Friday, October 16, 2009

DISD Owes More CEI Payments

When DISD paid out the first Teacher Pay for Performance Awards at the end of 2008, there were a number of teachers who did not get their incentive. A large number of teachers did not get theirs because their administrators did not do the required multiple observations. Another large group did not get theirs because they did not meet the 95% attendance rule.

On December 18, 2008 the Board of Trustees voted to pay those teachers who did not get their incentive because their administrators did not do their job. Those teachers have since received their incentive from DISD's General Operating Budget instead of the Teacher Incentive Fund Grant used for the program.

Last Sunday night, I was going over the minutes from the DISD Trustee meetings for the last two years. I was compiling the voting records of Trustees on important issues to employees when I came upon the minutes for the December 18, 2008 meeting.

To my pleasant surprise, and somewhat my chagrin because I was at that meeting and somehow missed this, I came upon the recorded discussion and actions where the Board voted for General Operating money to pay teachers who missed their Performance Pay Incentives.

"Mr. Garza made a friendly amendment to Dr. Blackburn’s motion that we include as part of this compensation, any teachers that did meet the academic standards and raised their students’ level but did not meet the 95 attendance level rule.

The board voted on Dr. Blackburn’s amendment with Mr. Garza’s friendly amendment. The motion passed 5/4 with Adam Medrano, Jerome Garza, Leigh Ann Ellis, Lew Blackburn and Ron Price voting yes. Voting no were Carla Ranger, Edwin Flores, Jack Lowe and Nancy Bingham.

The main motion as amended was voted on. Motion passed 7/2 with Carla Ranger and Jerome Garza voting no."
DISD Board Minutes, December 18, 2008.

According to these minutes, teachers who missed the payout because of attendance should also have been paid their incentive from General Operating funds. They have yet to be paid.

As soon as I found this, I emailed DISD's new Executive Director of Human Development - Claudia Rodriguez. She responded on Monday that she is getting the documentation from DISD Legal and Board Services and will be pursuing this further.

NEA-Dallas will be pursuing this as well. The way this reads is that teachers who missed the award because of attendance should have been paid already. Regardless of whether they filed a grievance or not, they should have been paid.

And, paid the 2008-2009 payout rates! Not the 2009-2010 rates that have been cut by 60%!

If you are a DISD teacher who missed last year's Teacher Pay for Performance Award payout because of attendance, please call us at 214.821.2061. Give us your name, the school you were at last year (if not the same as this year) and a contact number. DO THIS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU ARE A MEMBER OF NEA-DALLAS! I will be taking this list to the DISD Administration and Board to get these payments underway!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


No letter of reprimand. No administrative leave. Not even a slap on the wrist. Nothing, zilch, Nada. A little tongue-lashing from Trustee Carla Ranger, but that's about all that came out of today's specially called board meeting to discuss possible disciplinary action against the Superintendent.

I can actually believe that a "clerical error" placed the raise for the the Chief Academic Officer on the September 24 agenda instead of the October agenda. However, two things came out during today's conversations that, if I were a Trustee, would have required SOME kind of action!

Under questioning from Trustee Ranger, Superintendent Hinojosa admitted that he learned that the raise was mistakenly on the agenda some 24 hours BEFORE the September 24 Board meeting. Why didn't he then call the Board President and inform him of the mistake? Why didn't he at least inform the Board BEFORE the Consent Agenda came up for a vote that one item had mistakenly been placed on there and needed to be removed?

He KNEW that the item was on the agenda and said NOTHING! He KNEW it was on the agenda and only said something some days later after getting busted. HE KNEW and DID NOTHING!

The second statement that caught my attention today was when the Superintendent said he directed staff not to implement a duly-approved board action. He said he directed staff not to implement the raise when he learned that the Board really did not know what they had voted for.

