The Port Arthur News
Port Neches-Groves ISD saw a year of success in 2013 from high achieving schools and superior achievement in finances to expansions in parking lots and a new portable building at an elementary school.
The district saw success with the announcement that all campuses “met standard” on the 2012-2013 Texas Academic Performance Report. In addition, Groves Elementary saw academic achievement in Top 25 percent student progress and Woodcrest Elementary saw academic achievement in reading/Language arts.
PN-GISD once again earned a superior achievement score on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas.
“The district has earned a superior rating since the system was put in place for the 2002-2003 fiscal year,” Superintendent Rodney Cavness said.
The purpose of the system is to ensure that school districts are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and achieve improved performance in the management of their financial resources.
“This year PN-GISD also received the Texas Comptroller Gold Leadership Circle Award for financial transparency that is evident on our district’s website with budgets, detailed expense reports, check registers and annual financial reports for public inspection,” he added.”
In September, a rally of the municipal bond market allowed the district to refund bonds that netted a cash flow savings to the district of $681,914 and a present value savings of $519,464. The early refunding of debt will help ease the taxpayer’s financial burden in the future, according to the district.
The district also saw facilities improvements in 2013.
“With the assistance of County Commissioner Brent Weaver and precinct 2 staff, the PN-GISD maintenance department expanded the parking areas at Port Neches Elementary and Port Neches Middle,” he said. “The expansions have improved traffic flow and safety during peak traffic times before and after school. In addition, parents and patrons will also benefit from the additional parking that will be available when they are attending school functions and programs.”
Students and staff at Ridgewood Elementary School are now enjoying additional space provided by the installation of a portable building.
The major factors in the decision to add a portable at the school are the projected growth and to provide space for reading intervention and other small group instruction. The portable also keeps all grade level classrooms in the main building, he said.
Earlier this year the school board unanimously approved the recommended Employee Compensation Plan which consists of a 1 percent raise in administrator salaries, a 4 percent raise for all employees with a salary of less than $25,000 per year and a 3 percent raise for everyone else, as well as a holiday stipend of $200 for all employees, full and part time.
In legal news, the district reached an agreement in a lawsuit filed last year against FieldTurf, the company that installed the turf at Indian Stadium in 2008. Installing the turf cost the district approximately $1.2 million. Two years alter, in the fall of 2010, the field began to exhibit signs of premature deterioration such as the breaking apart of the nylon fibers in the artificial grass.
The company claimed the damage was due to the extreme ultraviolet rays that are common in the southern portion of the United States.
The terms and conditions of the agreement were not made public.
The PN-GISD school board recognized two of its employees for a special program to help needy students.
Kim Bell, counselor, and fifth grade teacher Beverly Cavender, were recognized by Port Neches-Groves ISD Board of Trustees with the Spotlight on Excellence Award in December for their work with the district’s Backpack Buddy Program.
The Backpack Buddy program, which was initiated two years ago, assists students in need by issuing them a backpack with food to feed him or her over the weekend.