• Superintendent's Memo 01-18-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 1/18/2019 11:15:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Promising news from the 86th Legislative Session

    The 86th Legislative Session is underway and the early report can only be described as promising for public education. The Texas House is proposing $7 billion in new state funds for public schools; the Texas Senate is coming in with a more modest $4.3 billion injection into public education.

    Needless to say, this is not what most of the political pundits in Austin and throughout the state were expecting. Perhaps it was an attack of conscience by state lawmakers, or the sudden realization that Texans on both sides of the political aisle were demanding something be done to live up to the precepts of the Texas Constitution.

    It’s too early to read into these proposals, and future events could always change the dynamics of what is being placed on the table for legislators to consider. What’s most important is that you let your voice continue to be heard on this matter. Call, write, email or pay a visit to your State Representative or State Senator in Austin during the session, and let them know you’re watching. Thank them for this first step and continue to hold them accountable so that every student in a Texas public school will receive an equal opportunity for a great education.

    Regarding another matter, we had the opportunity to partake in the SCUC ISD Education Foundation Prize Patrol last week. Seeing the faces of the teachers selected for Innovative Teacher Grants is one of the best aspects of my job. These creative thinkers are sparking imagination and wonder among our students with these grant proposals, and we look forward to hearing about the positive impacts they will make. Our Education Foundation Board of Directors deserve a huge thanks for the wonderful work they do to raise the money and distribute the funds to the students in our school district!

    Please take the time to see our Board Briefs from our December meeting (LINKED BELOW) and our Everyday Successes (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES 

    2018 DECEMBER BOARD BRIEFS

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

     

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  • Superintenden't's Memo 01-11-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 1/11/2019 3:45:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Combiined Community Advisory Committee Meeting reflects tremendous stahkeholder engagement at SCUC ISD

     

    Our annual Combined Community Advisory Committee, held last night, was a huge success. We are so thankful we have city and county leaders, community members and employees, who are laser focused on district affairs. Those in attendance were informed on the district’s Budget Update, the Demographer Report, and our 10-Year Facility Master Plan.

    Each category is different, but they are also interwoven. We discussed the budget challenges and the impact the current Legislative Session in Austin may have on it. The demographer detailed our steady growth, coupled with the dynamic rise in homebuilding and permits for plats in the 72-square miles that encompass our district. As our population and student enrollment continue to increase, we grapple with the challenges of providing new facilities and maintaining our current buildings.

    We are the caretakers of your school district. Your civic engagement and feedback will help us chart the course for SCUC, and we welcome it. If you are unable to attend our numerous advisory committee meetings or school board meetings, you can always share your input at: feedback@scuc.txed.net.

    On another note, please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes (LINKED BELOW)

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES 

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2018 NOVEMBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

     

     

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  • Superintendent's Memo 12-20-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 12/20/2018 8:45:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Happiest of Holidays during this season

    The Winter Break and holiday season is upon us. This joyous, festive time allows for a much needed break for our students and our hard working staff. We want to extend our sincere appreciation to those employees who will work through most of the break to keep things running smoothly when classes resume. Our community has had an opportunity to enjoy some cheerful holiday events these past few weeks leading up to the break, whether it be band, orchestra or choir.

    It is my sincere hope we use this break to rest, disconnect from unnecessary distractions, and take advantage of this time have to enjoy friends and family. Some of you may take trips to faraway destinations; we wish you safe travels.

    These past few weeks, I have witnessed numerous food drives, coat drives and a general sense of giving, district-wide. This is why I love SCUC!

    Let us also take a moment to remember those who may be going through difficult circumstances, whether economically, physically or emotionally. The holiday season can be very trying times for them. Extend to them the hand of friendship or the cloak of empathy to those in need, if you can.

    Kind hearts are the gardens. Kind thoughts are the roots. Kind words are the blossoms. Kind deeds are the fruits. - Kirpal Singh

    On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wish you a safe and happy Holiday season.

    On another note, please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes (LINKED BELOW)

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G 

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2018 NOVEMBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 12-14-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 12/13/2018 11:45:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - District Legislative Agenda asking state lawmakers to prioritize public education

    Last week, our Team of Eight (Board Trustees and Superintendent), along with our Great Conversations Team finalized the SCUC Legislative Agenda (LINKED BELOW). We intend to take this seven-point platform with us when the Texas 86th Legislative Session convenes in Austin this January.  

    In short, our requests are as follows:

    1 – Increased Funding for Public Education

    2 – Public Dollars Stay in Public Schools

    3 – School Safety

    4 – TRS-Care Health Insurance

    5 – Existing Debt Allotment/Fast Growth Schools

    6 – Unfunded Mandates

    7 – Responsible use of High-Stakes Testing 

    Everything will revolve around funding. If the state does not commit to increasing appropriations for public education above its current share of 38%, public school districts across Texas will have to navigate very rough waters. 

