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SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE: First day of class is around the corner, and BCISD is ready

It is almost time for parents across Burnet County to tag Burnet school district staff and say, “You’re it.”

Where did the summer go? It is hard to believe that on Monday, Aug. 20, the 2018-19 school year begins. We have been busy planning for the new school year, including hiring new teachers, wrapping up the budget, and getting the campuses cleaned and ready for students and teachers.

Not only are the campuses cleaned and ready for school, but they will be even safer than ever as Burnet High School, Burnet Middle School, and all of the elementary campuses in Burnet Consolidated Independent School District will have a school resource officer assigned to them. This physical presence of law enforcement on each campus is in addition to the many safety and security measures that have been put in place the past five years, including: secure entryways, proximity card-access control systems, surveillance camera systems, phones in every classroom, an expanded radio system with panic buttons, and the deployment of the Say Something app.

The Board of Trustees has continued to meet during the summer. On Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m., the board will hold a budget hearing. Later that same evening, the trustees will consider approving the 2018-19 budget during the regular meeting. The administration has developed two budget frameworks, and which budget the board will approve depends on the outcome of the Tax Ratification Election on Saturday, Aug. 25. Early voting is Aug. 15-17 and Aug. 20-21 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the BCISD Central Office, 208 E. Brier in Burnet.

As a reminder, for the first time in the district’s history, BCISD will be sending property taxes generated within the district to the state as part of the “Robin Hood” school finance plan. The district is projecting that this recapture payment will be $500,000 for the 2018-19 school year and $2.2 million in 2019-20. These are funds that will not be available to support innovative programs and initiatives, teacher pay raises, or school safety initiatives in BCISD. Instead, the money will be redistributed to other Texas school districts. If approved by voters, the Tax Ratification Election will lower the BCISD overall tax rate from $1.28 to $1.26, and the district will receive approximately $600,000 annually in additional operating revenue.

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 heaviest at the start of school and 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 such as the route number, stop times, and stop locations for their children. In addition, the district is unveiling a new 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 on the district’s website.

Mark your calendars for Meet the Bulldogs. I hope you can join us at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Burnet High School gym for food and fellowship as the community is introduced to our athletes and teams for the fall sports. Team introductions will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Finally, the entire BCISD 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 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 the 2018-19 a great school year for our students.