Board of Trustees Meeting Recap: Jan. 19, 2021

Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees Adopts 2021 Legislative Platform

Board also approves 2021-22 academic calendar and extends Superintendent’s contract

During its January regular meeting, the Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees adopted a district legislative platform for the 87th Texas Legislature. Texas lawmakers convened at the State Capitol in Austin for their 140-day Regular Legislative Session on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

The Montgomery ISD legislative platform focuses on school finance reform, assessment and accountability, additional support from the state as school districts continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, local control and school safety.

“Our board is ready and eager to work with state lawmakers as they seek to address the growing educational demands of Texas children,” Trustee Mike Hopkins said. “Every proposed education policy change at the State Capitol will have an impact on classroom instruction and student achievement, so we want to ensure the voice of our community is heard as lawmakers consider legislation this year.”

The MISD legislative platform requests the legislature maintain funding set in House Bill 3 during the 2019 legislative session and continue to explore improvements to the methods by which Texas public schools are funded. House Bill 3 made a number of enhancements to the state’s Foundation School Program, including an increase to the state’s basic allotment, funding for full-day pre-kindergarten, an expansion of Career and Technical Education program funding and increases to special funding weights and allotments.

“This session, lawmakers can build upon the momentum and progress they made in 2019 as it relates to reforming our state’s outdated method for funding public schools and lessening the burden the current system places on local property taxpayers,” Board President Matt Fuller said. “Educators across the state have courageously stepped up for our students during an incredibly challenging school year. Now, we’re urging our elected officials to do the same.”

Preserving local control in addressing student and community needs is also included in the board’s legislative platform. Trustees are requesting that flexibilities provided to districts designated as a “District of Innovation” be maintained.

 “School districts are considered ‘independent’ in Texas,” Trustee Trey Kirby said. “Our legislative platform prioritizes the importance local decision-making to ensure that each action taken by our board meets and serves the best interest of the unique needs of our students, staff and community.”

Also during their meeting, trustees adopted the district’s academic calendar for the 2021-22 school year.

The 2021-22 academic calendar was developed in conjunction with the District Advisory Committee (DAC), which is comprised of over 40 teachers, staff members, parents, and community members. Five initial calendar options were developed by the DAC. After receiving input from across the district’s 10 campuses, the DAC narrowed the calendar options down to two in December, which were presented to the public for input in the form of a survey. There were over 3,500 responses to the survey, with 57% of respondents preferring the calendar option adopted by the board of trustees. The first day of the 2021-22 school year will be Thursday, Aug. 12.

Trustees also voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison by one year, through August 2025. The terms outlined in the Superintendent’s contract remain the same.

“From the moment Dr. Morrison arrived in Montgomery, he has shown his commitment to this community,” Trustee Linda Porten said. “While he didn’t request any changes to the terms of his existing contract, we believe this extension conveys a unified support from the board for the work being performed under his leadership.”

Trustees commended Dr. Morrison for his work during his time of entry as Superintendent, which included listening, learning, and engaging with the community. They also applauded his efforts to create greater transparency and improve district communication with parents, staff and stakeholders.

 “As a board, we’re extremely excited about the direction the district is headed under the leadership of Dr. Morrison,” Trustee Laurie Turner said. “By extending the Superintendent’s contract, we want to send the community a message of confidence and board unity. Together, as a board, district and community, we’re poised to do incredible things for Montgomery ISD students and staff.”