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TEA's brief on North Forest

TEA's brief on North Forest

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Published by: enm077486 on Mar 20, 2012
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08/27/2012

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TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYIN RE: § BEFORE LIZZETTE REYNOLDS§2011-2012 ACCREDITATION STATUS OF § DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR§NORTH FOREST ISD § POLICY AND PROGRAMS______________________________________________________________________________I.
 
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………….. 1II.
 
The North Forest students would benefit from annexation into a better functioningSchool District …………………………………………………………………….. 2A.
 
North Forest has earned a Not Accredited-Revoked status under multipleProvisions of the Accreditation System ……………………………………….. 21.
 
Deficient Financial Performance ………………………………………….. 22.
 
Deficient Academic and Financial Performance ………………………….. 3a.
 
Four Consecutive Years of either poor academic or financial performance .3b.
 
Three Consecutive years of both poor academic and financial performance .33.
 
Deficient Special Programs ……………………………………………….. 4B.
 
HISD Does a Better Job of Educating Students ………………………………. 41.
 
District to District Comparison ……………………………………………. 42.
 
Comparison of Schools in HISD District 2 to NFISD …………………….. 53.
 
Comparison of Students Residing in HISD District 2 to NFISD …………... 54.
 
Comparisons of North Forest High School to Houston ISD’s Kashmereand Wheatley High Schools ………………………………………………. 7C.
 
Annexation into HISD Would Provide Additional Choices to the StudentsResiding in North Forest ……………………………………………………….. 8III.
 
The North Forest Plan is Inadequate ……………………………………………….. 8A.
 
History of Prior Problems ……………………………………………………… 9B.
 
Recurrent Personnel Problems …………………………………………………. 10C.
 
Inadequacy of the District’s Plan ………………………………………………. 11D.
 
Other Unresolved Issues ………………………………………………………... 11IV.
 
The Agency’s Interventions Did Not Cause the Problems in North Forest ………… 12A.
 
The District’s Performance Improved in all areas during the TEA Intervention ... 121.
 
Financial Performance ………………………………………………………. 12a.
 
General Fund Balance Improved ………………………………………… 12b.
 
Internal Control Structure Improved …………………………………….. 132.
 
The District’s Completion Rate Improved …………………………………… 133.
 
The District’s Programs for Special Populations Improved …………………..14B.
 
North Forest’s Problems Were Not Caused by the TEA Management Team ……. 14C.
 
The Agency’s Management Team and TEA Personnel Discovered the TrueExtent of the District’s Systemic Problems ……………………………………… 151.
 
Financial Mismanagement Issues ……………………………………………. 15
 
2
 
a.
 
The District’s financial management problems existed, but were notfully identified, when the financial conservator was appointed ………… 15i.
 
Failures in the finance department ………………………………. 16ii.
 
Procurement and contracting problems …………………………. 16iii.
 
Deficit in the general fund ……………………………………….. 16b.
 
Problems identified by the first TEA Special Accreditation Investigation ..182.
 
The District had Severe Academic and Special Program Problems when theAcademic Conservator was Appointed ……………………………………… 18D.
 
The District’s Problems were not caused by the Board of Managers …………… 191.
 
The Extent of the District’s problems precluded a complete fix by theBoard of Managers …………………………………………………………… 192.
 
The Board selection process did not cause the District’s problems …………. 193.
 
The Board received training …………………………………………………. 204.
 
The Board of Managers did not violate the Open Meetings Act …………….. 20E.
 
The District’s Problems were not caused by the TEA Appointed Superintendant .. 23V.
 
Miscellaneous Legal IssuesA.
 
Appointment of the Board of Managers does not preclude closure of the District ..24B.
 
The Commissioner May Revoke a District’s Accreditation Status based onCompletion Rates ……………………………………………………………….. 24C.
 
The Board of Managers Must Contain a Majority of Community Members ……. 24
 
1
 
TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY’S CLOSING BRIEFI.
 
Introduction
The North Forest Independent School District (“North Forest” or “NFISD” or “thedistrict”) has a long history of poor performance. Under the accreditation system, the district hasearned a status of “Not Accredited-Revoked” under multiple provisions of Texas EducationCode §39.052 and §39.102(a) and 19 TAC §97.1055(d). The Agency assigns statuses to districtsaccording to their academic and financial performance, their compliance performance, including,but not limited to, compliance with requirements related to data reporting and graduationrequirements, and the effectiveness of their programs serving special populations. North Foresthas continually demonstrated extremely poor performance in all of these areas.North Forest argues in its written brief and during the record review that its financial,academic, data, and special program problems are the result of TEA intervention and that thedistrict’s current configuration will eventually produce acceptable results. However, the recordshows that the district’s problems existed long before the Agency intervened and that, while theTEA intervention improved the district’s performance, it also in some cases brought to light thetrue extent of the district’s problems. Ultimately, the number, scope, and extent of the problemsfacing the district precluded the possibility of achieving acceptable performance.The record also demonstrates that the current administration faces the same uniquechallenges that prior administrations have faced. North Forest’s poor performance history spansmultiple boards and multiple superintendents, suggesting that the underlying cause of theseproblems is systemic and not specific to any one board or any one superintendent. Thesesystemic problems continue to exist and suggest that the district’s plans and projections tobecome a school district that will serve its student’s needs are unrealistic, and that the newadministrations still faces the intractable problems that have frustrated prior administrations.A good example of how the systemic problems facing North Forest continue to cripplethe District’s financial operations is its inability to find a competent Chief Financial Officer(CFO). The previous CFO left the district at the end of March 2011. (Ct. Tr. v. 2 pp. 616-17,NFISD Ex. 125, p. 3339). The position has remained vacant for almost an entire year due to alack of quality applicants. (Ct. Tr. v. 2 p. 631). Facing a record review and having no Chief Financial Officer in place, the District has scrambled to obtain a proposal for accounting services

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