Trustee Ranger, gotta love her, pointed out that she didn't believe the Superintendent had the authority to just ignore, or direct staff to ignore, a duly-approved Board action. This was quickly passed over, but Trustee Ranger is correct. Since when can a Superintendent NOT IMPLEMENT something the Board has approved? I think never.

Trustee Ranger moved that an independent investigation be conducted into what happened. She did get a second from Trustee Dr. Lew Blackburn, but lost the vote 1 to 8 when the question was called. Ranger made another motion to place the Superintendent on administrative leave, but that motion died for lack of a second. The Trustees then moved for adjournment, voted in favor, and the meeting was adjourned.

I thought I had seen it all in DISD, but today took it to a new level. If any other employee in the DISD violates district policy, they are promptly handed their termination letter. But not the Superintendent. He doesn't even get a letter of reprimand, slap on the wrist, nothing, zilch, Nada. Unbelievable...

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The DISD Board of Trustees tonight unanimously APPROVED PAY RAISES for ALL DISD EMPLOYEES! The pay raises include a long-awaited 3% raise for all of our support staff; a 3% raise for all other non-instructional employees; and, a raise of an average of $1701 for all of our teachers and related instructional personnel.

Again, a lot of thanks goes to DISD CFO Larry Throm, Trustee Jerome Garza, and former DISD Chief of Human Development Kim Olson and her staff. The money for these raises comes from the fact that DISD Human Development has placed all but fifty-eight (58) of the over 500 teachers who were released from their positions but still had a contract for 2009-2010.

I would personally like to thank NEA-Dallas Executive Vice President Diane Birdwell, NEA-Dallas Vice President for Teacher Affairs Kathryn Brothers, and all of you who contacted your Trustees and kept up the pressure on them to make sure that they did the right thing by our employees.

You see, when WE all work together, WE can achieve our goal! Together we can, Together we will, and now, Together we have!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finally! Some Good News!

After fourteen straight months of bad news for Dallas ISD employees, we finally got some good news today in a meeting with DISD Chief Financial Officer Larry Throm. Mr. Throm informed us today that he will propose that the District's support staff employees (maintenance workers, teacher assistants, clerical staff, community liasions, cafeteria workers, janitorial staff, etc)receive a 3% pay raise for 2009-2010!

This pay increase is long overdue for these vital employees of the DISD. After enduring hundreds of layoffs and not even a salary step increase in 2008-2009, these employees will finally get some reward for all of the hard work that they have continued to put forth on a daily basis.

Another bit of good news led to the funding being available for these raises. At the end of 2008-2009 DISD had over 500 Chapter 21 contract employees who had a contract for 2009-2010 but no assignment. DISD promised these employees their contracts would be honored even if the District was unable to place them in a new position by the start of school.

Throm budgeted for this year with that in mind. However, as of today, only 58 employees remain without an assignment. He feels that by the end of this school year, all will be back in assignments as vacancies occur in the DISD on a weekly basis.

The credit for placing this large number of employees falls squarely on the DISD Human Development Department. Former HD Chief Kim Olson and her staff have spent their summer making sure as many of these displaced employees have a place to call home for 2009-2010. Not only do these employees have a home, as a result, support staff will be getting a pay raise!

The State Legislature gave teachers and some other employees a raise based on the wieghted average daily attendance (WADA) plus a salary step earlier in the year. School districts across the state have hesitated in announcing their raises because they were waiting for the Department of Education to approve the use of federal stimulus money to pay for that raise.

Mr. Throm told us today he will also recommend to the Board that our teachers receive the salary step, an average of $850, plus the WADA calculation of $851 for a total of $1701. There are two salary steps that receive more than the $850 average. Those will receive their respective amounts plus the $851.

The starting teacher salary will also go up in Throm's proposal. Currently, teachers with 0 years of experience start out at $44,350. Mr. Throm will propose raising that to $45,350.

While there is still the question of how much, if any, of a raise teachers who were receiving longevity pay will get, the news we received today is very welcome!

