Commerce Independent School District Superintendent Charlie Alderman presents Anika Whetstone of Chartwell’s Food Service with the district’s business recognition award at Monday’s CISD Board of Trustees meeting. The Texas Association of School Boards has a program in place for school districts to honor local businesses, and Chartwell’s was chosen as October’s winner for its work with CISD’S Food Services.

The Commerce Independent School District Board of Trustees received the district’s annual audit and approved several improvement plans at its regular October meeting Monday.

Trustees Dr. LaVelle Hendricks and Randy Starks were not in attendance.

Cody Helm with Rutherford, Taylor and Company out of Greenville presented the findings of the audit to the board. According to the report, the firm was giving an “unmodified opinion” of the district’s financial statements, meaning that the auditor believes that the district presented its financial statements in accordance with applicable financial reporting framework, which is the best opinion that can be given.

However, the audit did find that the food services fund was over-expended, and the budget should have been amended before the end of the fiscal year that ended on June 30.

According to the report, the district brought in $14,273,430 in total revenues for the 2018-19 fiscal year, opposed to $13,841,374 in expenses. The district ended the fiscal year with a general fund balance of roughly $6,550,000. More than 51 percent of all expenses went toward instruction.

The audit was accepted unanimously as presented.

The trustees also accepted the district and campus improvement plans for the year going forward. Those documents will be made available online at a later date, which was unspecified.

A report was given regarding the district’s efforts to improve student performance at some of its campuses. Commerce ISD was mandated by the state to undergo several intervention and reporting procedures because of poor ratings in the Texas Education Agency’s A-F Accountability ratings. Commerce Middle School received an “F” rating, while A.C. Williams Elementary School received a “D,” meaning that several measures were required.

An improvement plan was first presented at the September board meeting. On Monday, a report was given showcasing the work done already, with CMS, ACW and Commerce Elementary School setting up small group intervention schedules and professional development to better hone in on problem areas. Benchmark tests are underway to see what areas are most crucial.

The board unanimously approved the Targeted Improvement Plan, which will now be sent to the TEA for approval from the state.

A funding and lease agreement with Cypress Bank for the purchase of two new school buses was approved at a total amount of $190,324.

Also passed by the board was a measure to fund additions to the district’s agricultural truck, adding power windows and locks, window tinting and a power lock tailgate at a cost of $1,838.

An item that would have approved funding for a trip to the national competition for the Commerce High School cheerleaders was tabled due to lack of a quorum. CHS cheer is seeking a trip to nationals in the spring, which would come at a cost of around $10,000 according to estimates. When the measure went to a vote, trustees Dr. Ray Green and Gabe Wittkopf abstained, leaving only three possible voting members present because of the aforementioned absence of two trustees. The item was tabled for a later board meeting as there were not enough voting members present to constitute a quorum.

Chartwell’s Food Service was given a Texas Association of School Boards Business Recognition Award by the district for its work with food services in CISD. Anika Whetstone was presented the award during the meeting.

Enrollment is at 1,546, an increase of 17 students over this time last year.

The next meeting of the Commerce ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for Nov. 18, with public session scheduled for 7 p.m.

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