Sulphur Springs ISD received a superior financial rating and an unmodified audit trustees were told during their regular December meeting; the school board also received an update on legal and local policies that will be presented for district approval in January and heard from a woman who expressed concern for school safety at schools
Sulphur Springs ISD Business Manager Sherry McGraw during the noon board meeting on Dec. 13, reported that SSISD received a perfect score of 100 on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas.
SSISD is one of only 856 out of 1,020 districts rated across the state to receive a superior achievement rating by earning an overall 90-100 score on the FIRST criteria which includes seven indicator questions about cash investments, two indicators dealing with student ratios, and five regarding business practices.
Each year it becomes harder for schools to meet these standards as times are hard and dollars are stretched very thin, McGraw noted.
Robert Lake reported that Rutherford, Taylor and Company, PC, rendered an unmodified opinion, the best report a district can receive on its annual financial and compliance report for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2021. He reported no finding, weaknesses or significant deficiencies on overall compliance and control systems.
Assistant Superintendent Josh Williams presented to trustees Texas Association of School Boards Localized Policy Manual Update 118, which includes 120 legal changes and 12 local changes. Williams said campus principals and directors received the update and have looked it over. This will give trustees a month to look over the policy changes that came out of the last Legislative session.
One legal change is the policy regarding which school employees are required to have cyber security training. The updated policy does not require all faculty and staff to have the training. The district plan filed with the state, however, states that the district does require the training.
Another local policy has to do with wording of who resignation notices should be submitted to. The policy current stipulates that resignation letters should go to either the superintendent or the elementary or secondary assistant superintendents. Proposed in the policy is a language change that stipulates the documents announcing intent to leave the district go to the superintendent or an assistant superintendent.
Counselor’s work is also noted in the policy. At least 80% of their work should go toward work making sure kids’ needs are met, whether the need is phycological, physical or emotional. The district has already been working toward this, lightening additional duties so counselors are available to meet with studies regarding those needs.
A requirement for an audio recording of meeting minutes is addressed in update 118.
Students 15 and older are to be excused from classes if they are out taking a driving test. Also, the policy update notes that students who miss several days due to severe personal illness that requires them to miss school will not have those absences count against them, Williams said.
One local policy would correct the address for SSISD special services department.
Frances Spillman addressed SSISD Board during public forum regarding concerns for children’s safety in schools, especially following a disturbance in the class her son was in. She feels that alternative classrooms should be equipped with video cameras, for the protection of kids.
She said the issue last week involved racism, which she did not appreciate, but did not elaborate further on the matter. She said with the dangerous situations reported on campuses across the country, some involving shootings, se feels the cameras are necessary, especially in ISS which can include children who are disturbed or had disabilities.. She said her aunt who was a teachers encouraged her to address the school board regarding the issue.
SSISD Board of Trustees President Robert Cody said district personnel will evaluate and investigate the incident more. They had not been briefed about any incident. Once SSISD officials have additional information, Cody told Spillman, someone will contact her about it.