I would like to thank Mr. Throm for working to find the money for these raises and for his honesty in his discussions with us. I would also like to thank Trustee Jerome Garza for pushing the Administration to get something done for our support employees.

The Board of Trustees will hear the details at this Thursday's Board Briefings and will vote on Mr. Throm's proposal August 24. Employees should see the raise in their September paychecks with the Board's approval.

Finally, some good news...

Friday, July 3, 2009

NEA's Town Hall with Arne Duncan

Yesterday, before the official beginning of this year's NEA RA, over 7,000 NEA members met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. NEA hosted one of his many "listening and learning" town hall forums on education here at the San Diego Convention Center.

Secretary Duncan first shared with us his background in education. He then went on to say that we should not let seniority and tenure rules put adults ahead of students, and that their performance should be measured--in part--by student scores.

Teacher pay -- and teacher tenure -- needs changing, Duncan said. He and President Obasma hope to collaborate with NEA and its members on new systems of compensation that will depart from traditional seniority-based salary scales.

Duncan went on to say that, "Excellence matters and we must honor it -- fairly, transparently, and on terms teachers can embrace."

Next, finally, our members had their turn. A member from Virginia asked how much of our input would be seen in the reauthorized version of the ESEA? The crowd responded with and thunderous, standing applause. A member from California asked Duncan to promise to not close schools, turn schools into charters and tie salaries to test scores.

Duncan responded to these questions like a typical, well-trained politician. He repeatedly said, "Great question." before not really answering the question and going back to his message. Messages like, "We've been scared to shine a spotlight on excellence," and, "Children have only one chance, one chance to get an education."

The Secretary never did give any straight answers. He did however, promise one thing: That the Administration will work in collaboration with the NEA and other organizations to develop a new plan for education in our country.

Well, I have heard this before from our own Dallas ISD Administration. The DISD has repeatedly brought in employees from across the District to talk about issues and propose solutions. These employees took time out of their day to come and provide their input with the understanding that their input would be used. Only thing was, their input was put into File 13 and the Administration of DISD did their own thing anyway!

I just hope that this Administration in D.C. is NOTHING LIKE THE ONE IN DALLAS! I encourage all of you to watch closely what happens in the coming weeks and months. To watch and see if President Obama and his Administration truly do work cooperatively with educators to improve education.

We all have seen how "merit pay" has divided our campuses instead of promoting collaboration and working together. We've seen charter schools draw money from public dollars and actually do worse than the public schools that they were supposed to have replaced.

We've all heard the promises. Now, it's time to see some action.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


After hearing from several NEA-Dallas members who have been negatively impacted by the CEI in the last month and after receiving the hundreds of signed petitions you all turned in, the CEI and its use will now be on the June Dallas ISD Board agenda.

A little after 9:16pm, Trustee Ron Price made an amendment to agenda item A.1: Approve the 2009-10 Non-Campus Staffing Guidelines to add "CEIs will not be used to non-extend, nonrenew or terminate teachers." The amendment was seconded by Trustee Dr. Lew Blackburn. Trustee Dr. Edwin Flores quickly questionned the legitimacy of the amendment saying that this issue was not posted.

Trustee Price asked DISD Attorney Jack Elrod what his opinion was. Elrod stated that it was out of order.

As a result of being ruled out of order, Trustee Price requested that his amendment be placed on the June agenda. Newly-elected Board President Adam Medrano then told Trustee Price it would be on that agenda.

While WE have achieved a MAJOR VICTORY, the war is far from over. I know you are all looking forward to a summer vacation and time away from your classroom. But, we still need you! You to email your Trustees and you to SHOW UP for the June Board Briefing and the June Board Meeting. The only way that we can get five (5) votes to "Kill the CEI" is for all of you to participate.

Again, thanks to all of you and your colleagues for signing our petitions and thanks to you who came to tonight's meeting.

