School District Strategies Demographic Research Director Brent Alexander gave the Jacksonville Independent School District Board of Trustees a run down of school’s demographic study at Monday night’s board meeting.

He spoke about the local economy, the district composition and growth.

“The population is going up 3.6 percent per year for the county and the city of Jacksonville,” Alexander said. “The Hispanic population in the school district has increased.”

Alexander said the Hispanic population at JISD has gone from 26 to 43 percent and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students went from 59 to 78 percent.

“Only Tyler ISD saw more growth in these areas,” he said of the surrounding school districts.

He said high school attendance has trended downward over the last five years, and the district has lost an average of  0.2 percent student population over the same period each year.

School District Strategies also examined Jacksonville’s birth rate, and Alexander said it is expected to see a 1.69 percent increase each year, compared to an estimated 1.54 percent increase in enrollment.

He also said the reason for the recent student decline is the recession.

“The local economy was hit hard by the national recession,” he said.

Alexander also said every school in the district has outgrown its permanent capacity and most are expected to outgrow their portable building capacities as well in just a few years. He said Nichols Intermediate is the only campus expected to see continuing decline.

“Additional space will be needed to handle projected growth,” he said.

Board members took no action on the presentation during the meeting, but Superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell said the information is vital in order to move forward on large scale district improvement projects.

Other presentations were made to the board during the early portion of the meeting.

A notice of a $1,500 award from the East Texas Tech Prep Consortium was given; this will allow students to visit one of several colleges around East Texas participating in a technology program.

The 2010-2011 dress code proposal was submitted to the board. This includes only two changes. One is to include blue jeans under the code which states clothes may not have pictures or decorations on them. The other prohibits distracting makeup, hair color and hair styles.

Special Education Director Dr. Leslie George said this includes any color which would not exist in nature on people.

“These are clarifications,” she said. “The schools have been following these.”

A short report on the advanced degree supplement and tuition reimbursement program was given, including a $1,000 stipend for those who earn their masters or doctorates.

In addition, a report on dual enrollment courses at Jacksonville High School was given to highlight the many courses being offered for JHS students at Lon Morris College, Jacksonville College and Tyler Junior College.

As required when calling trustee elections, each of the board members’ earned continuing education credits has been made public. The members have until May to finish collecting their credits.

Board President James Houser also reminded the board the March board meeting date was changed to March 22 due to spring break.

A trio of awards were given out, including the Texas Comptroller’s Office Gold Leadership Circle Award.

Wardell said the school’s financial services undertook this voluntary program to see how transparent and open to the public it was.

“Our financial services got a perfect 15 out of 15, and we’re very proud of that group and what they do,” Wardell said.

Nichols Intermediate won the Just for the Kids National Award for improvements on its math scores, and the 21st Century Teaching Award was given to Alicia Tennison.

Only a few action items were conducted during the meeting.

The board approved one of the two 2010-2011 school calendar options presented by the calendar committee. The committee had originally had seven options before narrowing the choices down to two.

Board members approved an application to the Texas Education Agency for a general waiver for the 2010-2011 school year for two staff development days, its early release days and the modified testing schedule days.

A two-acre tract of land was approved for sale for $6,000. This land, located near Mount Selman, was appraised at $12,820.

A contract with Claycomb & Associates Inc. was approved for architectural services. In November 2009, the school posted a request for quotes and in January, the school approved negotiations with Claycomb & Associates.

The 2010 JISD trustee election was called for May 8. Board members approved the lease of voting equipment for the elections as well as an agreement with the City of Jacksonville to use the Jacksonville Public Library as a joint Election Day spot.

No action was taken regarding a resolution nominating a replacement for John Mark Lester’s vacant seat on the Cherokee County Appraisal District Board of Directors. No names were given for nomination and so the board passed on this item.

After a brief public comments period and the monthly superintendent’s report, the board went into executive session to discuss items including hiring, termination, retirement or transfer of professional personnel, legal matters, student disciple and real property. Also discussed was the superintendent’s recommendations regarding contract renewal status of school administrators.

Following this executive session the meeting was adjourned.

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