January 27, 2011

Schools Recognized for Academic Performance

The National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA), a department of ACT, Inc., has recognized 21 BISD campuses on its list of 2010 Higher Performing Schools in Texas.

Congratulations to Aiken, Benavides, Egly, Gonzalez, Morningside, Ortiz, Paredes, Putegnat, Russell, Southmost, Vermillion and Yturria Elementary Schools, Besteiro, Cummings, Lucio, Oliveira, Perkins, Stell, Stillman and Vela Middle Schools and Hanna High School.

The 2010 Higher Performing Schools (formerly known as Just for the Kids Schools) are identified by two measures: academic growth of students at the school and/or absolute student achievement using the school’s Commended Performance results on the Spring 2010 TAKS test. NCEA’s higher performing methodology controls for school and student demographics to allow for an apples-to-apples comparison of school achievement and to demonstrate that with the commitment of educators, all schools can succeed no matter the zip code.

NCEA began identifying Higher Performing Schools in 1998 and continues to annually release these lists as well as College and Career Readiness Charts for every public school in Texas.

BISD Faces Budget Challenges

Superintendent Brett Springston and the Board of Trustees are closely monitoring legislative events in Austin as the Texas Legislature grapples with a $18-$27 billion budget deficit as announced by the Texas Comptroller at the start of the session. Since funding for public education makes up about 44% of the state budget, much of the responsibility for balancing the budget has been placed squarely on local school districts.

Brownsville ISD’s current budget of a little over $505 million includes almost $326 million in state revenues. All school districts are slated to lose funding. Just how much BISD will lose will not be known until the Texas Legislature formalizes and approves the budget which is likely several months from now. Preliminary figures range from $15 to $50 million for Brownsville’s share of the school funding reductions. BISD officials anticipate
the district will need to identify $30-$35 million in possible funding reductions based on various state budget models. The Texas Comptroller is scheduled to issue a revised Biennial Revenue Estimate in March which could include additional revenue.

Consultants with the Texas School Alliance produced three state models for Brownsville ISD that peg possible funding reductions at $15.9 million, $31.3 million and $50.6 million. Brownsville officials will draft a proposed budget for each of the three models to present to the Board of Trustees Budget Committee for discussion purposes on Thursday, February 17, 2011. The district is considering several options to reduce next year’s budget. The following measures are currently under review:

• Reduce transportation services not reimbursed by the State
• Eliminate academic teaming
• Fund mandatory summer school only, consolidate summer school sites,
4-day summer school
• Employee health insurance contribution
• Reduce campus and department budgets
• Increase student/teacher ratios districtwide to 25:1
• Reduce overtime
• Reduce extra-duty pay
• Consolidate departments
• Consolidate the number of copy machines
• Revise staffing ratios for custodians, food service staff, office staff, librarians,
counselors, etc.
• No second conference periods
• Reduce stipends
• No re-appropriation for carry over purchase orders
• Incentives for early retirement
• Consolidate smaller schools

“Less state funding presents a challenge for our school district. However, we have a proven track record of succeeding regardless of the obstacles placed in our path. We will find creative ways to do more with less and work to reduce spending while minimizing the impact on student instruction,” said Superintendent Brett Springston.

January 25, 2011

Middle School Bands Raise the Bar

BISD middle school band students set another all-time record for the fifth consecutive year by earning a total of 164 All-Region Band chairs at the Middle School Band Auditions held at Rivera High School on Saturday, January 22, 2011. In addition, BISD students earned 13 of the 16 available first chair positions. Over 35 middle schools from across the Rio Grande Valley participated in the auditions. Click here to view the number of chairs earned by each BISD middle school.

A Note to BISD Employees

Each January, the IRS releases updated tax tables. As a result, you may notice an increase in the amount of taxes that are withheld which will reduce your net pay. How much is withheld for tax purposes depends on the withholding status listed on your W-4 form. January is also the month that deductions for employee voluntary insurance products begin if you are enrolled.

January 24, 2011

What’s Happening at the BISD Museum

The BISD Museum, located at the Central Administrative Building (CAB), is currently featuring a colorful display on Charro Days. Drop by and see how BISD students and employees have celebrated Charro Days over the years. The BISD Museum is also currently soliciting donations of old BISD campus yearbooks as well as compiling a complete list of all past campus principals. If you would like to make a yearbook donation or if you have information on early BISD campus administrators, contact Hilda Williams at 698-1752 or email hswilliams@bisd.us.

Notice of Public Hearing

Brownsville ISD will hold a public hearing for the 2009-2010 Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) Report during the regular Board Meeting scheduled for February 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, located at 1900 Price Road.

Texas Education Code, Chapter 39, requires school districts to publish an annual AEIS Report that includes district and campus performance, a report of violence or criminal incidence, and post-secondary performance. The presentation will include an overall district profile, including demographics, performance objectives, and finances.

Parents, community members and other interested persons are invited to attend.

