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Abilene trustees break down new accountability standards and rating changes

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 08 2013 10:47:29 PM CDT
Abilene Independent School District

ABILENE, Texas -

High on the Abilene School District agenda Monday night was discussing the four new accountability indices under House Bill 5, a law passing assessment standards in public schools.

Director of Accountability Jeannie Forehand explained the district will not be evaluated on a performance index framework that includes: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps between impoverished student populations and post secondary readiness. 
   
"We always want to know how we're doing," Forehand said. "We need to know where our strengths are. We need to know the areas we need to improve. I don't know a public district that doesn't want that feedback. It will be good for us to know where we are progressing and where we still need some additional work."

In order to receive an acceptable rating the district must meet the required target in each index. Forehand said her greatest concern with the new measurements are the unknown and,  "Being able to communicate such a complex system to our constituents, to our school board to our parents, to our students and to our faculty and staff."

The board also unanimously approved sending a letter to the Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams asking to return local control to school boards, allowing them to ultimately make decisions on curriculum. This resolution was because lawmakers did away with the use of future CSCOPE lesson plans in school districts. 

The board also discussed the proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year. Trustees discussed adding personnel to elementary classrooms. Classrooms should be at a 1 to 22 student, teacher ratio. This past school year, the district needed a waiver to accommodate additional students. The budget hearing is set for August 26. 

At the end of the meeting Superintendent Heath Burns introduced Dr. Audra Ude as the new Associate Superintendent. Dr. Cathy Ashby left that job to take the CEO position with the United Way.