April 2019

Posted by Tamra Spence on 4/25/2019

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District gets Bond Rating Upgrade, Sells 2018 Bonds 

Pflugerville ISD recently raised its bond rating to AA+, in time for its initial offering of $250 million in bonds from last year’s successful election.

Standard and Poors on March 14 raised PfISD’s general obligation debt rating from AA to AA+, citing the district’s strong financial management practices and strong local economy, among other factors for the upgrade.

“This rating is a testament to our district’s conservative handling of its budget and finances,” said PfISD Chief Operating Officer Ed Ramos. “Our board and administration continue to maintain great stewardship over its tax dollars. This also translates to millions of dollars in interest cost savings over the life of the bonds.” 

The S&P AA+ rating bond rating places PfISD among a select group of only 20 school districts in Texas with the distinction. 

The rating upgrade was part of a process that included the initial sale of bonds approved by voters in November 2018. The 2018 bond package, totaling $332 million, is slated to accommodate growth in student enrollment, update aging facilities and address evolving student programs. 

Ramos on March 25-26 traveled to Dallas for the sale of $250 million in general obligation bonds. The district’s favorable bond rating and high demand for its bonds helped PfISD take advantage of approximately $1 million in interest savings. The district was also able to sell the bonds with no tax rate increase to the community. 

PfISD has already begun moving forward to meet the growing demands that led to the 2018 bond election, putting bond monies into full planning and architectural designs on the proposed Elementary No. 22 and Middle School No. 7, as well as the full purchase of the district’s new bus fleet – 159 vehicles total.

Some of the new vehicles have already arrived within the district, Blue Bird Buses each equipped with air-conditioning, heating, security cameras and seatbelts, among other features. The school district has also begun advertising new bus driver and monitor positions, each full-time and starting at $19 an hour, plus benefits. 

Remaining bonds from the 2018 PfISD election are scheduled to be sold in late 2020. 

 

Legislative Update

As Pflugerville ISD works through the budget process for the upcoming school year, we are keeping an eye on the State Legislature and how any approved legislation could impact the district. We are pleased to confirm the district has currently earmarked funds to recommend a 3% raise for all staff members. However, we will wait to propose the salary increases until we have an approved finance bill by both the House and the Senate.
 
As you are likely aware, the final results of the House and Senate school finance bills could be significant, and could dramatically impact the PfISD budget for the next several years. With this in mind, we will monitor the actions at the capital and keep you updated as the results become more clear. We plan to include the most current updated information in the next edition of the PfMonthly, so be sure to check back!

 

New Employee discount for EDP childcare in 2019-20

As part of the 2019-20 budgeting process, Pflugerville ISD has implemented a discounted tuition rate for full-time employees. Employes will now pay $50 per child, per month for afterschool care. Currently, employees pay a rate of $140 per child, per month for afterschool care. EDP will begin registration for the 2019-20 school year in the coming weeks.

 

2019 Convocation Scheduled

PfISD has scheduled its annual Convocation to kick off the 2019-20 school year on Thursday, Aug. 8 at Shoreline Church, 15201 Burnet Rd. in Austin. Convocation will run from 2-4 p.m.

 

Teacher Committee Opportunities

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is encouraging highly-qualified Texas educators to apply to participate in TEA's Assessment Educator Committees.

Texas educators—classroom teachers, higher education representatives, curriculum specialists, administrators, and regional education service center staff play a vital role in the test-development process. The involvement of these education professionals enables the development of high-quality assessments that accurately measure what Texas students have learned in the classroom.

Thousands of Texas educators have served on one or more of the educator committees that are involved in the development of the Texas assessment program. These committees represent the state geographically, ethnically, by gender, and by type and size of school district. They include educators with knowledge of the needs of a variety of student populations, including students with disabilities and English learners (ELs).

To apply to participate in these committees, educators should complete the Educator Committee Application Form at https://www.txetests.com/edc/. From the Committee Preference tab at the bottom of the application, select Assessment Educator Committee.

 

2019 Teacher Institutes: Improving Instruction through Assessment

TEA is now accepting applications for 2019 Teacher Institutes in mathematics, reading/language arts, science, and social studies. The summer institutes provide professional development aimed at building assessment literacy and understanding of the alignment of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) program with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Highly qualified Texas teachers and curriculum experts with current experience in the following grade levels and subjects are encouraged to apply.

  • English language arts and reading for grades 3–8 and English I and II
  • Mathematics for grades 3–8 and Algebra I
  • Science for grades 5 and 8 and Biology
  • Social studies for grade 8 and U.S. History Studies
  • Spanish language arts and reading for grades 3–5

For more information regarding the 2019 Teacher Institutes, including a link to the application, please see the related TEA correspondence. Questions regarding teacher institutes may be directed toTeacherInstitutes@tea.texas.gov.

 

Board Election - May 2019

Pflugerville ISD will be hosting a regular election for school board Places 3, 4, and 5. PfISD had 5 candidates file for the three available seats. Filings were:

  • Place 3: Renae Mitchell
  • Place 4: Vernagene Mott
  • Place 5: Brian Allen, April Griffin, Charlie Torres
Early voting runs from April 22-30, 2019. Election Day is Saturday, May 4, 2019. Don't forget to vote in the May election!
 