    In addition, there are discussions being held in the halls of power in Austin about a possible tax compression, or tax camp, limiting the amount of property taxes that municipalities (and school districts) can collect annually. We support the reduction of local property taxes, but know that this can only happen if the state increases its share of the effort. If the state does not make a change, its share of funding for public education will reach an all-time low of approximately 35%. If this trend doesn’t change, then the burden will continue to be thrust upon you – the local property tax payer.

    In today’s era, our requests seem broad and bold. But they are not. We are simply asking our state lawmakers to do what is right for public education in Texas overall, and SCUC ISD in particular. It is ironic that the state leaders are boasting about the vibrant, booming economy in Texas, yet telling us there may not be enough funds to fully fund public education. How much are we willing to invest in the future? Will we fix the structural imbalances in our system to address public education?  It’s possible, but your voices are needed. It is imperative that all of us remain engaged in the political process. There is a lot riding on these next six months. Join us in this journey.

    On another note, please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    2018 NOVEMBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 12-07-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 12/7/2018 11:15:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Excellent financial stewardship by SCUC ISD hampered by lack of state funding

    We have just completed the first round of our Board Budget Workshops. I want to thank our district leaders for the presentations put forth before our Trustees during these past three months. I also want to thank our Trustees for their attentiveness and seriousness during these sessions. They asked thoughtful questions and will help guide the discussion on what our options will be.

    We did an excellent job outlining the district’s overall financial health (good), the state’s portion of funding for public education (insufficient), and the consequences for all public school districts if the state’s share of financial support remains the same, or declines (bleak).

    Our focus on improving efficiencies was productive; however, the expenses we can reduce are at the margins of our budget. Our budget analysis revealed that SCUC is running a very lean operation and providing the services it does at a high rate of proficiency.

    We remain hopeful state lawmakers will enforce Article 7 of the Texas Constitution that entrusts the Legislature to, “…establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools", when they convene their biennial session in January. Short of that, our Trustees will again have to consider the possibility of asking for an election that would raise the tax rate or reduce services. All options will have be considered.

    We will remain open and transparent through this process. Community input at our board meetings (and in the State Capitol in Austin) will be invaluable too.

    On another note, please enjoy our Everyday Success this week. (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2018 NOVEMBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 11-30-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 11/30/2018 8:00:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - High-level rounding buidling leadership capacity

    The fall semester portion of high-level rounding is almost complete, and we continue to challenge ourselves and each other to find ways to improve our service to our students and stakeholders. We have been joined by our Board Trustees and Cabinet members as we try to work with campuses and departments with our new Strategic Plan.

    Principals and department leaders have been honest and transparent about their successes, and our opportunities for improvement. This process continues to allow them to highlight employees who have been critical to their success.

    We are now in our third school year of purposeful rounding. The Plan-Do-Study-Act model is building capacity for our frontline staff and our entire district. We continue to build a database of shared knowledge and best practices, which serves as the foundation of this journey. Most importantly, we learn from our frontline staff.

    Starting in January, there will be a spring portion of high-level rounding. We look forward to a persistent cycle of leadership development, with a foundation built upon those who are who are willing to take risks, make changes, and implement positive action that benefit our entire school district.

    On another note, please enjoy our Everyday Success this week. (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    2018 NOVEMBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Memo 11-16-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 11/16/2018 1:00:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Tough Questions and Transparent Answers

    Recently, we have started a new process to solicit the Tough Questions that may be floating around the district. The questions come from our campus and department administrative team, based on what they are being asked by their staff. For our first round, we received three very timely questions

    1 – What is the status of the Tax Ratification Election (TRE)?

    2 – Will employees receive a one-time payment in lieu of a raise this year?

    3 – Are special education staffing needs being met?

    These are excellent questions that I will attempt to coherently address in a short amount of space.

    Question 1 - What is the status of the Tax Ratification Election (TRE)?

    We decided to inspect our budget for the 2019-2020 school year and its’ potential before we consider asking for an election that would raise the tax rate. With the state’s share of public education funding at an all-time low of 38%, it is critical that we know where every dollar is spent. With that in mind, we continue to hold Board Workshops with the goal of developing a framework for the 2019-2020 budget by March of 2019. Every “tool in the toolbox” will be used before a TRE is contemplated.

    Question 2 - Will employees receive a one-time payment in lieu of a raise this year?

    A memo was sent in August of 2018, addressing the consideration of a possible one-time payment for all staff. At that time, we stated that we needed to know more about revenue before committing to additional pay compensation. The good news is that we recently surpassed our conservative student enrollment projection of 15,720.  Whereas, we have achieved revenue beyond our base budget, it is projected to be spent on additional needs related to growth in students with special needs. (See #3). Because of this, I believe the likelihood of a one-time payment is very slim. We will begin our 2019-2020 budget discussion with the supposition that Board Trustees will consider raises for next year. TASB will collaborate with our school district to review all our pay grades to ensure we remain competitive and continue to hire the high-quality teachers to which the SCUC community has become accustomed. Again, the possibility of a one-time payment in 2018-2019 is very slim.