Please tell all of your colleagues that NEA-Dallas and our teachers MADE A DIFFERENCE TODAY! If you want to make a difference, join us!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Show me the MONEY $$$$$$

Those of you who signed up for the Pay for Performance portion of the Teacher Incentive Fund shouldn't be counting your money just yet. Even though the DISD web site still lists payouts for individual teachers' CEIs and SEIs for four deciles, as one DISD Administrator said yesterday, "Changes are in the works."

This comment made yesterday during the Teacher Incentive Fund Advisory Council meeting indicates to us that the DISD Administration is looking to make changes to the payouts to their Pay for Performance Plan. During the 2007-2008 school year, the District piloted this program in 59 schools. This year, 2008-2009, the District decided to make the plan available to almost all DISD schools and their teachers.

The payouts for 2008-2009 will come in the fall of 2009. However, don't expect them to be as advertised. The Administration is looking to slash the payouts because of their budget woes and the simple fact that even though this program is being paid for by a federal grant, the grant amount each year decreases while the District's responsibility increases.

According the DISD Administrator chairing the meeting, the District is looking at two options.


A) Eliminate the payout for the lowest deciles for both the CEI and SEI. ($2000 for the CEI, $1250 for the SEI)

B) Additionally, the District would reduce the remaining payouts for the top three deciles. (Currently the top three deciles are listed to be paid out at $8,000, $6000, and $4000. The reduction in payout could be quite extreme: by as much as 50%.)


Eliminate the ability for teachers to win both the CEI award and the SEI award. Teachers would only be eligible to attain the highest of the two. Not both combined.

The result of these changes could be quite significant to teachers. Instead of a maximum of $10,000, the maximum award could be as low as $5,000. Maybe even lower!

The Administrator was quick to point out that, "Nothing is set in stone," and advised that we all should keep an eye on the Board agendas to see what the Administration will bring forward.

NEA-Dallas has opposed this Pay for Performance Plan from the beginning. We have done so because of two reasons:

1) Employees do not have a stable salary schedule. (The Board of Trustees can waive the schedule in district policy at their discretion.); and,

2) The award is generated by the CEI and SEI. (We believe that neither of these measurements are truly accurate indicators of a teacher's abilities. And, we were afraid that once teachers signed off on being paid by these indicators, the Administration would turn around and use them to harm teachers. That fear has become a reality this Spring as hundreds of teachers had their contracts "non-extended" simply because their CEI Quintile was a 1.)

And now we have yet a third reason, The District cannot be trusted to keep its promises!

Teachers, now is the time for you to be diligent as to what the Administration will be proposing to the Board and what the Board will subsequently do with that proposal. The Administration seems to be talking out of both sides of its mouth. On one side, they tell everyone, "Sign up for this plan and you could earn up to an additional $10,000" while on the other, "We're so sorry, but we just don't have the money to pay you what we promised, and what you earned."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's Time to VOTE!

NEA-Dallas members and citizens of our great state who read this, "It's Time to VOTE!" It's time to exercise one of the most important privileges that our founding fathers bestowed upon us!
This Saturday, May 9 is ELECTION DAY! There are many local and county races that are going on that deserve your input.

NEA-Dallas needs ALL of our members, their families, friends and acquintances that live in Dallas County to help us re-elect Larry Duncan to the Dallas County Schools Board of Trustees. The race for Dallas County Schools is the last thing on your ballot. There are two at-large seats that will be filled by the two highest vote getters on Saturday.

Mr. Duncan has been a great advocate for employees in Dallas County and a good friend of NEA-Dallas during his term of office. As Chair of the DCS Board's Policy Commitee, he has taken policy changes (suggested by our members) through the process and gotten them passed.

Mr. Duncan has also been a strong proponent of developing Dallas County Schools Emergency Response Team. This team has gone to areas in the state to help evacuate people from areas facing hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Larry has worked tirelessly over the last two years to improve air quality for our students and citizens in Dallas County. This work is coming to fruition as Dallas County unvieled its "Fryer Flyer", a school bus that runs on biodiesel and waste vegetable oil, and their first biodiesel facility on April 2, 2009. The plan is to convert all of Dallas County's diesel buses to biodiesel and waste vegetable oil.

