BCISD to embark on adventure in 2019-20

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The theme for this school year is Climbing to New Heights: Adventure Awaits, and it is hard to believe that Monday, August 19 the 2019-2020 School Year begins. I have a senior who will be graduating in May 2020, and kindergarten students that begin school this year will graduate in May 2032. Try to wrap your mind around that! 

We have been busy planning for the new school year which includes hiring new teachers, wrapping up the budget, and getting the campuses cleaned and ready for students and teachers. In addition, we have tackled some significant projects this summer including painting all of the classrooms at Burnet Middle School, renovating selected campus restrooms, and replacing the cracking and failing asphalt at the walkways at Bulldog Stadium. The Board of Trustees has approved the expansion of the Shady Grove Elementary drive.

The project is currently going through permitting, and we hope to break ground within the next two weeks. We are working with our contractor to complete the work in stages so that school operation is not impacted. Once completed, Shady Grove will have two dedicated lanes for car rider pickup, and one dedicated lane to access parking. The number of parking spaces is also being increased significantly.

On August 26 the Board of Trustees will adopt the 2019-2020 tax rate and budget. The Board is pleased to have proposed a 7.5 cent tax rate decrease for the 2019-2020 school year during its regular July meeting, and officially approve the reduced tax rate of $1.185 in a few weeks.

This will represent the fourth consecutive year the Board has voted to lower the tax rate. Even with the lower tax rate, the District has been able to provide historic pay raises for staff, add an instructional coach at each campus, and add two additional instructional partners at each campus. These new positions are designed specifically to provide direct support to teachers and classrooms.

Besides budget and compensation planning, the major area of focus this summer has been on facility planning. On May 6, the Board of Trustees heard a comprehensive report of needs on each campus/facility, and provided their input about the proposed projects. Over the course of three additional meetings this summer, the Board received cost estimates for each project, and prioritized the projects for consideration.

A Facilities Community Advisory Committee (FCAC) comprised of 26 community members met recently for two meetings to review the projects, ask clarifying questions and provide feedback about the projects.  On August 12 the Board of Trustees will hear a report on the feedback from the FCAC, and consider approving an order calling for a November 5 bond election. I will be sharing more information with the community about the possible bond election after August 12, but I want to make it clear that a called bond election will still result in a 7.5 cent tax rate decrease. 

As the school year begins, let me take this opportunity to remind everyone to slow down in school zones and stop for school buses loading and unloading. Please also be patient the first few days of school as traffic is always heavier at the start of school as everyone is learning the traffic patterns at each campus. The increased traffic and learning curve means that bus routes will likely not run on time the first week of school. 

To help parents manage information about transportation, the District has a web based program called InfoFinderI that allows parents to look up bus information like the route number, stop times and stop locations for their children. In addition, the District has an app called SafeStop. This app will allow parents to monitor the progress of their child’s bus and will predict an arrival time to a bus stop. Parents can find the link to InfoFinderI and receive information on how to download and utilize the SafeStop app by going to www.burnetcisd.net > Departments > Transportation.

Mark your calendars for Meet the Bulldogs! I hope you can join us on Thursday, August 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Burnet High School Gym for food and fellowship as the community is introduced to our band, athletes and teams for the fall sports. Team introductions will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

Finally, the entire Burnet CISD staff is excited to welcome parents and students back to school. We have spent considerable time talking about communication and the type of environment we want to create for our students. During the school year, it is natural for a parent to have questions or even a concern at their child’s campus. It is important that questions or concerns be dealt with by the person closest to the issue so that they can be resolved in the best and most efficient manner possible.

I encourage parents to discuss their questions or concerns through informal conferences with the appropriate teacher, principal or other campus administrator. When concerns are expressed as soon as possible, it allows for early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level. We look forward to working with you to make 2019-2020 a great school year for our students!

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