    

PEF Offers Mini-Grants to Teachers

Ninety-four percent of public school teachers say they spend an average of $479 of their own money on classroom supplies or training without reimbursement. PEF has a plan to help through Mini-Grants:

  • Only a 600-word project summary is required
  • $100-$500 per grant
  • Deadline the 28th of each month
  • The last funding of the 2018-2019 year will be available April 27 of the 2018-2019 school year.

Apply today! Mini-Grant Criteria | Mini-Grant Application

 

Teacher Professional Development

Texas A&M University Texarkana has created webinars to help share information about the organization's Master Degree in instructional technology. 

They have created a survey that teachers can complete to identify a date/time that they would be available to attend.  The survey can be accessed at the following address: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCPZPMK

 

 

Did you know header  

Did you know community members, staff and business partners developed a strategic plan for 2018-2023 that was approved in May 2018. Read about it here.

 

Board Bytes

 

In the April Board Meeting, the district approved $4.6 million for English and Spanish Language Arts and Reading Materials as well as the first technology projects from the 2018 Bond. Areas targeted for upgrades include computers, network capacity, projectors and security and firewall protection. Additionally, the board approved Mike Brassfield as the new Executive Director of Transportation.

To view the entire Board Meeting video, visit the district's YouTube page.

 

celebrations

Clik here to submit an item in the "celebrations" or "thoughts and prayers" section of our newsletter.

 

Dell Internship Program 

Fifteen Pflugerville ISD students are taking part in a unique high school internship program at Dell with the support of the company’s product engineers.

Qualifying students with computer science, health sciences and engineering backgrounds from Connally, Hendrickson and Pflugerville high schools have begun work at the Dell campus on Parmer Lane in Austin, alongside software developers in the Client Product Group – Software Engineering section.

“Pflugerville ISD is excited to continue a partnership with Dell that provides PfISD high school seniors an opportunity to participate in an amazing work-based learning experience through a group project based on real Dell work,” said Traci Hendrix PfISD Career and Technical Education director. “Partnerships like this one are vital to the success of career and technical education [CTE] programs and we could not prepare students for life success without wonderful supporters like Dell.”

PfISD and Dell officials worked together in the initial offering of the internship program last year. Thirteen PfISD students took part, working on a virtual reality project with the support of Dell product engineers.

In order to participate, students must be at least 18 years old and have a class schedule allowing them to travel to Dell for at least two hours a day, three days a week. This year’s 10-week program began March 4. 

PfISD students in the 2019 Dell internship program are:

Connally High School

  • Josh Sedatole
  • Rosa Sosa-Lopez
  • Khoi Nguyen
  • Ali Al-Adhami
  • Lhilia Lopez
  • Enrique Bibb-Serrano
  • Neil Whitely
     

Hendrickson High School

  • Yuvanesh Rajamani
  • Muskanben Vahora
     

Pflugerville High School

  • Max Bledsoe
  • James “Randy” Hodges
  • Christian Gilbert
  • Adam Cox
  • Alan Garcia
  • Rumya K. Velu

 

Ruckel named principal at Northwest Elementary

Pflugerville ISD Superintendent of Schools Doug Killian announced the appointment of Tana Ruckel as the new Principal at Northwest Elementary School on Tuesday. Ruckel will begin her 25th year serving PfISD students with the start of the 2019-2020 school year and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Northwest Elementary.
 
Ruckel has worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in PfISD at three different campuses before serving the Northwest Elementary community. Most recently, Ruckel has been the principal at Highland Park Elementary for the past seven years.
 
Killian said he is pleased with Ruckel’s acceptance of the position and the job done by Tere Tidwell as an interim principal this semester while the District searched for a permanent replacement.
 
“I am deeply appreciative of the great work performed by Tere Tidwell, who stepped up to lead the campus,” Killian said. “Ms. Tidwell's role has been vital in keeping the school moving forward and allowing our teachers and other staff members to continue our primary purpose – educating our students.
 
“Ms. Ruckel is looking forward to working together with Northwest’s staff to build on the great things already happening at the campus and helping guide them to even more significant achievements.”
 
Moving forward, Ruckel will split her time between Northwest Elementary and Highland Park Elementary while the district searches for her replacement at HPES. Tidwell will also continue to support the campus until Ruckel is at Northwest full-time.

 

coming soon

  • Board of Trustees Workshop: May 2, at 6:30 p.m., PfISD Administration Building, 1401 W. Pecan St.
  • Regular Board of Trustees Meeting: May 16, at 7 p.m., PfISD Administration Building, 1401 W. Pecan St.
  • Staff and student holiday: May 27
  • Last Day of School: May 30
  • Graduation: June 1 at the University of Texas Frank Erwin Center (Hendrickson High School at 10 a.m., Connally High School at 1 p.m., Pflugerville High School at 3:30 p.m.)

 

Perk of the Month

Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort
381 E. Austin St., New Braunfels
Contact: Doug Carlile (dcarlile@schlitterbahn.com) 830-608-8532
15% discount on park admission and resort stays.  Substantial discounts on season passes.
 
 
Mt. Playmore
13609 N IH 35, Austin
Contact: Ben Huey (ben@mtplaymore.com) 512-989-8886
10% off admissions and food.
 
 

To view more perks, visit The Pfair.