NEA-Dallas' Board of Directors and Membership Assembly have both unanimously endosed Mr. Duncan and we need your help on Saturday!

I can personally recommend that you vote for Cassandra "Cassie" Gandara for the second slot in the Dallas County Schools Trustees Election.

NEA-Dallas encourages you to make sure your voice is heard by voting in the other races and on the propositions on your ballot. We have not taken any positions on those and urge you to educate yourselves on what those candidates stand for and what those propositions will do.

See you at the polls on Saturday!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

DISD Trustees: You Should Listen to Us...

It came as no surprise to me last week that the Texas Attorney General ruled that the DISD Trustees had acted improperly when they voted to extend their terms last November. He merely reiterated what our state afffiliate's General Counsel had told me at the time.

On November 18, 2008, I sent that opinion to each of the Trustees and asked them not to vote to extend their terms. However, as is sometimes the case in life, they thought they knew more than we did. Guess they were wrong on this one!

Now they have had to schedule a special meeting to discuss the Attorney General's decision and POSSIBLY call for a special election in November for the Trustee positions currently held by Leigh Ann Ellis, Dr. Edwin Flores and Ron Price. Whether the election is held in November of 2009 or in May of 2010, one thing is certain: It is time to change the players!

The only way things will improve for employees in this district, and thus the children in this district, is to replace Trustees who blindly follow Dr. Hinojosa's every whim. Just look at what has happened in DISD since June of 2008: freezing/elimination of longevity pay; no salary schedule step for support professionals in DISD; the grading regulation change; the "surprising" $84 million deficit; the RIF of hundreds of employees; the extension of Trustee terms by Trustees; the limiting of pulling items for separate votes; the redoing of the staffing formula that could have as many as 530 teachers looking for a new assignment in the district for 2009-2010; the use of the CEI to "non-extend" hundreds of teacher contracts this year and the idea to take all teachers to one year contracts next year; and, the proposed change in pay date for all professional staff.

Wow, what a year! And guess what? The teachers and employees of this district have still come to work everyday and given their all to help our students succeed!

Now, it is time to support those employees. It is time for all of us to come together and ELECT new Trustees who will support student achievement by supporting our employees. Trustees who know that the former head of Southwest Airlines had a pretty good business model: one in which he stated that if he took care of his employees, they (the employees) would take care of him (Southwest Airlines). Trustees who also understand VERY CLEARLY that it is NOT THEM who works for the Superintendent, but it is the Superintendent who works FOR THEM!

I call on all of the organizations who care about our city's children to meet together and put together a unified front. Let's get together and do what is right for our most precious resource. Call me at the NEA-Dallas office, 214.821.2061, and we will set up a time and place to begin the work to, "Change the Players!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

DISD Morale: Let's Get It Straight!

I recently read a Dallas Observer article where Dr. Hinojosa was proud to point out that when he came to the Dallas ISD employee morale was at a dismal 14% and now it is at 48%. Well, let's get the statistics straight!

Mr. Superintendent when you came to the Dallas ISD employee morale was judged by what the DISD called it's "Climate Survey". This "Climate Survey" was not administered to all District employees. It was ONLY administered to schools in which there was an identifiable problem and then the survey had to be requested to be administered by that school's Area Superintendent.

Three or so years ago, the DISD decided to bring in the OHI instrument. That instrument IS administered district-wide. BIG DIFFERENCE between just a few schools that have a problem and all of the schools in the district!

So, the numbers are correct. Fourteen percent to forty-eight percent. However, you are comparing apples and oranges. Your growth in employee morale cannot be judged by comparing two different instruments administered in two different ways. But, then again, that's exactly what your beloved CEI does to too many of our teachers.

