TISD dealing with unfunded mandates

Published on Tuesday, 6 May 2014 23:29 - Written by Casey Murphy, cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

Tyler ISD will have to hire more teachers during the next few years because more students will be required by the state to take career and technical education courses.

The New Graduation Plan is just one of several unfunded mandates the TISD board heard about Tuesday during its meeting.

Dr. Christy Hanson, the district’s chief academic officer, said there are close to 100 unfunded and underfunded state mandates, but she discussed four that seem to be the most prevalent.

“We’re trying to figure out moneys from our local budgets … to be able to cover these costs,” she said.

Superintendent Gary Mooring said unfunded mandates are when state laws are changed, but no money is tied to implementing them, so funds have to come from districts’ budgets.

The New Graduation Plan entails new career and technical education (CTE) requirements for high school students. Because of House Bill 5, about 90 percent of TISD juniors and seniors will have to take CTE courses, so more teachers will have to be added. CTE courses will have to be taught at both high school campuses, as well as at the new school under construction, Dr. Hanson said.

The Texas Success Initiative, also part of House Bill 5, is about college readiness. It requires high schools to make students college ready if they don’t score adequately on tests such as the ACT or SAT. TISD will offer the course, My Foundations, to make sure students are prepared for college and through a partnership with Tyler Junior College, would be accepted to the school, Dr. Hanson said.

The Student Success Initiative will require intensive accelerated instruction to more students — grades third through eighth, as well as high school — in more subjects where students are in danger than in years past. The state previously funded this initiative, but no longer does, she said.

The Accelerated Instruction mandate requires intensive instruction to be given to students in kindergarten through third grade who are at risk to not be on target for reading.

Dr. Hanson said she wanted to bring the board some of the dilemmas the administration goes through when figuring out how to make it all happen within the budget.

“It looks like we’re going to have some difficult decisions to make,” said the Rev. Orenthia Mason, board president. “I hope the picture will be painted for us … so we can make intelligent decisions when it comes to budgeting.”

Dr. Hanson said they will make recommendations to the board on the issues.

“We’re really anticipating that this will not have a direct impact on campuses,” she said, adding that nothing has been cut from their budgets.



Also Tuesday, Dr. Bryan C. Jack Elementary School Principal Shauna Hittle was named executive director of elementary education for TISD.

She served eight years at Jack Elementary School, where, Mooring said, she has done an outstanding job and been a great leader. He said he hopes in her new role she can share some of her skills and be a mentor to others in the district.

“I think she will be a big asset …” he said.

After the TISD board voted unanimously on her promotion, Ms. Hittle thanked them for the opportunity. “I truly believe in Tyler ISD …” she said.

The board also voted to accept the retirement/resignation of athletic director Rod Kaspar. Kaspar, who has been with TISD since 2011, has worked as a teacher, coach and administrator for 39 years in schools in Illinois, Louisiana and McKinney.

“I consider Rod a great person of character,” Mooring said. “I wish him a great retirement.”

Mooring also introduced Dr. Eddie Dunn, the interim principal at Hogg Middle School.



The board voted to table the naming of the new middle school being built on Three Lakes Parkway and the new career and technical education center being constructed near the intersection of Earl Campbell Parkway and Bennett Avenue.

TISD trustee Andy Bergfeld said naming the new schools has been a sensitive topic, and input has poured in from the community.

The district allowed the community to nominate names for the new campuses.

Bergfeld said the board is in the process of going over nominations and they plan to gather as much information as they can about each candidate. He said they will provide their input to the administration, which will make a recommendation to the board. Bergfeld said they plan to have an action item at the May 15 meeting.