Walker

CISD Finance Director John Walker signals to change to the next Powerpoint slide during a presentation of the proposed district budget at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The principal at Commerce Middle School who had been on administrative leave since April had her resignation officially accepted by the Commerce Independent School District Board of Trustees, and the new principal for the campus was hired at the June meeting of the board on Monday.

Board members Gabe Wittkopf and Dr. Ray Green were not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

Dr. Shenequa Miller had been on leave since April 17 due to a pending investigation. At the time, the district would not comment on the nature of the investigation. On Tuesday the district still had no public comment to give on the situation, with Ludonna Smithers, director of Personnel and Communications, saying that it was a personnel matter and no comment could be given.

CISD Superintendent Charlie Alderman said he could not comment following Monday’s meeting, only saying that Miller was “resigning by mutual agreement.”

A public records request has been made to Commerce ISD for any documents and correspondence regarding the investigation into Miller, and a response has not been given as of Wednesday afternoon. The district is expected to ask Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to allow for withholding of the records under Texas Government Code Chapter 552.

Miller was hired as CMS principal in the summer of 2016 and came to the district with more than 20 years of experience as a counselor and administrator. When contacted, Miller declined to give a statement on the matter.

Miller’s replacement was also hired at the meeting. Tina Bronson, who had been serving as acting Principal at CMS since late April, was hired as the full-time Principal Monday. Bronson had previously served as the assistant principal at A.C. Williams Elementary and began her career in public education at that school in 2007. Bronson had also served as an interim principal at ACW in years past.

Bronson thanked the board upon her hiring.

“Thank you, your vote of confidence means the world to me,” Bronson said at the board meeting Monday.

Trustees voted later on Monday to accept the preliminary budget for the 2019-20 school year. District Finance Director John Walker stressed that with the passage of HB3, the newest school finance bill, not much is known about how much the state will contribute. He stated that he fully expects a large amount of amendments to be made to the budget by September in order to accommodate the changes, as the budget passed on Monday is going by the old law. The tax rate was not adopted with the budget, and will be adopted by September.

The newest budget estimates the average daily attendance for CISD to be at 1,405, a slight improvement over last year but still a far cry from the 1,500 budgeted for in the 2016 school year. The total enrollment is estimated at 1,524.

The total uncertified appraised value of property within the district is $470,703,020, which is $37 million higher than last year, however those figures have not yet been finalized.

The preliminary budget is equally balanced, calling for $14,011,509 in both revenues and expenditures. 72-percent of all expenditures are going toward payroll.

Again, many of these figures may change toward the beginning of the school year, and amendments would be made.

Kathy Myers, director of Health Services for CISD, gave a presentation regarding the upcoming school-based health facility being facilitated by Carevide and housed in the district’s Family and Community Engagement Center. Construction is underway on the facility.

Myers stated that no major changes would be made to health services due to the clinic except for providing transportation to the clinic. The presentation also made sure to mention that Carevide would be operating separately as a contractor and not as a district department.

The board later passed a memorandum of understanding with Carevide to begin the process of moving equipment in.

Staying with the FACE Center, trustees voted to accept a donation of $39,210 from Leadership Hunt County for renovations to the center, which include the addition of shower and laundry facilities.

The next meeting of the Commerce ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for July 15, with public session scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.