What I have seen, Mr. Superintendent, is that employees all over our district have come together to support each other because they have survived YOUR RIF; YOUR changes in grading policy; YOUR elimination of longevity pay; YOUR involuntary release of hundreds of employees from their campuses; YOUR idea to reduce teacher contracts from two-years to one-year; and, YOUR proposed idea to change your teacher's pay date from the 15th of the month to the 30th!

The morale increase that you so proudly tout has come, not because of you, but, quite honestly, in spite of you. Our employees are resilient. Our employees find ways to adapt, to evolve, to SURVIVE! They have come together all over the DISD to support each other because they do not feel that you, your Administration, or the Board of Trustees care about them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dallas County Schools Unveils "Fryer Flyer"

On Thursday, April 2 Superintendent of Dallas County Schools Dr. Rick Sorrells and DCS Board President Mr. Larry Duncan unveiled the district's first "Fryer Flyer" and their bio-diesel facility at the Kleberg Service Center.

The "Fryer Flyer" has been fitted to run on waste vegetable oil as well as bio-diesel. Built with factory stock items by DCS technicians, this school bus includes a computerized switch to maximize fuel efficiency based on engine temperature.

DCS is shifting their diesel school buses to bio-fuels, developing their own "home-grown" fuel source. DCS President Larry Duncan and the Board of Trustees, with support from NEA-Dallas, set using alternative fuels as a priority for the county-wide school bus provider in 2007, and the testing phase is complete.

DCS will be doing their part to cut our nation's dependency on foreign oil while greatly reducing the amount of pollutants their buses spew into the air. Additionally, tests show that diesel pollution conncentrates inside of bus and that will be reduced as well.

Working with Two Podners Restaurant, Frito Lay, and an assortment of restaurants and food manufacturers, DCS is collecting "post-consumer grease" - waste vegetable oil (WVO) that's been used to fry foods and is no longer fit for human consumption. This oil is the basis of DCS' alternaive diesel fuel program.

DCS will use this WVO to produce its own bio-diesel to power its buses until the fleet can be converted to run on straight WVO. The District intends to construct other bio-diesel production facilities at its other service centers around the county.

I want to encourage the members of NEA-Dallas and all of you that read this to save your waste vegetable oil. Do not just put it out to be picked up and dumped in our land fills. Keep it in a container and call us, 214-821-2061. We will arrange with DCS for a pick-up location.

That way, YOU TOO, can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve the air that all of us breathe.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reward Those Who Have Made It Happen!

Imagine my surprise this morning when I picked up my copy of the Dallas Morning News and there, on the front page, was the headline, “DISD No. 2 for its gains”. Even after all of the controversy: an $84 million shortfall, layoffs of hundreds of employees, and many, many more issues that would distract even the most committed of teachers and staff, the Brookings Institution says that the “Dallas ISD made the second-largest academic gains among 37 big-city school districts over a seven-year period.”

I really am not surprised, however. This report goes to prove what I have known all along: the Dallas ISD has some of the best teachers and staff in the country! We can all sit here and debate the statistical information and formulas used to calculate this claim all day long and then some. The Brookings Institution seemingly uses some of the same ideas in reaching their conclusions that DISD has created trying to show that teachers aren’t doing their jobs. But, the bottom line is though, through all of the adversity that our employees have faced over the seven years, they still have come to work every day and done the job that they were hired to do.

I will put the employees of the Dallas ISD that deal with our children on a daily basis up against any in the country. It’s the administrative personnel and Board of Trustees of this district that have been “weighed; measured; and found wanting.”

Yes, the District still has much work to do when it comes to student achievement. But, it’s time to reward those who make the successes possible every day. As the Administration and Board of Trustees are putting together the budget for 2009-2010 they need to reward our hard-working, ever-persevering faculty and staff.

