation for the next semester. Those included the following approvals: retaining the Powell Group as school attorneys, renewal of the worker’s compensation plan, renewal of school handbooks and code of conduct, revision of the  computer acceptable use policy and approval of a middle school health textbook.

In related action, the board awarded Thompson authority to negotiate the purchase of 7.95 acres at US 69 and County Road 2377. Additionally, the annual FFA officers’ retreat to Beavers Bend, Okla. was approved.    

All decisions of the board were made unanimously except for renewal of the Powell Group as legal consultants. Trustee Mike Ragsdale proposed the use of John Hardy of the Tyler firm Hardy, Cook and Hardy.  After a brief discussion during which the superintendent was asked about the school’s experience with the Powell Group, the motion to retain the Powell group passed by a 5-2 vote. Trustee Dwayne Ellis joined Ragsdale in voting against the Powell Group.

Curriculum Director Megan Smith briefed the board