Breckenridge Texan

BISD board considers action that could affect transfer students

BISD board considers action that could affect transfer students
January 22
07:25 2018

During Wednesday night’s Breckenridge Independent School District’s Board of Trustees meeting, members discussed a situation that could have an effect on local students who choose to attend school in other districts.

Seymore said that for several years, neighboring schools have operated school buses within BISD district boundaries to transport students to and from the other districts each day. He said the Texas Attorney General has ruled in the past that in order for school districts to operate bus services outside their districts and pick up students, they must have an agreement to operate in those other districts. However, such an agreement is not required for transporting students into other districts for extracurricular activities.

There are two school districts that are driving into the BISD area and picking up students, Moran ISD and Woodson ISD. Seymore said he has spoken to both districts and that they have told him they would like to continue picking up the kids and want to set up agreement with BISD.

Seymore said there are no stipulations on what type of agreement the board can make with the other districts. He said it’s up to trustees and they can have whatever terms to the agreement they want. He said they also have every right to tell districts they are not going to enter into an agreement and they have to stop driving into BISD picking up kids.

“Some districts have already sent cease-and-desist letters to other schools; some districts have said ‘we don’t care,’” Seymore said. “Typically the ones who don’t care have little effect from (allowing the students to be picked up). And the ones who have sent cease-and-desist letters have a lot of effect from it.”

Seymore said the term “a lot” is relative and that to him, the effect on BISD is a lot. According to the last numbers the district has available, BISD has around 70 students who have transferred out to nearby districts. He said the effect on BISD is that the district is losing kids and thus losing money.

The amount of money BISD loses per child is roughly $6,500 per child or about half a million dollars each year. In an email on Thursday, Seymore explained that is an annual allotment. He said BISD’s funding limit is determined by taking the total amount generated by the kids in attendance. Therefore, losing one child for one year results in a loss of about $6,500.

“Although we are not sending local tax dollars to another district, their funding limit is raised by $6,500 and ours is lowered by $6,500,” he said. “The actual revenue we receive is made up of about half state aid and half local taxes. It is more complicated than that because schools have different property values and different weights in formulas, but that is the gist of it.”

Seymore said during the meeting that because there are no stipulations or guidelines on what kind of agreement the board can make, if the board chooses, it could charge the other districts under the agreement. He said it could be a per child charge or whatever they decide to charge.

During the discussion, while going back and forth on what type of agreement to create, trustees kicked around several ideas, such as whether or not to charge and when it should go into effect. The general consensus from the discussions was that regardless of what type of agreement they come up with, it probably won’t change anything about the current situation until the next school year.

That would allow the outside districts to continue busing students for the rest of this school year to avoid disrupting students’ lives while in the middle of a school year. It would also give their parents and the other districts’ administrators time to plan for next year under the new agreement.

During the discussion, Seymore said students leave BISD to attend other districts for a variety of reasons. However, he pointed out that bus transfers out of the district have been dropping over the past couple of years because students who were attending the outside schools have graduated and fewer students have left the district.

Seymore said that although charging other districts for students they pick up in buses could keep some students from leaving the district, it would probably not have any effect on those students who don’t ride a bus. The other districts would not be subject to a charge for those students who ride with their parents to those schools each day.

Following the discussions, board members agreed to have Seymore draw up an interlocal agreement for the rest of this school year, and then at the February meeting the board will make a decision about what BISD will do during the next school year.

Superintendent Employment contract extension
Trustees also voted to extend Seymore’s contract, following a closed executive session during the meeting, to complete the superintendent’s annual evaluation.

After the session, they voted to extended his contract until June 30, 2020 and amend his salary amount to $121,680. Seymore’s salary was $117,000 when he was hired and has remained the same until it changed Wednesday. The new salary takes effect with the new contract year, which is July 1, 2018. His current contract was set to expire on June 30, 2019.

Food Service Agreement
BISD trustees also approved an interlocal food purchasing agreement for the district with the West Texas Food Service Cooperative for 2018-2019. Under the agreement, BISD will participate in the food service cooperative for purchasing food and commodity processing for the 2018-2019 school year.

Seymore said participating in the program, which the district usually does each year, allows the district to purchase food for foodservice at a lower rate. He said it does not require the district to purchase food through them, but they usually get the lowest rate when they do.

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Breckenridge Independent School District Superintendent Tim Seymore addresses the Board of Trustees and others attending the January board meeting. During the meeting, the Board members voted to extend his contract through 2020. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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