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August 2012
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Posted August
BISD Open for Labor Day
All BISD campuses and offices will be OPEN on Monday, September 3, Labor Day.

Criteria for Inter-District Transfers Expanded
The Brownsville ISD Board of Trustees has expanded Policy FDA (Local) to begin accepting inter-district transfer applications without tuition costs for the children of parents who own businesses within district boundaries and that pay school taxes. Please note that an employee federal identification number will be required on the district application. Also included are the children of employees of businesses within district boundaries that pay school taxes.*

Please note that in approving inter-district transfers, the Superintendent or designee shall consider availability of space, instructional staff, the student’s disciplinary history, and attendance records. Violation of the district’s rules and regulations may result in revocation of the transfer agreement. An approved transfer may be revoked at the end of the six weeks if the campus or grade level have become overcrowded or if the parents or students fail to abide by the school standards for academic progress, attendance, discipline, and/or cooperation with school staff. An application for transfer must be completed and submitted to Pat Perez, BISD Board Secretary, 1900 Price Road, Suite #307E. Download a transfer application here for BISD employees or non-employees. *Additional requirements may apply.

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Know the Rules
Each BISD student will receive a 2012-2013 Student Code of Conduct/Student-Parent Handbook. This booklet, available in English and Spanish, explains the standards for student conduct and discipline and provides general information about school attendance, enrollment requirements, lunch hours, textbooks, weather emergencies, field trips, career pathways, homework, requirements for graduation, etc. Students and their parents/guardians are required to sign an acknowledgment form which verifies receipt of this publication. Receipt forms are kept on file by the campuses. Everyone is encouraged to read the handbook thoroughly in order to better understand district expectations. The 2012-2013 BISD Student Code of Conduct/Student-Parent Handbook is also available online at www.bisd.us in English/Spanish.

BISD Continues Provision 2 Free Meals
Students of the Brownsville Independent School District will continue to receive a free breakfast and lunch under the Special Assistance Provision 2 program during the 2012–2013 School Year. Additional meals and a la carte menu items will also be available at a nominal price. The Food & Nutrition Service Department encourages students to take advantage of the free meals and low-cost, nutritious a la carte items. The FNS Department is fully committed to implementing the USDA’s School Meals Initiative and complying with the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans through a variety of meal planning approaches. The menus are planned to include a variety of well-balanced foods and are designed to increase the consumption of grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as other food sources rich in essential vitamins and minerals. The FNS Department shall continue to build upon the standard of quality that the community has come to expect and ensure that the Dietary Guidelines are met. Menus will be available to students at the cafeterias. Parents may contact the FNS Department regarding any concerns or questions on the program at 956-548-8450 or on the web at http://www.bisd.us/foodservices. Click here for parent letters in English/Spanish.

Buchanan Center Tops in State
A new fine arts center on a Brownsville ISD campus has earned state recognition for design and construction. The Robert B. Buchanan Performing Arts Instructional Center at Hanna High School, constructed by SpawGlass and designed by ERO Architects, won a First Place Eagle Award at the 2012 ABC South Texas Chapter in Excellence in Construction Awards. The honor recognized the Buchanan Center in the category of Institutional $5–10 million, and was announced in San Antonio, Texas on August 9. The facility is named for Robert B. (Bob) Buchanan, a longtime BISD educator who
dedicated 57 years to teaching music to children and promoting fine arts in the Brownsville community. Band, dance, theatre arts and choir students will enjoy learning and performing in the state-of-the-art auditorium. They will also benefit by working with the sophisticated staging, lighting and recording components that are also part of the new building. “Hanna High School employees and students have dreamed of a fine arts performance venue for many years. This beautifully constructed building will provide a path for our students to succeed even more than they already do. Dreams do come true. It was an honor
for me to be among those who accepted the award in San Antonio on August 9,” said Teri What made the construction of the new Buchanan Center especially unique was the close involvement of students enrolled in Jackson Tegarden’s Architecture and Construction classes at Hanna. Early on, SpawGlass employees provided plans to Tegarden and his students so that they could follow the building’s construction progress. The students also participated in four job site visits at crucial points in the process to view the Buchanan Center’s foundation, structural systems, roofing, and final completion. The involvement of the Hanna students not only elevated their interest but gave them a keen sense of involvement and ownership in their campus. It is hoped that exposing these students to higher levels of architecture and construction science may spark their desire to pursue college or career goals in this field.

“SpawGlass has always been passionate about education. The construction of this project was a perfect opportunity to show the students of Hanna High how a building evolves. subject, grades and attendance improve. We would like to thank everyone involved, from design to completion, and especially the Brownsville ISD team members for the effort and enthusiasm that enabled us to deliver this beautiful, award-winning addition to the district,” said Rene Capistran, In winning this award, SpawGlass was recognized among all ABC Contractors in the South Texas Chapter. Plans are underway to submit the Buchanan Center project for national award consideration.

Procedures for Reporting Allegations of Bullying
Brownsville ISD prohibits bullying on school property, at school-sponsored or school-related activities, or in any vehicle operated by the district. Bullying may be verbal or written expression or expression through electronic means, or physical conduct. Bullying is not tolerated by the district and any student or parent of a student who believes that the student or another student has experienced bullying or that a student has engaged in bullying is encouraged to immediately report the incident. Retaliation against anyone involved in the complaint process is a violation of district policy and is prohibited. Students or parents may report an alleged incident of bullying, orally or in writing, to a teacher, counselor, principal or other district employee. Students or parents may contact the district to obtain an incident report form that may be used to submit the complaint. Please note that after submission of the complaint to the district employee, the district may assign the complaint to a campus administrator to follow up on the submitted complaint and any other important matters pertaining to the complaint. We encourage you to communicate with your designated campus administrator during this time. More information about the district’s bullying policy can be found at http://pol.tasb.org/Policy/ or the campus administration office.