    Question 3 – Are special education staffing needs being met?

    SCUC is currently conducting a careful analysis of the findings from a recent special education staffing study. Training and job description modifications are underway at this time, with additional staff being considered after successful implementation of our new model. Our Board and senior leaders know that we have to consider some temporary fixes in the current year (which will require a budget amendment) with more permanent fixes in 2019-20. I will keep you posted on the progress.

    While we continue to explore ways to improve efficiency, we are constrained by the uncertainties that center on public education funding in Texas. The forecast for increased funding is cloudy, at best. Nevertheless, we will provide a more thorough feedback loop once we better understand the impact of the next Legislative Session, which begins in January, 2019.

    In the months ahead, we will use this forum to address other tough questions from our staff and leaders so that we can illuminate these issues to the best of our ability.

    On another note, please enjoy our Everyday Success this week. (LINKED BELOW).

    In addition, take time to review our Board Briefs from our regular meeting on November 13th (LINKED BELOW)

    On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving week, filled with family, pleasant memories and great food!

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    2018 NOVEMBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 11-09-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 11/9/2018 3:15:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Take a Moment to thank our Veterans

    This weekend, let us take the time to honor and celebrate the men and women who serve our nation in the armed services. Veterans Day allows us the opportunity to thank our military members, past and present, for their service.

    Compulsory military service ended nearly 50 years ago, so those who have served since then voluntarily make the sacrifices to enlist. Many are stationed far from home, and quite of few of them are deployed in areas of the world that are politically unstable and volatile. Oftentimes, the deployments are numerous. We are cloaked under the blanket of freedom they provide, which we sometimes can overlook in our day-to-day living.

    Parents, spouses, and children also make sacrifices, enduring their loved ones’ absences for periods of time that can feel like an eternity. We salute them as well.

    I am proud to work in a district that has a large military presence, be it active duty or retired. That manifests itself in a community that exemplifies our Core Values of Leadership, Character, Commitment, Service and Learning and our Traits of a Graduate that include Dynamic Leader, Self-Motivated, Skilled Communicator, Service Oriented and Future Ready.

    Byron P. Steele High School held its Veterans Day ceremony earlier this week; most will hold some type of observance today, and Samuel Clemens High School will showcase its celebration on Tuesday morning. If you see a current or former member of our armed forces, extend a hand of friendship and say, “Thank You.”

    On another note, please enjoy our Everyday Successes this week. (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    2018 OCTOBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 11-02-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 11/2/2018 2:15:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Exercise Your Right to Vote for Public Education

    Next Tuesday is Election Day. We hope you had an opportunity to partake in the process during the early voting period. But if you haven’t voted yet, I urge you to go to the polls on November 6th. Take your eligible family members, friends and colleagues to the polling sites.

    As stated here many times, we are not taking a position for or against any political party. We are on the side of public education, and we ask that you consider which candidate best represents these values. School finance, vouchers, school safety, TRS-Care , high-stakes testing and Existing Debt Allotment/Fast Growth are just a few of the issues SCUC ISD will be asking state lawmakers to consider when the Texas Legislature convenes in January.

    Earlier this week, the Great Conversations Team hosted the Meet the Candidates Forum, with five announced candidates (or surrogates) on hand to discuss their positions on some of the aforementioned issues. It was an outstanding exercise in democracy, as our guests explained where they stood on topics that matter most to us. I want to thank these candidates from both sides of the political spectrum for taking the time to talk to our stakeholders:

    • Mike Collier, Texas Lt. Governor candidate
    • Jon Oliver, Chief of Staff for Texas State Senator Donna Campbell
    • Steven Kling, Texas Senate candidate
    • John D. Rodgers, Texas House candidate
    • John Lujan, Texas House candidate

    On another note, please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G 

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    2018 OCTOBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 10-26-18

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 10/26/2018 12:45:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Meet the Candidates Forum presents opportunity for civic engagement

    Next Monday, SCUC ISD and the Great Conversations Team will play host to an important Meet the Candidate Forum in the Board Room of the William Malish Building, just a week prior to the midterm elections. As of this writing, four candidates for seats in the Texas Legislature have committed to this event.

    This will be a wonderful opportunity for our staff (and community residents) to listen to what positions the candidates will stake on funding for public education, vouchers, and school safety, among other topics. We appreciate the opportunity they are giving us on the eve of the elections to ask them where they stand on public education. This is the most important issue state lawmakers will face as the 86th Legislative Session opens in January; decisions made in Austin (good or bad) will impact the future of public education beyond the biennium.

    This is not a political rally. We ask all attendees to listen respectfully to candidates from both parties, draw their conclusions, and then vote for the most pro-public education candidate, if you haven’t voted already. Early voting ends Friday, November 2nd and Election Day takes place on Tuesday, November 6th.

    On another note, please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes (LINKED BELOW)

    Also, please peruse the Board Briefs from the October 16th regular meeting. (LINKED BELOW)

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    2018 OCTOBER BOARD BRIEFS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

     

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