January 20, 2011

KBSD Has a New Location

Effective today, KBSD TV, BISD’s instructional television channel has been moved from cable channel 17 to cable channel 17.17. Most newer television sets that are connected directly to cable will either need to be re-scanned, or will need to have channel 17.17 entered into the channel list. Depending on the television set, some sets will still detect the channel at its former location – channel 17 (this will be the case with television sets that are connected to a Time Warner Cable digital “set top” box). KBSD will continue to offer the same great programming 24/7 at its new location on cable channel 17.17. This also applies to the City of Brownsville’s channel 12 which can now be found at 17.12.

IRS W-2 Update

IRS Form W-2s will be distributed to all BISD employees no later than Monday, January 31, 2011. For individuals who are no longer employed by BISD, W-2s will be mailed no later than January 31, 2011.

January 19, 2011

Change in Spring Calendar

Due to a conflict with TAKS testing for grades 3-10, the BISD Board of Trustees has approved changing the district non-working day from Monday, April 25, 2011 to Friday, May 27, 2011. This means that students and employees will have one non-working day for Easter on Friday, April 25, 2011 and two non-working days for Memorial Day on Friday, May 27 and Monday, May 30, 2011. This change in non-working days occurs during the same six weeks period and provides the same number of instructional days. Click here to view the revised calendar.

January 17, 2011

Young Scientists at Work

Several hundred student scientists will participate in the annual BISD High School Science Fair to be held on Saturday, January 29, 2011 at Hanna High School. This year’s theme is “Inspired to Change Our World.” The public is invited to view projects from 1:00-2:00 pm. The award presentation will begin at 2:00 pm.

January 14, 2011

Introducing Our New Employee Care Manager

Erika Lucio is BISD’s new employee Care Manager. Erika is available to provide personal support to employees and their dependents in managing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc. She can also answer many healthcare questions. Erika is a Brownsville native with medical/surgical and home health experience. She has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from UT-Austin. Give her a call at (956) 698-2991. Her office is located at the CAB, Suite 103. Information shared with the Care Manager is strictly confidential. Erika Lucio’s services are part of the district’s overall wellness initiative.

Vendor Fair on Monday, January 17, 2011

The BISD Purchasing Department will host the 2nd Annual Vendor Fair on Monday, January 17, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the ITEC Center located at 301 Mexico Boulevard. Approximately 60 awarded BISD vendors will showcase their products and services. New and future vendors are invited to attend training on becoming a BISD vendor from 3:00-3:30 pm and 3:30-4:30 pm in the ITEC Center, Room E-112. For more information, call (956) 548-8361.

January 11, 2011

College Financial Aid Assistance

Local high school counselors and GEAR-Up staff, assisted by UTB/TSC representatives, will host several Financial Aid Nights to assist area students and their parents with completion and transmittal of the FAFSA. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the first and most important step of the college financial aid process. Other assistance in completing admission requirements will also be available. The very first financial aid night will be held at Lopez High School on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 from 5:30-8:00 PM. Rivera High School will follow on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 from 5:30-8:00 PM. For more information on the Financial Aid Nights, contact a BISD high school counselor or Daniel Yarritu, UTB/TSC Office of Student Financial Assistance, at (956)882-7890 or email daniel.yarritu1@utb.edu. Click here to view the complete schedule of Financial Aid Nights.

January 10, 2011

Fit and Healthy

The January issue of the Wellness is Hot Stuff! newsletter is available on the BISD homepage. Check out the information on New Year’s resolutions, BISD’s Tri Challenge and Mini-Triathlon as well as some great, healthy recipes for starting the new year. Click here to view the newsletter.

A Reason to Celebrate

A total of 42 BISD fine arts music students in band, choir, jazz ensemble and orchestra earned chairs in the 2011 Region 28 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Area G auditions held on Saturday, January 8, 2011. Choir students competed in Rockport, Texas and band students competed in Alice, Texas. BISD’s number of earned chairs increased 16 chairs from last year’s total of 26. Music students from every BISD high school dominated the region and placed BISD in the top 2% of Texas. These outstanding students will perform in the All-State Band or Choir Concerts to be held at the TMEA Conference in San Antonio on February 12, 2011.

History Day on Saturday

BISD’s 16th Annual History Day will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2011 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Hanna High School. The public is invited to view exhibits from 2:00-3:15 PM. The awards ceremony will be held from 3:30-4:30 PM. This year’s theme is “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures and Consequences.”

January 6, 2011


Brownsville ISD has just added RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to its website. RSS is a technology used by millions of web users around the world. It will allow you to keep track of the latest headlines from BISD’s homepage easily and efficiently without having to visit the district’s website on a regular basis. To learn more or to subscribe to BISD’s RSS Feed, click here now.

January 5, 2011

HBO Features BISD Chess

BISD’s award-winning chess program is once again being featured on Home Box Office (HBO). The district’s chess story airs on a program of the Best Stories of 2010 on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. The BISD program originally aired last summer in June. Check local listings for air times.

We Appreciate Our School Board

Brownsville ISD will join districts across Texas in celebrating January 2011 as School Board Recognition Month. Our board of trustees plays a crucial role in our local community and schools. Setting aside time in January is one small way to acknowledge their service and say thanks for caring so much about the future of every child enrolled in our schools. Take this opportunity to show our BISD school board members that you appreciate their dedication and hard work. Click here to see the poster.