Brownsville ISD statement reagarding settlement in lawsuits by Antonio Juarez and Hector Gonzales
BISD considered and voted to approve settlement in two lawsuits brought by a former BISD Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer concerning their former employment with the District. The Board took this action to avoid costly litigation that had a significant potential for damages and attorney’s fees far in excess of the settlement. It took this action in consultation and with the support of its employment practices liability insurer and the lawyers representing the District. The Board did not want to risk large jury verdicts and judgments, which would have to be paid from District funds; rather, it chose to pay a potentially much smaller amount from District funds. The potentially larger amount of several million dollars would have severely hampered BISD’s abilities to deliver its quality educational services to the students of Brownsville. The settlement monies paid by BISD will have an impact, but not at the disastrous level a jury and court could have awarded.

The trial and appellate courts commented on the Juarez case extensively in writing in response to court filings by the Defendant BISD and individual Defendant Trustees and former Trustees to dismiss the lawsuits. The courts determined that there was a factual dispute, likely to be considered by the jury, of a conspiracy by trustees, former trustees, and employees to take action outside legally required methods to terminate or nonrenew the employment of Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Juarez. If the jury believed the plaintiff’s evidence, then it could have determined that trustees did not simply make the wrong employment decision but in fact acted illegally in a conspiracy to violate constitutional rights. The potential damages a jury could award under this scenario was the motivation for settling and for the insurer readily tendering the limits of its liability policy.

The essential settlement terms dismiss all claims and lawsuits in exchange for payment to Mr. Gonzales of $800,000, the majority of which is to be paid by the insurer, engaging Mr. Gonzales as a consultant for the sum of $144,000 a year for two years, payment to Mr. Juarez of $700,000, the cost to be split equally between the insurer and BISD, and hiring Mr. Juarez under a two-year contract at an annual amount of $154,106, inclusive of salary, benefits, and insurance. The positions are working positions subject to termination for
nonperformance. The payments include attorney’s fees.

BISD is paying the above portions of the settlements because the insurer grouped these two lawsuits in the same policy year, along with another costly lawsuit settled last year involving the former administrator over Special Services, Art Rendon. The insurance companies assert that the claims are related, including the same type of alleged illegal conduct. BISD is disputing the insurers’ position that only one policy coverage year applies.

All defendants benefit from the settlement by bringing this costly litigation to an end and by not exposing more public monies of the District and the personal finances of the individual Defendants. The settlement payments by the insurer will account for both the District and individuals.

Lopez Ranks Top 10 in State Competition
The Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) held the final round of 2012-2013 State Honor Band competition on July 20 in San Antonio. Only the very best bands in the state earn a spot in the state finals and Lopez High School is in that group. In fact, Lopez advanced to the state finals and ranked 6th in the final round of 5A honor band competition. Since Lopez High School opened in 1993, the band program has advanced to the honor band state level competition a record 8 times. Lopez also placed 1st, state champion 4A honor band in 2003-2004 and performed as the Texas State Honor Band at the TMEA convention in San Antonio that year. No other high school band program in the Rio Grande Valley has ever ranked at the state level with this consistency. It is an exceptional achievement by the Lopez band program to have maintained state level performance standards for two decades. The Lopez Band is under the direction of George Trevino who has been the director at Lopez for the past 20 years. The Assistant Directors are David Ramirez, Sam Hjort and Ryan Moore. Congratulations to the students, parents, administration and directors of the Lopez High School Band on their continued state level achievements.

ACE Earns Platinum Award
The BISD Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Program received Platinum Level recognition for meeting all performance measures in Adult Education and English Literacy Civics for the 2010-2011 school year. The award from Texas LEARNS was presented at the annual Adult Education and El Civics Conference held in Galveston on July 26. ACE was recognized along with a handful of programs from across the state for expending all funds and meeting all targets established by the National Reporting System (NRS). Texas LEARNS oversees adult education for the state and is responsible for monitoring progress for the federal government and the Texas Education Agency. BISD’s ACE program was also submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by Texas LEARNS as one of three outstanding adult education programs in Texas. ACE classes are held at 708 Palm Boulevard. Call 548-8175 for more information.

Student Physicals
BISD students interested in participating in any of the programs listed below will be required to show proof of a physical evaluation before the start of the program for the 2012-2013 school year.

High School/Middle School Athletes
High School Band Members
High School/Middle School Dance Students
High School/Middle School Cheerleaders
High School JROTC Students
High School/Middle School BAC Students

The appropriate forms need to be completed by a physician, a physician assistant licensed by a State Board of Physician Assistant Examiners, or a registered nurse recognized as an Advanced Practice Nurse by the Board of Nurse Examiners. Examination forms signed by any other health care practitioner will not be accepted. Download the pre-participation medical history and physical forms here.

Brownsville ISD Adds Alert Notification System
The district has signed on with SchoolMessenger, a company that provides notification services for parental outreach, emergency broadcasts, and student attendance communications for K-12 Education. Now parents can receive phone calls, text alerts, and emails about a range of important issues affecting their students’ safety and academic performance. SchoolMessenger will be used to expand the district’s existing emergency preparedness procedures and to inform parents of upcoming school events such as statewide testing and parent meetings. The alert service from SchoolMessenger is proven to measurably impact student safety, parental involvement, staff communications and student attendance.

Horiz


 
     
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