Burnet CISD trustees approve funding for new tractor, Macintosh computer lab

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — After shorting the Career and Technology Education department by more than $300,000, Burnet Consolidated Independent School District officials pledged to re-invest the money over the next two years during a board meeting April 15.

Secondary Curriculum Coordinator Jim Connor asked BCISD board of trustees to approve  $310,044 out of the fund balance to go toward CTE for purchases for the next two years.

Of that amount, $156,070.34 will be immediately spent on identified needs, Superintendent Keith McBurnett said.

School districts are required to spend 58 percent of their CTE allotment from the state on CTE-related expenditures. The 2011-2012 audit showed BCISD failed to do so, officials said. Therefore, administrators have been working diligently with CTE staff to assess needs and formulate a plan on rectifying the situation.

“A lot of effort has gone into having them correct it,” Connor said. “(The Texas Education Agency) looked at the plan, and they were very supportive and said as long as you follow the plan, we’ll be OK.”

After the board approved it, the trustees voted to purchase several items for the department, including a John Deere tractor and a Macintosh computer lab.

The fund-balance transfer leaves the district with about $8.2 million in reserves.

The board also approved creating a new computer-programming course. The key to approving this course, Connor said, was the board already green-lighting the Mac lab.

“We’ll have our kids at the cutting edge, which to me is just amazing,” he said. “We’ll put our kids out front of anyone in the area.”

McBurnett added that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has expressed a desire for more workers who know technology.

“He has more jobs for engineers and computer techs than he has people to fill the jobs,” the superintendent said. “Our kids will have that experience before they graduate.”

The board also accepted a donation of $25,169.13 from the Bertram Elementary Parents-Teacher Organization that will be used to purchase a Chromebook mobile computer lab for the campus.

The donation will allow the campus to buy 75 of the devices.

McBurnett said administrators will ask the board to approve more mobile computer labs for other BCISD campuses.

jfierro@thepicayune.com