Training for New Teachers

BISD inservices for new teachers will be held on Saturday, January 8 and Saturday, January 15, 2011 at the Central Administrative Building (CAB) located at 708 Palm Boulevard. All teachers hired after the August new teacher inservices are required to attend. Registration with a light breakfast will be held in the CAB Cafeteria from 7:30-8:30 AM. Sessions will begin at 8:30 AM and continue until 4:00 PM. Lunch will also be provided. Day 1 speakers are Kevin Lungwitz, Education Law Specialist, and Nathan K. Bryce, Founder of Insight for Learning. Day 2 speakers are Chelonnda Seroyer, a classroom management expert, and Letty Barrientes, a BISD Human Resources Specialist. For more information, contact the Professional Development Department at 548-8250.

Teacher Preparation Day, Monday, January 17, 2011

BISD will not hold classes on Monday, January 17, 2011 so that teachers and campus personnel can prepare for the upcoming second semester. Regular district operation will resume on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.

January 3, 2011

Thanks for Supporting the Toy Drive

The annual Superintendent’s Holiday Toy Drive was a huge success. Over 1,800 toys were generously donated by BISD students, parents, employees and local businesses. Toys were distributed to the BISD Homeless Youth Project, Friendship of Women, Tip of Texas Family Outreach and Monica’s House, all agencies that serve local families in need. Thanks to Skinner Elementary, Morningside Elementary, Burns Elementary, Vermillion Elementary, Russell Elementary, Martin Elementary, Ortiz Elementary, Hudson Elementary, Canales Elementary, Gonzalez Elementary, Benavides Elementary, Yturria Elementary, Faulk Middle School, Vela Middle School, Stillman Middle School, Lucio Middle School, Manzano Middle School, Brownsville Learning Academy, Hanna High School, Lopez High School, Central Administrative Building, Media Center, Curriculum & Instruction Department, Gomez, Mendez, Saenz, Inc., and Raba-Kistner Engineering and Consultants.

BISD Employee Newsletter

The BISD Human Resources Department has compiled a newsletter full of important information for BISD employees. Read this year-end publication by clicking here.

Aquatic Center Will Be Open

The Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center will be open during the holiday season. Click here to view the schedule.

Purchasing Department to Host Vendor Fair

The 2nd Annual BISD Vendor Fair will be held on Monday, January 17, 2011 from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM at the UTB/TSC ITEC Center located at 301 Mexico Boulevard. Approximately 60 awarded BISD vendors have applied to showcase their products and services to the BISD employees who make purchasing decisions. For questions, contact Connie Alvear/Senior Buyer, Delia Gonzalez/Senior Buyer, Corpus Zorola/Senior Buyer, or Cesar Lopez/Bid Control Accountant, at 548-8361.

Grant for Porter

Porter High School has been awarded an “Online College and Career Preparation Technical Assistance Program” grant for $110,000 from the Texas Education Agency. This program will allow Porter students to create and maintain online portfolios for college applications, financial aid applications, scholarship applications, resumes, teacher recommendations, essays, etc. Congratulations to Principal Dora Sauceda and her team for securing these funds to help Porter’s students with college and career readiness.

The Tradition Continues

For 95 years, Brownsville ISD has provided a quality education for our community’s children. The addition of more public school students and schools has not changed the district’s mission. Each BISD campus from the original Putegnat Elementary School to the new Daniel Breeden Elementary School, currently under construction, has a fascinating history. Click here and select a BISD school to learn more.

Two UTB/TSC Doctoral Candidates from BISD

Norma Ibarra-Cantu, an assistant principal at Del Castillo Elementary School, will be the keynote speaker at the UTB/TSC 16th Winter Commencement to be held on Saturday, December 18 at 9:00 AM on the Cardenas South Hall Lawn.

Ms. Cantu and Aidee Vasquez, the dean of instruction at El Jardin Elementary School, are candidates for doctorates of education degrees in curriculum and instruction. They are part of the first cohort of doctoral students to enter the degree program at UTB/TSC. They started classes in the Fall of 2007.

Band Students Set Record

BISD band students have once again set a new district record. The students earned an astounding 52 chairs in the 2010 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) 9th Grade All-Region Band competition held on Saturday, December 4, 2010 in Harlingen. BISD students earned 10 of the 16 first chairs available and over one half of all available chairs.


BISD was a finalist in the SchoolE Awards contest last year for Best District Website. Voting has already begun for this year’s winner. Click here to nominate BISD’s exemplary website.

NCLB Parent Notification
-English -Spanish -Report
District AYP Status
-English -Spanish
2010-11 BISD School Planning Calendar

Health Care Reform
-English -Spanish

December Employee
Wellness Newsletter

BISD Energy Management Plan

BISD Annual Financial Report
For the Year Ended June 30,2009

2010-2011 Budget Summary

2009-2010 Budget Summary

Official BISD Budget
Fiscal Year 2009-2010

BISD ADA Transition Plan
December 16, 2008