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July Board Meeting Summary

July 29, 2020

The Dripping Springs ISD Board of Trustees held its regular meeting on July 27, with board members participating remotely, as permitted by Governor Abbott’s temporary suspension of Open Meetings Laws in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Board Briefs provide a more detailed summary. The YouTube recording can be viewed online.


Following public forum, representatives from the Dripping Springs Education Foundation gave the annual report. Executive Director Lou Mandy Bruggman provided an overview of the “All In” campaign, Student Leadership Grants, and Innovative Teaching Grants. Outgoing Board President Max Hunsicker shared information on the board, committee membership, the financial review process, and support provided for student mental health issues. Incoming Board president George Gomez announced presentation of $273,924 in district support, including the mental health initiative, grant programs, and the Nick LaFevre Community Youth Fund.

District Financial Advisor Dan Wegmiller of Specialized Public Finance shared some background on recent interest rates and an opportunity for advance refunding of taxable bond funds.

Assistant Superintendent Karen Kidd shared information on professional development focused on remote learning and Canvas, and provided an overview of the activity of the School Health Advisory Council. SHAC member and Dripping Springs Elementary Principal Kellie Raymond summarized the council's three major recommendations on:  curriculum, social-emotional learning, and website resources.

Middle school mental health professional Kim Bird and Sycamore Springs Instructional Facilitator Michael Kryszak summarized planning in the area of social-emotional learning. “Toolboxes” of resources have been created for elementary teachers, secondary teachers, administrators and parents.  

DSISD Project Manager Mike Garcia provided the July report on bond projects construction. He gave an update on the Dripping Springs High School expansion/renovation project and shared several photos. The Transportation Center project has started with exterior lighting improvements, preparation for plumbing, and interior demolition. For the new Walnut Springs Elementary/Dripping Springs Middle School renovation project, sitework, utility work and preparation of building pads are underway. For Elementary #5, recent work includes site grading, storm sewers, and building foundation work.

Finance Director Jeff Martello introduced the monthly bond expense report. He also shared that the district recently closed on the Headwaters property. He introduced monthly financial reports and the quarterly investment report. Executive Director of Human Resources Tiffany Duncan reported on safety protocols, accommodation requests for staff, and teacher/staff surveys. 

Superintendent Todd Washburn introduced the district’s Return, Reimagine, Reconnect” plan, which has been built around the priorities of staff and student safety, and the community expectation for a high-quality education. He addressed reasons for the four-week remote start to the year and explained that parents then will have a choice between on-campus learning or remote learning. The district is planning on a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction to best meet the needs of students and to support staff; parents will have some choice in how closely their students follow a schedule; lessons also will be recorded. Mr. Washburn addressed the expectation for state-required daily engagement and pointed out that the sample schedules included in the R3 plan were presented as illustrations only. He shared an overview of the amount of time expected in different subject areas at the elementary level, then showed samples of middle and high school schedules. Creation of the Task Force to assist with the planning process was discussed. 

Board President Kroll and Dr. Hetrick reported that a draft letter to Commissioner Morath and Gov. Abbott has been prepared regarding COVID-related issues.

The Board approved the Resolution to Authorize 2020-21 School Plan, the Student Code of Conduct and Extracurricular Code of Conduct, the designation as Joanna Day as the delegate and Marisa Grijalva as the alternate to the TASB Convention was approved, an Interlocal Agreement with Houston ISD for School Health and Related Services), and an extension of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Dripping Springs Education Foundation.