They can do that by first giving ALL faculty and staff a salary step on the Board approved salary schedule! Second, they can cover the 4.5% increase in premiums that the TRS has put in place for health insurance during the 2009-2010 school year. And, then they need to recognize and give some appreciation to those employees who continue to make academic success in the Dallas ISD a reality by not making their lives any harder.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air -- Grand Prairie ISD Board Meeting

I am writing this tonight from the Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees meeting. Most of you know that my fiancĂ©e’, Doris Hill, is the President of the Grand Prairie Education Association/TSTA/NEA. Since she has suffered through many a DISD Board meeting, I thought it would be nice to come and keep her company for theirs.

Board meeting began at 7:12pm with the presentation of the colors by one of their high school ROTC Color Guards. The Board then recognized schools who received what they call “Gold Acknowledgement Awards”. These awards are based on academic successes judged by “commended” rates, etc on the TAKS tests. Sixty-eight (68) were presented tonight with the Principals of each school coming up and receiving their awards. That was an increase over thirty-one (31) that was presented last year.

Next, Open Forum. The Superintendent, Dr. Susan Simpson, stated that this is the time for individuals to speak to the Board. Speakers can pick up a card from staff and turn it in and speak TONIGHT! WOW! No having to sign up at least 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE! No rules about having not have spoken in the last thirty (30) days! Can you believe that a Board of Trustees would allow this?!

Consent Agenda was approved by the Board, but the Superintendent only recommended that it be adopted as presented. She did tell them that any board member could move to have something pulled for separate consideration. That's a motion to do that TONIGHT! Can you believe that?

Now comes a report on the GPISD’s TAKS passing rates. All groups passed Writing/Social Studies at 90% or greater, Reading/Lanuage Arts at 80% or greater, Math at 70% or greater, and Science at 60% or greater. Dr. Simpson pointed out that there is still work to do in Math and Science. But, there are NO low performing schools in GPISD.

Action Items:

One employee had term contract terminated. Superintendent called them out by name and the Board approved.

2009-2010 Calendar, approved.

403(b) Plan Adoption – new regulations issued by the IRS and some changes had to be made. The Superintendent had her person come and answer questions about the new plan. (IN DISD, JEM now handles all 403(b) accounts, so you will see them on your pay stub instead of your individual plan.)

Board approved Compromise, Settlement, and Release Agreement between a contractor and the District that had gone to court.

Board approved declaring a piece of property as surplus.

Superintendent introduced interim Principal at Lee MS, then new Principal at 9th Grade Center, and new Principal at their Career High School. Principals had moved up warranting a new Principal at Lee MS.

Information Items:

2007 Bond Program Update -- Rayburn Elementary School Addition, Eisenhower Elementary School Addition, Austin Elementary Gym, Bonham Elementary Gym, Bowie Elementary Gym, Fannin Elementary, Career High School – Career High School should be ready for Fall 2009 opening. The bond director actually showed the Board aerial photos of each school showing the construction progress.

Board Directives/Requests: Superintendent reported to the Board about sewer issues at Reagan MS.

Comments from Individual Board Members: Another breath of fresh air. In GPISD Trustees can give comments on what they want. So far, no one is blasting another Trustee or even the Administration! They all have commended the Principals and Students for all of their hard work for bringing up the TAKS scores. Finally, Trustee Martinez did mention Teachers.

GPISD also has a Bingham on their Board. Ms. Bebe Bingham. She is the only board member who is not a graduate of Grand Prairie ISD, but she was the Principal for three other board members.

Great Texas Scholars—a program that has students come to Board meetings, etc. Board President had them all come and get signatures of board members showing that they were present at the Board meeting.

8:24pm – Board adjourns to closed session for some discussions. Minor stuff, nothing like evaluating the Superintendent or an $84 million deficit.

Well, quite interesting and quite refreshing. A Board, who is supportive of their teachers, children and principals. A Board, who realizes that they are NOT THE LAW, but have to OBEY THE LAW. A Board who realizes that they have an obligation to the Children and Community of Grand Prairie.