Board of Trustees Meeting Recap: December 14, 2021

The Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees met for their regular scheduled meeting tonight.

Below are highlights of the meeting:

Special Recognition of Debbie Whitaker

In honor of her retirement after 23 years of service to Montgomery ISD, Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison and the Board of Trustees gave a special recognition to the Superintendent’s Secretary, Debbie Whitaker.

Debbie has worked in Montgomery ISD since 1998, having opened Montgomery High School with then-principal Bobby Morris. In 2002, she was named Secretary to the Superintendent and has worked as the administrative assistant to another four superintendents through her tenure in this position.

The role of Superintendent Secretary requires an abundance of responsibility, supporting the superintendent and the seven members of the MISD Board of Trustees. She manages the calendars of these individuals, as well as the senior leadership team and the ten campus principals. In addition to being the Superintendent’s Secretary, she has also held the role of District Investment Officer and until this school year, she managed the records and financials for the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation.

“While we are all thrilled for Debbie as she opens a new and exciting life chapter, her calm presence and friendship, and incredible knowledge of Montgomery ISD will be greatly missed,” Dr. Morrison said. “We celebrate her outstanding career, thank her for her years of service and dedication to Montgomery ISD and wish her all the best in the adventures that await.”

Trustees Presented with Results of District’s Financial Audit

During the meeting, trustees were presented with and accepted the results of the district’s annual fiscal year financial audit. The district’s third-party audit firm issued a clean audit that resulted in a significant deposit of revenues into the district’s general Maintenance and Operations fund. The increase to the fund balance was a result of additional revenues and efficient management of the district’s budget. Additionally, when financial ratings are released next year, the district expects to receive high marks as a result of the audit.

“Sound fiscal management is an area we highly prioritize as a district and Board of Trustees,” Board President Matt Fuller said. “We are extremely pleased by the results of this year’s audit, and the deposit into the general fund balance is a clear indication that our financial house is in order and the district’s budgets are being managed responsibly and effectively.”

Secondary Course Selection Guide Approved

Montgomery ISD Trustees also adopted the 2022-23 academic year secondary Course Selection Guide, which includes additions to course offerings at both the high school and junior high school levels.

Each spring, current and incoming students at the secondary level select courses offered in the district’s Course Selection Guide. Key changes include adding additional Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Credit courses, including the AP Capstone Program, which encourages students to enroll in and take exams for AP courses.

Increasing the number of students participating in at least one advanced academic course is a stated goal in the district’s Pathway to Premier strategic plan.

In addition to increasing AP and Dual Credit course offerings, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) section of the district’s course guide has been enhanced to more adequately reflect how CTE courses offered by MISD are connected to career pathways and industry-based certifications. The changes to the course selection guide include additional offerings in Animal Science, Ag Mechanics, Plant Science, Architectural Design, Entrepreneurship, Manufacturing, STEM and in Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security.

The Junior High Course Selection Guide also has a change in Career and Technical Education. Students will now take one of five courses that align with high school CTE pathways, including Principles of Applied Engineering, Agriculture, Health Science, Human Services, and Business, Marketing & Finance.

“Continuing to grow and enhance Career and Technical Education opportunities for students in Montgomery ISD has been a major focus of district leadership and our community, and our Course Selection Guide reflects this priority,” Dr. Morrison said. “We believe that every Montgomery ISD student, when they receive their diploma, should be well prepared for the college or career opportunity of their choice, and CTE is critical to this value we hold as a district.”

Presentation on Goal 2: School Safety

During Board meetings, district leaders present updates to the Board of Trustees on the progress of various goals, departments and priorities in the strategic plan.

Montgomery ISD Chief of Police Stephen Phillips, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and Innovation and Director of Community Services Courtney Dyer presented an update on Goal 2, which encompasses school safety.

You can see the update on Goal 2 presented to the Board of Trustees here.

Board Approves Healthcare Plan in Accordance with New State Law, SB 1444

Earlier this year, Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1444. This bill states that Texas school districts who participate in TRS ActiveCare insurance may no longer offer more than one healthcare provider. Currently, Montgomery ISD offers healthcare coverage options under both TRS ActiveCare and Texas School Health Benefits Plan (TSHBP) and this new bill requires the district to select one provider by December 31, 2021.

Montgomery ISD Benefits and Employee Relations Coordinator, Teresa Tipton, has spent the last two months presenting the plan options to each campus and department to provide information and gather feedback and input. The district also issued a survey to all staff asking for their feedback regarding healthcare options. In her presentation to the Board of Trustees, Tipton shared the results of that survey as well as the plan summaries, premium information and her reports from meeting with both TRS ActiveCare and TSHBP. The results of the survey can be found on the district’s website.

After thorough analysis of both healthcare options, Mrs. Tipton presented the district’s recommendation to move forward with TSHBP as its sole healthcare plan provider. The board approved the recommendation, and this change takes effect at the start of the 2022-23 school year.

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